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The Palace Theatre, Main Street, Gorbals, Glasgow

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The Palace Theatre and the original frontage of the Citizens' Theatre which was next door - From the book 'Glasgow since 1900' Archive publications.

Above - The Palace Theatre and the original frontage of the Citizens' Theatre which was next door

The Interior of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow by Victor Glasstone - Courtesy Graeme SmithAs 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 altered and rebuilt to the designs of the architect Bertie Crewe in 1904 and were reopened 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

The new Theatre shared the classical façade of the next door Royal Princess's Theatre and could hold around 2,500 people.

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.

Architect Bertie Crewe's cross section of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow in 1904, from the entrance on Main Street / Gorbals Street. The Theatre had fourteen dressing rooms - Courtesy Graeme Smith and the Mitchell Library.

Above - Architect Bertie Crewe's cross section of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow in 1904, from the entrance on Main Street / Gorbals Street. The Theatre had fourteen dressing rooms - Courtesy Graeme Smith and the Mitchell Library.

Architect Bertie Crewe's circle plan of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow in 1904. The snake shape of the circle front is the same as exists in the Pavilion Theatre, Renfield Street - Courtesy Graeme Smith and the Mitchell Library.

Above - Architect Bertie Crewe's circle plan of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow in 1904. The snake shape of the circle front is the same as exists in the Pavilion Theatre, Renfield Street - Courtesy Graeme Smith and the Mitchell Library.

The Era reported on the Theatre's 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.

The Auditorium and Stage of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - The Auditorium and Stage of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy Graeme Smith

A Painting depicting the Auditorium and Stage of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy George Richmond, February 2018.

Above - A Painting depicting the Auditorium and Stage of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow - Courtesy George Richmond, February 2018, who says 'This is the Palace Theatre, Gorbals Glasgow, in 1904, designed in the Indian style. The colour scheme of the auditorium was given in the ERA as being ivory gold and red with the curtains, upholstery, and carpets in blue.' Click for an Index to all of George Richmond's Paintings on this site.

The Interior of the Palace Theatre, Glasgow by Victor Glasstone - Courtesy Graeme SmithAn early Palace programme cover can be seen at the excellent Glasgow Story Website here. 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.

Right - 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.

The above text was written by Graeme Smith and kindly sent in for inclusion on the site in 2009, and is from his book 'THE THEATRE ROYAL: Entertaining a Nation', Details here.

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