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The King's Theatre, 335 Bath Street, Glasgow

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An early Postcard showing the King's Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

Above - An early Postcard showing the King's Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

The King's Theatre, Glasgow in July 2003 - Photo M.L.The King's Theatre in Bath Street, Glasgow was designed by the renowned Theatre architect Frank Matcham and built at a cost of £50,000, opening on Monday the 12th of September 1904.

Right - The King's Theatre, Glasgow in July 2003 - Photo M.L.

The Building News and Engineering Journal reported on the new King's Theatre, shortly after it opened, in their 16th of September 1904 edition saying:- 'The King's Theatre was opened on Monday. It has been erected by the firm of Howard and Wyndham, Ltd.

It is built of Locharbriggs stone, and occupies a site at the west end of Bath-street, where Elmbank-street intersects. From no floors, or divided part of a floor, are provided less than two distinct and separate exits, and the pit has three exits.

The principal entrance opens into a vestibule, the walls of which are lined with white and coloured marbles, and the floor constructed of marble in white and black squares. The marble walls are surmounted by a decorative frieze from which springs a boldly-panelled domed ceiling. An arched opening opposite the entry doors leads to the foot of the marble staircase, and off the first landing is the access to and from the dress circle cloakrooms. On the other side the staircase is continued to the crush-room, where the floor is laid with mosaic. This room is furnished with settees and a Turkey carpet.

The King's Theatre, Glasgow during the run of Can-Can on the 13th of December 1955The gallery contains fifteen rows of seats, and these all face the stage. There are no side seats. The upper circle contains seven rows of velvet-upholstered seats, with a promenade at the back. The dress circle, which is fitted with tip-up chairs, has the floor covered with a velvet pile carpet. The walls are covered with flock paper, and the ceilings are formed of raised plasterwork, finished cream colour.

Left - The King's Theatre, Glasgow during the run of Can-Can on the 13th of December 1955 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.

To the right is the grand saloon, an apartment 43ft. long and 20ft. wide, and decorated with raised plasterwork. The stalls are approached either from the corridor or the grand vestibule. Staircases open on each side of the stalls, through colonnades of alabaster columns, with ornamental caps and bases. The walls at the back are panelled and filled in with silk tapestries, and the openings are draped.

The stage is divided from the auditorium by an asbestos fireproof curtain, and hydrants, fully equipped, are placed both in front and behind the curtains. The whole building is lighted by electricity and constructed of fire-resisting material.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the Building News and Engineering Journal, 16th of September 1904.

An early Postcard showing the King's Theatre, Glasgow

Above - An early Postcard showing the King's Theatre, Glasgow

Graeme Smith writes on the development of the King's Theatre, Glasgow saying:- 'Glasgow's Theatre Royal, birthplace of Howard & Wyndham Ltd, was so profitable that its chairman Michael Simons (who lived in Bath Street) advertised in 1901 for sites to build two more Theatres. Both Theatres were built in red sandstone by Morrison & Mason Ltd to the designs of Frank Matcham, the first to open being the Kings Theatre.

The auditorium of the King's Theatre, Glasgow in 2004 - Courtesy Roger Fox. The second opened a year later and was the Coliseum Theatre in Eglinton Street on the south side of the city, but operated by Moss Empires Ltd. The companies shared the same firm of secretaries at this time, and the directors ensured that competition would not be too close.

Right - The auditorium of the King's Theatre, Glasgow in 2004 - Courtesy Roger Fox.

King's Theatre Glasgow Restoration 2009
King's Theatre Glasgow Restoration 2009

The Auditorium of the King' Theatre, which was richly decorated in many different styles, something Matcham was famous for, was built on four levels consisting of Stalls and three Balconies, with a multitude of boxes on either side. The Theatre's entrance and foyers were also lavishly decorated and give a true sense of occasion, sadly lacking in many later Theatres. - Graeme Smith.

 Left - A Time Lapse Video showing the restoration of the King's Theatre Glasgow during its Summer closure in 2009. Further works were also planned for the next four summers.

The King's Theatre, which is Grade A Listed Building, currently has a capacity of 1,815, and is used primarily as a touring house. The Theatre is currently run by the Ambassador Theatre Group, you may like to visit their own Website for the Theatre here.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.