This B-listed building opened in September 1911 as the Olympia Theatre of Varieties, with an interior by Frank Matcham (seating around 2000). The exterior was designed by George Arthur.Investigations have begun into the cause of the fire, which made the front cover of the days Evening Times.
It was sold to Scottish Cinema and Variety Theatres (SCVT - the pre-cursor to the ABC chain) in 1924.
The interior was rebuilt to better suit cinema use in 1938 by prolific cinema architects McNair & Elder, at which point it seated 1689.
Renamed the ABC in 1963, it continued as a cinema until March 1974. From 1978 it was used as a bingo hall, and later as a furniture warehouse. It has been sitting derelict since around 2000.
In 2003, Glasgow City Council granted planning permission to demolish the cinema and build flats behind a partially retained facade, though to date no work has yet been done on this.
A serious fire occurred in the building on November 30th 2004, and a man who was believed to have been sleeping rough in the derelict building later died in hospital due to smoke inhalation. The roads around the building were closed for most of the day while firemen fought the blaze.
|A gallery of photos taken during and after the tragic fire on November 30th 2004 is here.|
|A side view of the exterior is available here.|
|A gallery of pictures of the sadly derelict and water-damaged interior - prior to the recent fire - are available here.|
|1982 photos courtesy Chris Doak|