The Palace Theatre, Main Street, Gorbals, Glasgow
Above - The Palace Theatre and the original frontage of the Citizens' Theatre which was next door
As part of the John Morrison (of Morrison & Mason, builders) development of tenements and shops in Main Street in the thriving Gorbals the Grand National Halls of the Good Templars - which had been used for weddings, functions, political meetings and concerts - were demolished and rebuilt in 1904 as the Palace Theatre for the impresario Richard Waldon who also operated the Royal Princess`s Theatre next door.
Right - The Interior of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow by Victor Glasstone - Courtesy Graeme Smith
It shared the classical façade of the (smaller) Royal Princess`s and could hold around 2000. The architect was Bertie Crewe, who also designed the Pavilion Theatre, Renfield Street the same year, and he used a glorious Indian style reflecting Britain`s Empire, including large elephant figures. It had two tiers - the grand circle having marble balustrades.
The Era reported on its opening in March 1904:
'The decorations are on a sumptuous scale. The design is pure Indian, an outstanding feature being the range of boxes supported by the beautiful Nuatch girls and papier mache elephant heads. Above them are gorgeous Hindu pagodas from which springs the elaborate domed and painted ceiling. The proscenium arch is executed in alabaster. Ivory, gold and red is the scheme of decoration with draperies, carpets and upholstery of peacock blue.' The Era March 1904.
An early Palace programme cover can be seen at the excellent Glasgow Story Website here.
Above - The Auditorium and Stage of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy Graeme Smith
Its variety programme included Neil Kenyon, Marie Kendall, Wal Langtry, Ella Retford and Florrie Forde. During the Great War 1914-18 cine-variety was introduced and talkies took over in the 1930s. When television took over much of Britain`s live entertainment it changed to being a bingo house in the 1970s and was demolished after a fire made it unsafe.
Left - The Interior of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow by Victor Glasstone - Courtesy Graeme Smith
Fortunately the theatre next door, in its new name of the Citizens, took a number of the elephants into its foyer and a complete box adorned by elephant is held by the Victoria & Alberts Museum in London.
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