Glasgow Empire Palace Theatre, April 1897

An extensive article on page nine of The Glasgow Herald, on Saturday the third of April, provides readers with a detailed account of the new theatre which was to open to the public on Monday the fifth.


The building was erected on the site of the old Gaiety Theatre, at the corner of Sauchiehall Street and West Nile Street. Its elevations were faced with Dumfries stone of a light red colour.


“The principal entrance is from Sauchiehall Street. Pairs of polished wood doors open into the grand vestibule, the floor of which is in mosaics and the walls covered with Faience work, mirrors with frames of the same material being introduced with a happy result. The frieze and ceiling is decorated, carrying through the same effect with niches for vases introduced. The inner vestibule containing the pay office is a very handsome apartment; the walls are painted a warm green shade and the ceilings richly decorated with raised plaster work. The grand marble staircase leads to a very handsome lounge, with a rich covered ceiling, in the centre of which is a large opening surrounded by an open balcony, the ceiling over this being artistically painted, representing sky and birds. This lounge is continued up to the entrance to the grand circle lobby, and is lighted by a large glass roof light, and is well ventilated.


“The decorations of the entire house are in the happiest taste. The stage is large, and fitted up with the most improved machinery, while the comfort of the artists has been carefully studied. The Glasgow Empire must be ranked among the finest yet constructed under the auspices of the Moss & Thornton syndicate.


“Last evening there was a private view of the building, when a large number of ladies and gentlemen were present. The Police Band, under the conductorship of Mr Jarvis, played some admirable selections. In the course of the evening Councillor Primrose made a short address.”


He commented that:


“the house had been dedicated to reasonable, rational, and healthy enjoyment. It was of the first necessity that they should provide healthy musical and other entertainments for the mass of the community; and when he looked around that beautiful house he saw a worthy temple in which healthful and innocent amusement might be tendered to the citizens. He hoped that as the structural conditions of the building rendered it possible to purify the material atmosphere, the moral atmosphere of the establishment would reflect credit on those who directed it. (Applause.) In Mr Moss they had the Napoleon of variety entertainers. (Applause.) He hoped that success would attend the venture. (Applause.)


“Mr H. E. Moss said that it would be the endeavour of the management to give an entertainment entirely free of vulgarity.”