Gilmour Street and Dyers Wynd, Paisley Cross,
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Originally built in 1880 as a Templers Hall known as Alexandra Hall. It was designed by architects Rennison & Scott and consisted of a main hall that was located at first floor level, this hall had a gallery level which ran around three sides. On the ground floor was a smaller hall and units of shops.
In 1910 architect James Donald was commissioned to convert the main hall into a cinema. Seating was provided on long wood benches which were fixed to the floor and could acommodate 612 in the stalls and 330 in the gallery. The building was licenced for another 140 people in standing room areas. The projection booth was located at the rear of the stalls under the gallery overhang. In 1912 a new entrance was provided that gave greater prominance to the building from Paisley Cross and the building was re-furbished in 1928.
On 31st December 1929 a special children’s Hogmanay matinee performance of the silent western short film “The Dude Deperado” was playing to a full house of over 900 children (the main evening feature was advertised as King Vidor’s “The Crowd”). A reel of film caught fire and thick smoke began to drift into the auditorium. This caused panic and in the ensuing moments as the children stampeded to the exits (one of which was closed) many were crushed and trampled to death. In total 71 children ranging in age from 18 months to 14 were killed and many more were seriously injured and were hospitalised.
The Glen Cinema suffered only mainly smoke damage, but it never re-opened. A Burton’s gentleman’s clothing store was built in the 1930’s on the site of the 1912 entrance, but the auditorium and main building remains to this day in mixed use as offices and retail. Original ceiling details remain and can be seen when tiles are removed from a false ceiling that has now been inserted.
On 27th March 1985, Historic Scotland designated the Glen Cinema a Grade B Listed building.
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