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The Globe Theatre, Corner of Stevenson Street and Tobago Street, Calton, Glasgow

Later - The Calton Tabernacle / Paragon picture house

Glasgow Index

 

The Globe Theatre operated in the East End, in Calton on the corner of Stevenson Street and Tobago Street. Modest in style it was designed as part of a development of tenements, theatre and hall by the eminent architect John Baird, who was also the architect of the Glasgow Herald building in Buchanan Street and had helped design Hamilton Palace.

Harcourt Cecil Beryl - From The Bailie, Jan 5th, 1881 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.It was opened at the end of 1875 by the lessee and actor Goddard Whyatt who some years before acted at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cowcaddens, and now ran three theatres in the North East of England. Its manager H Cecil Beryl (Shown Left) remained for a year before going to Lincoln, and soon returning as the successful manager of the newly opened Royal Princess`s Theatre in Gorbals.

Left - Harcourt Cecil Beryl - From The Bailie, Jan 5th, 1881 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

Reporting on its opening night the Era added Whyatt`s speech saying: "Ladles and Gentlemen, I believe I am pretty well known to you as an actor at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and now allow me to present myself to you as Manager of the Globe Theatre. It is my intention to produce in this establishment the best plays by the best companies travelling in the Provinces. I can arrange for the best travelling companies to come to this Theatre.

You may think it strange that companies will come to so small a house, and certainly there would be great difficulty in bringing those of Caste or The Two Roses, or actors like Mr Sothern or Mr Took, unless the Manger had some hold on them. When I explain to you, however, that I have the Management of three other Theatres, in Sunderland, South Shields, and Hartlepool, you will easily understand that it will be a matter of business to those companies and those actors to visit all establishments under my Management - including the Globe Theatre - or none. I cannot promise that I will always be here myself, but I leave behind me an excellent Stage Manager in Mr Slater - a gentleman well known to you as a member of the company of Mr Glover on the first magnificent production of The Lady of the Lake.

A Postcard depicting the actress Jenny Willmore (Mrs Goddard Whyatt) - Courtesy Graeme Smith.The Acting-Management will devolve upon Mr Cecil Beryl who has gained his experience in the best Theatres in the country, and who, I am sure, will be careful in attending to your comfort. I am in treaty for a number of the very beet novelties travelling, including Mr Dion Boucicault's Shaughraun, and I may assure you that nothing will be wanting on my part to produce in this Theatre a succession of the most brilliant theatrical novelties of the present day." (Loud cheers.) The ERA 1876.

The Theatre held over 1,000 and its gallery was around three sides. Ticket prices were: Stalls (leather cushioned and backed) 2/- Balcony Stalls (leather cushioned) 1/6d - Balcony and Pit 1/- - Gallery 6d.

Right - A Postcard depicting the actress Jenny Willmore (Mrs Goddard Whyatt) performing on Broadway in a play called 'Ixion' - From a painting held at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

At the end of 1876 Whyatt was followed by Auguste Creamer known in Britain for “Irish low comedy” who then moved his company to Dundee and to towns in England.

In February 1878 the Globe Theatre was the subject of a mad panic when someone shouted fire from the gallery, this was a fairly common occurrence in those days as Theatres were regularly catching fire and many such panicked exits ensued, some with fatal outcomes, luckily in this case no one was killed. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the event in their 6th of April edition saying:- 'The residents in the east end of Glasgow were thrown into a state of great excitement by an alarming mishap fortunately unattended with the loss of life-which occurred on Saturday night, February 9th, at the Globe Theatre, which is situated at the junction of Tobago street and Stevenson-street. Of late, dramatic representations have been withdrawn from the stage in favour of the ordinary music hall entertainment.

On Saturday, the curtain had just fallen at the end of the performance a few minutes after 11 o'clock, when the cry of "fire" was raised from the back of the gallery The audience, who numbered about 600, rushed in a body towards the doors, regardless of the moans of those who were borne down by the rush. The theatre officials, confident that there was no foundation for the consternation, endeavoured to allay the general agitation, but the commotion which prevailed prevented them from being headed.

The more active portion of the audience, largely composed of young lads, reached the stair head first, but such an advantage did net benefit them much, because in their desire to leave the place they actually flung themselves downstairs. Of course, the result of this was that speedily a heap of human beings lay writhing on the landings. On the excitement having somewhat abated, it was found that nearly the whole audience had gained the open air. A few ventured back, in company with the police officers who had been summoned to the spot. The passages had been found strewn with persons, mostly lads, who had left the theatre immediately on the cry being raised, but had been overtaken by the crowd which pressed behind them, and trampled down. Of these all were able to proceed home with the assistance of their friends except nine, who were conveyed, nearly all in an insensible condition, to the Bastern police-office, which is within a few yards of the theatre.' - The Sydney Morning Herald, 6th April 1878 - Added by M.L.

In turn Auguste Creamer was succeeded by Irvine & Roselle at the Globe Theatre (who also ran the Alexandra Music Hall, at the Theatre Royal buildings in Hope Street at Cowcaddens). And the Globe Theatre continued into the 1880s when it was also used as a public hall. From 1890 it was leased to the Gospel Army Mission and later became the Calton Tabernacle.

In 1910 the Theatre reopened as the Paragon picture house, the start of a chain of cinemas to be operated by the Singleton family. It seated 683, but was demolished in 1920.

This article on the Globe Theatre, Glasgow was kindly sent in for inclusion on this site by Graeme Smith, and is from research for his new book on Glasgow`s famous Alhambra Theatre, a sequel to The Theatre Royal : Entertaining a Nation, Details here.

 

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