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- Category: C
- Date Added: 27/05/2010
- Local Authority: Glasgow
- Planning Authority: Glasgow
- Burgh: Glasgow
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 58407 65944
- Coordinates: 258407, 665944
1875 origins as entertainment venue, largely rebuit Neil C Duff, 1927 as Waldorf Palais Dance hall and converted C J McNair, 1929 to cinema. Early 21st century converted to bar and music venue. 3-storey 8-bay (left bay added early 21st century) classical building with round-arched arcaded top storey and dominant full height Classical Modern entrance by McNair. Painted smooth render. Cornice divides 1st and 2nd storey. Angle pilasters.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: off-centre slightly advanced entrance with full-height opening; flanking pilasters with flagpoles break wallhead. Cornice surmounted by anthemion motif. 6 small square-plan openings above and long slender openings to pilasters now blocked. Recessed entrance with 3 pairs of non-traditional 2-leaf timber doors. Large glazed area above now blocked. Shop and bar premises flank ground floor entrance.
Non-traditional glazing to shopfronts and bar. Multi-pane glazing with mullions to 1st floor. Mullioned and transomed timber multi-pane windows to top storey. Complex multi-pitch roof, semicircular to W with corrugated metal covering.
INTERIOR: comprehensively remodelled early 21st century. Coloured terrazzo starburst floor to entrance foyer. Black and white terrazzo floor to upper landing. Exposed curved steel roof structure to principal venue space.
Statement of Special Interest
The ABC has a complex history however its various changes have resulted in a striking and unusual streetscape elevation which is an important feature of one of Glasgow's principal streets. The imposing full-height entrance, designed by C J McNair, one of Scotland's celebrated cinema architects, is typical of cinema design and was purposefully designed to advertise its presence and draw patrons into the building.
The Scottish Cinemas website details the history of the building as follows. Built in 1875 as the Diorama it became the Panorama in 1878 and Hubner's Ice Skating Palace in 1885. It hosted Glasgow's first public film showing in May 1896. Hengler's Circus operated from the building from 1904 to 1927 when it was rebuilt as the Waldorf Palais dance hall. The arcaded top storey windows date from this period. McNair was responsible for the building's conversion to a cinema in 1929 and added the dramatic entrance at this time. The cinema underwent various alterations and it closed on 14 October 1999 before later reopening as a music venue which included adding a further bay to the left of the principal elevation.
Bruce Peter's Scotland's Spendid Theatres further documents the building's different uses. An extract from the opening programme of the building's incarnation as a Hippodrome under Hengler's ownership notes that the architect for the building was James Miller.
It appears on the 1892-7 Ordnance Survey map as the 'National Panorama' and as a 'Circus' on the 1912 map before being described as a 'Picture Theatre' on the 1933-42 map.
The return elevation to Scott Street has some exposed brickwork detailing and part of an archway which dates from prior to the 1927 rebuild. Although the interior has been comprehensively remodelled the plan form of the staircases and accesses to the main auditorium remain from the 1929 conversion to a cinema.
Listed as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.
Ordnance Survey Maps (1892-7; 1908-11; 1933-42). Williamson et al, The Buildings of Scotland ' Glasgow (1990) p242; Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999) pp134-137. www.scottishcinemas.org.uk [accessed 16 April 2009].
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