The Scotia Music Hall,
116, Stockwell Street, Glasgow
Later - The Scotia Variety Theatre / The Metropole Theatre
Above - A drawing of the East Elevation of the Scotia Music Hall, Glasgow in the 1860s - Courtesy Graeme Smith who says: - ' This was the front of the SCOTIA HALL, Stockwell Street, Glasgow as built for and operated by James and Christina Baylis , pioneers of music hall, from 1862, and founders of the Theatre Royal, Hope Street in 1867.
James Baylis, who ran the Milton Colosseum Music Hall at Cowcaddens Cross, built and opened his new three storied, very large SCOTIA HALL in Stockwell Street near the River Clyde to the designs of the architect Robert Black.
The Scotia Hall opened on 29th December 1862. The ground was bought and building erected all in one year. It was the first purpose built Music Hall in the city and could accommodate around 4000 people, many times more than the nearby Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street.
The record in the Scotia was on the evening of 1st November 1865 when the Prime Minister-to-be William Gladstone MP addressed an audience of 5000, mainly working men, on the day he received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow.
James Baylis died relatively young and was succeeded by his wife Christina Baylis who became the matriarch of variety in the 19th century. The Baylis family continued to own the Theatre Royal Hope Street for ten years.
On her passing in the 1890s the newspapers remarked: 'It was the ability and enterprise of James Baylis and of Mrs Baylis that the townsfolk of Glasgow during the past generation have been chiefly indebted for healthy music hall recreation. Many of us recollect the early days, or rather nights, of the Scotia. In that glittering temple, to the tune of blithesome music, our eyes would eagerly follow the movements of the young sylphides of the corps de ballet in such gorgeous spectacles as "The White Dove", "Scotland and her Shires", "The Gathering of the Clans", and "As Good as a Pantomime".'
In the winter of 1894/95 unemployment among the working class was high and a severe winter made things worse, causing a huge demand for food and coal for the poor. Relief Funds were started and among those who helped were Moss & Thornton owners of the Gaiety and Scotia Variety Theatres.
Left - A Programme for the Metropole Theatre - Undated but believed to be mid 1940s.
The North British Daily Mail reports on 12 February 1895:
"W H Howard and Richie Thom, the managers of the Gaiety and Scotia,
are opening soup kitchens at both houses with the intention to supply
soup and bread to from eight hundred to one thousand poor persons per
week. Subscription boxes are to be placed in prominent parts of both
houses, and they are confident their patrons will give a liberal response.
Councillor Angus Campbell has consented to become treasurer, and the
allocation of tickets is to be entrusted to magistrates, councillors,
police officials, clergy of all denominations, and other responsible
persons. We may mention that the large dressing rooms at both the Scotia
and Gaiety will be specially fitted up for
these free dinners. Those to whom tickets are given are asked to take
cans to hold the soup." - The North British Daily Mail 12th
After being managed by H. E. Moss for a few years, the theatre was substantially rebuilt in 1897 to the designs of the Newcastle architects Joseph Charlton Maxwell and William Hope and changed its name to The Metropole, a name which continued into the 20th century.
Left - A Programme for the Metropole Theatre 1945/46 Season.
Laurel's Dad, Arthur Jefferson, once managed the Metropole Theatre and
put on his and Stan's play "Home From the Honeymoon" there.
Stan briefly played one of the hobos in the play which eventually formed
the basis of two Laurel and Hardy films; one silent "Duck Soup";
and the other a talkie "Another Fine Mess" in 1930. This
information kindly sent in by Lesley Phillips.
The Metropole Theatre was destroyed by fire on 28th October 1961.
Right - The Metropole Theatre, formerly Scotia Music Hall, after the fire in 1962 - From the book 'Glasgow since 1900' Archive publications.
A Programme and some details for the Scotia Variety Theatre can be seen here.