|Opened on December 31st
the Glasgow Paramount was one of the later cinemas built for the chain
in Britain (which also included Manchester
and Newcastle, amongst
The architects were Frank T. Verity and Samuel
Beverley, who designed many of the British Paramounts - this was
their only cinema north of the border.
Glasgow's Paramount was freestanding, and occupied half a city
The facade was built in white granite, with five two-storey finned
windows curving around and above the corner entrance. At night, the
entire building was outlined in neon.
main foyer had an open staircase to the upper foyer, which looked down
onto the ground floor, and was home to a tea room and restaurant,
situated under the tall corner windows. A further cafe was situated
upstairs from the main restaurant (behind the windows to the right of
the corner in the main photo above).
The auditorium sat nearly 2,800 in the circle and stalls, and was
originally decorated in green, copper and silver. The stage area was
spacious, with a tall full-height fly-tower, and around fifteen
dressing rooms at the rear of the side elevation, as well as under the
A Compton organ rose from this understage area (remarkably, the organ
console survives, and is currently being housed in Summerlee
Heritage Park in nearby Coatbridge, whilst it is restored by the Scottish Cinema
1939, the cinema, along with
all other UK Paramounts, was sold to the Odeon circuit. Under this
name, it continued successfully until 1970, with live shows augmenting
the film presentations. Most famously, both the Rolling Stones and the
Beatles played at the Glasgow Odeon.
In 1970, the cinema was closed for a year and comprehensively
remodelled. This involved stripping almost all of the Italianate
interior out and creating 3 screens - one in the former balcony
extended fully forward, one in the former stalls (both seating around
1100), plus a smaller screen in the former stage area.
screen, seating 555, was formed over two levels, with a small balcony,
and had a seperate entrance to the side of the building. The foyers
were remodelled too, with the double height sections being floored
over, and the main staircase realigned. The cafes were walled off to
offices and staff areas, and a bar was placed in the top foyer,
although the view from the corner windows was now sadly blocked.
The exterior did not escape drastic modernisation either: the corner
windows and fins were hidden behind a giant,
full height readograph,
lit from behind, and with corrugated metal sheeting covering much of
the granite around it.
1970 Screen 2
1970 Screen 3
In 1988, the screen in the
original stalls area was further subdivided
into three screens, of around 220 seats each, and the balcony and
stalls of the smaller Screen 3 were split into two, giving a total of
six screens. Access to all screens was now from the main corner
entrance. A further subdivision in 1999 saw the 1100 seat Screen 1, in
roughly the former circle, divided into four screens, bringing the
total to nine. The current Screen 1, at 555 seats, is now the largest
in the complex.
refurbishment also saw the bar being removed and, happily, the
exterior was restored to something like its former glory, with the
removal of the readograph and corrugated sheeting, and the
re-instatement of a simplified version of the original neon lighting
Sadly, only a few years later,
Odeon sold the building (along with the Odeon Edinburgh
March 2003 to property developers. Two months later, Historic Scotland
afforded the building some degree of protection with B-listed
Planning permission [PDF
of planning report] was granted in 2004 for demolition behind a
retained facade, and the construction of a new interior for
leisure and retail use.
The plans involve reinstatement of something
akin to the original external neon lighting scheme, and there is
also a requirement to strip out all non-original features to search for
plasterwork or other original decoration prior to demolition starting.
Current Interior (2003)
Detail of original decorative plasterwork
the comprehensive nature of the interior alterations over the
years, several small pockets of original decoration and plasterwork do
leased back to Odeon on a short-term basis whilst the developers
completed their plans - closure finally happened 7th January 2006, and the building was stripped of seats, projection equipment and anything else useful.
Seating and final films on closure are shown below:
Screen 1 - 555 seats (43.5 ft screen) - King Kong,
2 - 152
(23 ft) - Harry Potter 4,
3 - 113 (22 ft) - Lassie / King Kong,
4 - 173 (25 ft) - Just Like Heaven,
5 - 192 (26.5 ft) - The Producers,
6 - 235
(26 ft) - King Kong,
7 - 253 (27 ft) - Chronicles of Narnia,
8 - 252 (33 ft) - Chronicles of Narnia,
9 - 222 (31.5 ft) - Chronicles of Narnia.