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The Savoy Theatre, Hope Street, Glasgow

Later - The Savoy Picture House / Cinema / The Majestic Ballroom / Savoy Centre

Glasgow Index

Hope Street, Glasgow showing the Savoy Theatre on the left - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - Hope Street, Glasgow showing the Savoy Theatre on the left - Courtesy Graeme Smith

The Savoy Theatre was an opulent variety Theatre opened in December, 1911 in Hope Street at the corner of Renfrew Street, nearly opposite the Theatre Royal. It was designed by one of the most noted architects in the country James Miller, who also designed the International Exhibition, 1901, held in Kelvingrove Park.

A Panorama of the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - A Panorama of the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

A Savoy Theatre, Glasgow, seating plan from 1911 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.The Savoy Theatre accommodated 1,600 people and opened under Alfred Moul, formerly of the Alhambra Theatre, London. The Theatre had giant pilasters framed by towers topped with broad-eaved roofs, and the facade was clad in white faience with green tiling featured near the top. The foyer had marble staircases and the auditorium with its stalls, boxes and two balconies were in the style of Louis XVI “tastefully decorated , white and gold forming the predominant character in the scheme. A unique feature is the tearoom adjoining the circle, and such an innovation should prove quite a boon, being the first time such a thing has been attempted in Glasgow.” French polished marquetry wall panels with inlaid mirrors also featured.

Right - A Savoy Theatre, Glasgow, seating plan from 1911 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

Miller also designed the Cranston De-Luxe Picture House & Tearoom in Renfield Street in 1916, which building continues today. The career of James Millar is described in James Millar 1860 - 1947 by Audrey Sloan, published in 1993 by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

In 1916, after some alterations by architect George Boswell, a former assistant to James Miller, the Theatre became the New Savoy cinema with its orchestral cafes, tea lounges and soda fountain. Their Roumanian Orchestra played every afternoon and the Ladies and Jazz Orchestras every evening. Tea Dances were held each afternoon in its Upper Café.

In 1958 it became the very popular Majestic Ballroom following the removal of the seats, proscenium arch, and gallery; and part of the balcony; and the installation of a first class ballroom floor. In 1972 the Savoy / Majestic and the immense and elegant Gaumont cinema in Sauchiehall Street – also owned by the Rank Organisation – were demolished (apart from the Gaumont`s red sandstone facade) to make way for offices and shops known as the Savoy Centre.

An architectural drawing of the exterior of the Savoy Theatre, Glasgow in 1911 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - An architectural drawing of the exterior of the Savoy Theatre, Glasgow in 1911 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

An early example of a Savoy variety programme can be seen at The Glasgow Story site here

More about the Savoy as a cinema and a ballroom, with photographs, can be seen here.

Images of the Savoy Cinema and some information can also be seen here.

The above article on the Savoy Theatre was written by Graeme Smith and kindly sent in for inclusion on the site by him in 2013.

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