a go tae the pictures Mammy?"
|1911 Olympia Theatre of Varieties opened with a seating capacity for 2000 people.
1924 changed hands to the Scottish Cinema and Variety Theatres.
1938 the auditorium was renovated and restyled in the Arrt Deco style which reduced the seating capacity to 1989
1963 it was renamed the ABC and closed in March 1974
The music hall advert in this photo dates from
The Olympia ended its days as an ABC cinema in 1974 and
reopened as a Bingo Hall in 1978 till the nineties then laterly became
a furniture warehouse before sadly lying derelict on Bridgeton Cross
for many years.
The facade is a listed B building..
famous ABC Olympia picture house.......this was my favourite picture
hall and the one I attended the most, I especially remember every
Saturday morning going to the ABC minors...fantastic!
Long queues would form along Olympia Street all eagerly waiting on the
doors opening, then the orderly rush into the plush seats. A great
feeling once inside, the decorated façade, magnificent wavy purple
curtain and thick cushioned seats gave this place a feeling of opulence.
ABC minors song -
- words were displayed on the big screen and you followed the bouncing ball and gave it laldy!
We are the boys & girls well known as
Minors of the ABC....
And every Saturday we line up,
to see the films we like
and shout aloud with glee !
We love to laugh and have a sing song
a happy crowd are we......
all pals together....
minors of the ABC
ABC minors badge
‘The show generally followed the same pattern: a short comedy such as
Laurel and Hardy,
then cartoons, then a serial that ended with a cliffhanger to encourage
us to return next week...... it worked!"
Extract from messageboard July 2003, GlescaPal, Frank Harrigan,
"........the ABC Minors at the Olympia? Takes me back.
There must be literally millions of those wee round tin badges that says
'ABC' - you know, the ones that glowed in the dark. Nowadays the only thing
that glows in the dark is the effluence that floats down the Clyde.
And as for the Olympia - that was the East End's equivalent to the
Odeon in the toon. When I was a lad, the Olympia seemed a posh place to
me. Do you remember how the big chandeliers used to dim very slowly
just before the start of the film?
My last recollection of the Olympia in all its glory was when they were
showing 'Goldfinger' - the queues were massive.
A few years later I headed south. By the time I came back up here the
Olympia was just a shadow of its former self, a forlorn building, its
majestic presence and status as a landmark (to me) along with the Umbrella
in Bridgeton - now becoming an eyesore."
|Oct. 2015, extract from email, GlescaPal Robert Muir, (age 76) Glasgow, Scotland
I went to several cinemas. 3 – 4 times a week. When young I went to the Olympia ABC minors, 6d (in old money).
Cost of the stalls was 9d, the balcony was 1 shilling and 1 shilling 6
pence (1s 6d) with half price for children. The manager wore a dinner
suit and the Usherettes wore a uniform. I preferred
westerns and thrillers and girlfriend liked westerns and romance.
Laurel and Hardie and Abott & Costello.
I bought oranges from a barrow outside when I went with my parents when
I was very young Remember the usherette (lady with the tray) came
out during the interval and
occasionally walked up and down the aisle with a torch and shone it on
There were always queues to get in – queued up Orr Street for the
balcony and Olympia street for the stalls. We went to the chippie
when we came out.
|Oct. 2015, extract from email, GlescaPal Willie Gibson, Glasgow, Scotland
fondest memory about the Olympia at Glasgow Cross, was the the
concession for anyone under 15, if they were accompanied by
adults. Subsequently, under fifteens on their own
would have to pay a
Shilling, 12d (5p), however when with an adult, half price
We may have been very young but we quickly learned that if you
approached a young couple the guy (perhaps keen to impress his bird)
would not only agree to the 'request' you would very often be
told "keep yer tanners son"
Fifty five years on I still like to tell people, with considerable
qualification, no matter where I travel, that Glasgow people are the
most generous people in the world. Great times , many good memories .
|Nov. 2015, extract from Email, GlescaPal Rena Brown, Glasgow
Hi Webmaister, the Olympia was one of more better ones, dearer to get
into, I can't remember how much. The last
picture I saw in the Olympia was Bonnie & Clyde with Fay Dunaway and
Warren Beattie. I liked the cowboy and Indian pictures, and we all
cheered when goodies were on screen and boo when baddies were on screen.
The stars I liked very
much were Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Doris Day, Clark Gable,
Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and of course Trigger, could go on and on.
Building on fire 30th Nov. 2004
Photo from Garry Painter at www.survivingcinemas.org.uk
Sadly in November 2004 around 10.30 am
a massive blaze ripped through the old hall.
man was found alive in the smoke filled building
but sadly he died later in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
The cinema had been getting used as an unofficial homeless
centre with a few people sleeping there to avoid the cold.
I hope this fire is not the excuse they need tae pull
down. I have been told that planning permission has been
granted for flats .... provisio being that the Olympia facade
was kept intact..now this fire.
I would hate to see another Brigton landmark
| Thankfully the facade was saved and was transformed into the wonderful Bridgeton Library.