The Coliseum has had a long and complex history, having been rebuilt and repurposed many times over its 100+ year history. It originally opened in 1905 as a music hall for Moss's Empire, designed by the famous theatre architect, Frank Matcham.See more pictures of the Coliseum exterior here.
The original plans did include a small 'Operators Box' to the rear of the Grand Circle, and certainly as early as 1911, the 'American Bioscope' was a firm fixture of the programme.
The Coliseum started showing films full time around 1925, and it was the venue for Glasgow's first showing of a talking picture, in January 1929.
In 1931, due to its popularity, ABC commissioned WR Glen to remodel the building and bring it up to date as a cinema. He removed the original proscenium and stage, and extended the stalls forward to increase seating. At the same time, he made major alterations to both balconies - altering the line of the fronts (making them less of a deep horseshoe than before), and also removing some pillars supporting the upper circle - presumably to improve sightlines. A new larger projection room was constructed at the back of the upper circle, obviously protruding from the front of the building. The new seating was for 3,094.
Cinerama was not a lasting success, and it soon returned to normal film use. It closed as a cinema in 1980, and lay derelict. In 1986 it was listed Grade B by Historic Scotland.
It was then reopened for County as as a bingo hall in 1987 - it had been sitting empty since closing as a cinema in 1980. As can be seen in the galleries below, the interior was in a poor state, and County stripped out the remains of the Cinerama decoration (and the 1930s decor that still remained in places behind it), and created a new interior for bingo, including a new stalls floor, new splay walls and new suspended ceiling. They also removed the projection box that had been added in the 1930s, and had protruded from the facade, as well as repairing and re-rendering the exterior. Further alterations included blocking off portions of the enormous building which were now surplus to requirements.
Galleries above courtesy of Bruce Murray
Bingo closed in January 2003, and the building is now sitting derelict and decaying. It changed ownership in early 2006, and as of September 2006, the local council was drawing up an Urgent Repairs notice to ensure it remained wind and watertight.
From photos provided of the building taken in August 2006, it can be seen that unfortunately, very little remains of the original Matcham interior after this catalogue of alterations [Some photos marked (*) courtesy Urban Desertion].
Photo of the cinema from the high flats behind here, courtesy Norrie Mcnamee.
Original Matcham plans: Glasgow City Archives 2/389, 1905; 2/1330, 1905; 2/737, 1905; 2/738, 1905
WR Glen Modifications: Glasgow City Archives B4/12/1931/117
Cinerama Alterations: Glasgow City Archives B4/12/1963/6
2006 Interior Gallery: Urban Desertion