Picture Halls...." kin a go tae the pictures Mammy?"
The music hall
advert in this photo dates from 1916..
Olympia Theatre of Varieties opened with a seating
capacity for 2000 people,
with a designed interior by Frank Matcham.
The exterior was designed by George Arthur
1924 changed hands to the
Scottish Cinema and Variety Theatres, SCVT,
pre-cursor to the ABC
1938 the auditorium was renovated
and restyled in the Art Deco style by cinema
architects McNair & Elder which reduced the
seating capacity to 1989
1963 it was renamed the ABC and
closed as a cinema in March 1974
The Olympia ended its days
as an ABC cinema in 1974 and reopened as a
Bingo Hall in 1978 till
Then latterly became a furniture warehouse
before sadly lying derelict at Bridgeton Cross
for many years.
The facade is a listed B
The 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
Age five upwards and only 6d to get in.
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
[See a typical ABC minors picture hall from 1963 - the
curtain, adverts, trailers etc]
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
happy crowd are we......
all pals together.... We're minors of the
ABC minors badge
Hear the song on YouTube
‘The show generally followed the same
pattern: a short comedy such as Laurel and
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
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.
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."
poem by GlescaPal admin gal, 'Nell', Helen
Let’s take a wee walk, doon memory lane
Back tae the sixties, re-live wance again.
Up tae the cross wi yir pals aw in tow
Gaun tae the Olympia tae watch a good
Intae the wee shoap haufwiy doon the street
Canny make-up mah mind, a drink urr a sweet
The wumman’s getting peeved, “Ahv no goat aw
“Awright then Missus, ahll hiv a wee penny tray”
Intae queue, haufwiy roon the block
Us weans urr aw shouting, and running amok
Oot comes the man, ah think it’s a sin
Says “If yiz aw don’t shutup, yiz urr no getting
That tobers us up and quietens us doon.
The queue’s moving roon so we’ll get in soon.
Intae the pictures, mah ticket ahv bought
Tae watch the film Jason, and thay Argonauts
Efter the fillum and oan the wiy hame
We aw take oan characters and play a wee game
Big Shugs says “ahm Jason, coz ahv goat nae
Awright says Mamie then ahll be Medea.
Those days urr gone, bit don’t shed a tear
The Olympia’s stull therr, never you fear.
It’s lookin quite splendid and ye know whit? By
Wi a library and café at least it’s no bingo.
|Apr 2015, GlescaPal Bill
McKinlay Glasgow, Scotland
We went to the
minors every Saturday morning we saw a couple of
cartoons I liked Casper the friendly ghost, they
were also a couple of fechters like batman and
superman and my favourite was rocket man, the
there was also a film usually Cowboys and
Indians , pirate film ect. In Parkhead there
were three picture halls in Parkhead the Granada
in Duke Street, the Black Cat in Springfield
Road and the 3 P,s. (Picture Palace Parkhead )
which showed the Minors. Happy memories.
|Oct. 2015, extract from
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
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 &
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 the tray.
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
Willie Gibson, Glasgow, Scotland
Webmaister, my 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 i.e.
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
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 .
|Oct. 2015, GlescaPal
Adeline Lynas, Glasgow, Scotland
I remember going to the minors on a Saturday
morning in the Olympia, before going in we would
buy a barrs jubilee, packet of butterkist and a
macaroon bar from Maxwell's sweetie shop, I think
we paid 6d to get in. I remember they had a wee
dance competition and I won a free pass for the
next week for doing the Twist.
My Mammy took me to the Granada to see Madam X and
Back Street and as Madam X finished I said to my
Mammy oor Rita's (my sister) in here listen I can
hear her greetin...and sure enough the lights went
up and she was sitting with her pal along from
2015, extract from Email, GlescaPal Rena
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.
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.
GlescaPal 'The Craw', David Crawford,
Saturday Minors,I used to go on stage
at the interval and sing, if the audience
thought you were the best, with a loud cheer,y
ou got a free pass for the next week. I won my
fair share of free passes, as did my pal
I was honoured to have been a Monitor it made
me feel so grown up,and trusted,when asked to
help the Usherettes when loading their
ice-cream for the interval.
My erse is still sore from skelping it on my
way home,thinking I was on a horse. It cost
,sixpense to get in and I was 6 or 7 yrs old.
I went with my older brother, then it was down
to me to take my younger brother and then his
The Olympia, No1 Entrance fee 1/11d for doon
sterrs and 2/6d for the Balcony, never had
much time for the Balcony,d on`t know why, was
always content in the cheap seats. Olympia was
very clean, posh, pallacial even. The Manager
always had a smile on his face, always
immaculate in his dinner suit and black patent
shoes. The only gripe I had with The
Olympia,was that there was little or no
protection against the elements while waiting
in the queue.
| Building on
fire 30th Nov. 2004
Photo from Garry Painter
Sadly in November 2004 around 10.30 am
a massive blaze ripped through the old
A man was found alive in the smoke filled
but sadly he died later in the
Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
The cinema had been getting used as an
centre with a few people sleeping there to
avoid the cold.
I hope this fire
is not an excuse tae pull the building
I had been told that planning permission
had been granted for flats.
Provisio being that the Olympia facade was kept
Now this fire.
I would hate to see another Brigton landmark
Thankfully the facade was saved and the
building was transformed into the wonderful Bridgeton Library.
BLLHG - Bridgeton Local
Library History Group
Produced this Booklet
"The Bridgeton Umbrella''
Recollections of Bridgeton's Past