The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

Celebrating Twenty Years Online 2001 - 2021

About Graeme Smith

Graeme SmithGraeme Smith is a chartered accountant, mainly involved in the building of new towns and the renewal of cities to enjoy the art of living. For a period in the 1990s he was the secretary and financial director of the Theatre Royal, Hope Street, Glasgow and of Scottish Opera.

Graeme Smith on the heritage of Glasgow's Theatre Royal from STV Scotland
Graeme Smith on the heritage of Glasgow's Theatre Royal from STV Scotland

He assisted Ships for a Nation, the story of John Brown's of Clydebank. Graeme is also the author of two books on Glasgow's Theatre Royal and Alhambra (See details below).

Left - Graeme Smith on the heritage of Glasgow's Theatre Royal from STV Scotland

Graeme is an enthusiastic contributor to this site and has written a great many detailed articles on Theatres in Glasgow and other Scottish Towns and Cities, and very kindly sent them in for inclusion on the site, all illustrated with a plethora of wonderful archive images. Graeme can be seen talking about the Theatre Royal, Hope Street in a video from STV shown left.

Books by Graeme Smith


Entertaining a Nation

Graeme Smith's book, 'THE THEATRE ROYAL: Entertaining a Nation', produced in full colour, with 280 pages and around 400 illustrations of the people, performances and city it grew up with, is available here. The introduction and list of contents are shown below. The book's text is copyright the author.

Graeme Smith's new book 'THE THEATRE ROYAL: Entertaining a Nation'From Cowcaddens to the Colosseum, from Hope Street to Hollywood... for entertainment, drama, pantomime, music and song this is the fascinating story... lavishly illustrated... of the Theatre Royal. Emerging from Music Halls to an Opera House and the national home of Scottish Opera and The Scottish Ballet the Theatre Royal is the oldest Theatre in Glasgow, opening in 1867. It is also the largest example in Britain of the Theatre designs of Charles Phipps.

Right - Graeme Smith's new book 'THE THEATRE ROYAL: Entertaining a Nation' Click for more details and to buy the book online.

Pantomime, plays, spectaculars, silent films, circuses, ballet, opera and television grew up with the Royal. Original documents trace its life and personalities, from its parentage in the 18th century, the influence of the Glover family here and overseas, its links with fine arts and the International Exhibitions, all expressing the confidence of Glasgow and the context of its times. It is also the birthplace of Howard & Wyndham Ltd, one of Britain's major Theatre companies, thanks to the Simons fruit businesses in Candleriggs; and the birthplace of commercial television in Scotland, thanks to Canadian Roy Thomson. For an encore there is a history of the previous Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street... Let the curtain rise!

List of Contents:

1867 onwards
James Baylis - Music Hall millionaire
Opening the Doors
Theatre Royal and the Glover family
Royal Performing
Theatre all Around
The Visit from Vulcan
Money, Managers and Musical Chairs

1888 onwards
Michael Simons creates Howard & Wyndham Ltd
The Great War, Pictures, Plays, Operas, and Pantomime
Stewart Cruikshank continues the Royal tradition
War and Peace
Fun in the Fifties …..and Farewell?

1957 onwards
Roy Thomson creates Scottish Television
Entertainment direct to your home
Continuing success from Cowcaddens

1975 onwards
Restoring the Theatre Royal, by public demand
Scottish Opera at home
The Scottish Ballet
The Scottish Theatre Company and Other Galaxies
Into the 21st Century

Theatres-Royal in Glasgow before 1867
List of Theatre Royal's owners and lessees from 1867
Howard & Wyndham Epilogue

The Alhambra Glasgow by Graeme Smith

The complete history of the Glasgow Alhambra is told for the first time, in full colour, with 400 illustrations, in this new quality-bound softback book by Graeme Smith and is highly recommended.Famous for glamour and humour, variety, pantomime, musicals, ballet, opera, drama and dance the immense Alhambra Theatre stayed ahead of other Theatres. Opening in 1910, at the corner of Waterloo Street and Wellington Street, and designed by eminent architect Sir John James Burnet, its managing director Sir Alfred Butt gave “the best of European and American Vaudeville attractions” in the “Resort of the Elite.” Its founders supported cinema, jazz, cabaret and ballrooms.

The complete history of the Glasgow Alhambra is told for the first time, in full colour, with 400 illustrations, in this new quality-bound softback book by Graeme Smith and is highly recommended.

The book is priced just £20 and can be found in all good bookstores and online at the book's own website

ISBN 978-0955942013


Friendly Shelves

THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW LIBRARY – Friendly ShelvesAs chairman of The Friends of Glasgow University Library, Graeme has initiated and directed the publication in 2016 of an extensively illustrated 288 page book titled THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW LIBRARY – Friendly Shelves, which through a series of guest authors describes the birth and growth of the library since the 15th century to the present time and showcases its unique and distinctive collections, many of international status, including the Scottish Theatre Archive.

Founded under King James II in 1451, Glasgow University and its fledgling library has developed across the centuries from the Renaissance and the Reformation, through the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, to become one of the major universities of the world.

The Digital Revolution, equal to the fifteenth-century invention of the printing press which democratised learning, is enabling the Library to unlock its many treasures and make them more widely available here and overseas. All proceeds from the book are being donated to the library to support its programme of public engagement.

Further details of the book and how to buy it postage-free from Glasgow University Gift Shop are in the Friends of GU Library website here.

Other Pages that may be of Interest