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The Queen's Theatre, Watson Street, Near Glasgow Cross, Glasgow

Formerly - The Star Music Hall / The Shakespeare Music Hall / The New Star Theatre of Varieties / People's Palace of Amusements / Pringle`s Picture Palace

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A drawing of the frontage of the People's Palace Music Hall, which would later become the Queen's Theatre, Watson Street, Glasgow  - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - A drawing of the frontage of the People's Palace Music Hall, which would later become the Queen's Theatre, Watson Street, Glasgow - From a People`s Palace Music Hall programme - Courtesy Graeme Smith

 

A Thumbnail image of a 1930s Programme held on the excellent Glasgow Story Website - To see it enlarged and for details click here.The Queen's Theatre on Watson Street, Glasgow started life as the Star Music Hall in 1878, operated by Dan S Mackay. The Theatre was later substantially refurbished and reopened as the Shakespeare Music Hall, by Arthur Lloyd in October 1881. This was to last only 14 weeks however and Arthur Lloyd became bankrupt as a result. There is more on Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall below.

Right - A Thumbnail image of a 1930s Programme held on the excellent Glasgow Story Website - To see it enlarged and for details click here.

By October 1884 the Theatre had become the New Star of Varieties, operated by Dan S Mackay. This Theatre was the subject of a tragedy when a fire in the Theatre caused a panic in the audience whilst trying to escape. More on this here.

A People`s Palace Co Ltd was formed in 1894 to lease and run variety in the Music Hall but did so only for a short time, closing before Glasgow Corporation finally opened the People`s Palace (Museum) and Winter Garden on Glasgow Green in 1898.

The People`s Palace Co Ltd had shareholders who were mainly ordinary citizens but included two Lord Provosts, and some very wealthy business and shipping merchants, who were municipally minded. The aim being that dividends would be restricted to a modest amount and surpluses would be reinvested in shows and facilities for the working class of the area - similar to the movement popular then of starting Public House Trusts. The company failed.

A Programme for the People`s Palace Music Hall promotes the building thus: "The prices are just one half of what is charged in the cheaper halls... No crowding allowed; no standing in the passages; no vexatious extra charges. Family night every Friday, when Sweethearts and Wives are admitted free. Special stair reserved for ladies and children. Lavatories on every floor, and a host of other advantages."

An Advert for Pringle`s Picture Palace from April 1908 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.Later in the 1890s the Theatre, now known as the Queens Theatre, was operated by Bernard Armstrong and Thomas Colquhoun, grandson of James and Christina Baylis who created the Theatre Royal, Hope Street and the Scotia/Metropole Theatre, Stockwell Street. The name "Palace" was also briefly used.

In 1907 the Theatre became the Pringle`s Picture Palace, offering cine-variety but the Queen's Theatre name resumed during the First War when the building became a proper Theatre again, complete with cushioned benches.

Right - An Advert for Pringle`s Picture Palace from April 1908 - Courtesy Graeme Smith.

In the 1920s and 30s it was part of the entertainments empire of Bernard Frutin, who also bought the Metropole.

The Queen`s was a variety theatre, which also staged plays, and in the 1930s and 40s was a popular and busy venue offering earthy pantomime starring the comedians Frank and Doris Droy and Sammy Murray.

The Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1952.

The above information was kindly sent in by Graeme Smith, whose book 'THE THEATRE ROYAL: Entertaining a Nation', is detailed here.

The Shakespeare Music Hall should not be confused with the Shakespeare Singing Saloon on the Saltmarket, Glasgow.

 

Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson Street, Glasgow

Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson Street, Glasgow

In October 1881 Arthur Lloyd took over the Star Music Hall in Watson Street, Glasgow and spent a great deal of money refurbishing the building so that he could open it as his own Music Hall. The architects for the conversion were D Thomson & Turnbull, who were prominent architects in the city, and the building masons were Morrison & Mason, builders of the Theatre Royal and other Theatres, the City Chambers (to be), the Stock Exchange, and many other large buildings.

The Shakespeare Music Hall should not be confused with the Shakespeare Singing Saloon on the Saltmarket, Glasgow.

Names of Contractors Engaged in Building the Shakespeare Music Hall, Glasgow - From the opening night poster of the 10th of October 1881

Above - Names of Contractors Engaged in Building the Shakespeare Music Hall, Glasgow - From the opening night poster of the 10th of October 1881

Programme cover for Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall 1881 - Click to see enlargement at The Glasgow StoryArthur Lloyd's newly refurbished hall opened as the Shakespeare Music Hall on Monday the 10th of October 1881 with a 'Grand Opening Night' production which included his wife, Katty King, in their 'Drawing Room Entertainment,' and his father Horatio Lloyd acting as the 'Superintendent of the Auditorium.' The opening night poster boasts that the hall was to open with a 'Splendid Company & Orchestra,' and that Arthur Lloyd himself would be performing some of his newest songs and impersonations.

Left - A thumbnail of a Programme cover for Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall 1881. To see the programme enlarged and for details visit the The Glasgow Story here.

Also on the Bill on the opening night were 'The Marvelous Kennette, Acknowledged as the greatest gymnast in the World;' Mr Edwin Barry, 'The popular American Vocal Comedian;' Miss Edith Phillis, 'The popular Serio-Comic Artiste;' John Le Clair, 'The most elegant, extraordinary, and without doubt the greatest Juggler and Balancer in the World;' Emily Fraser, 'The Glasgow Favourite Ballad Vocalist;' Walter Thornbury, 'Musical Mimic and Marvelous Sketcher of "Men we Know;"' and Frank Clark, 'England and Ireland's own Comedian. A most wonderful Artiste.'

The ERA reviewed the building and its opening night production in their 15th of October 1881 edition with the following glowing report:

Poster for the opening night of Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall - October 1881 - Click to enlarge.'The places of amusement in Glasgow have just received an important addition to their number in the shape of a very handsome and commodious Music Hall, which has been, for some months past, in course of construction. "The Shakespeare" - as the new Hall is called - forms part of a large building which occupies a Site in Watson-street, Gallowgate, within a stone's throw of the Cross, and is the only permanent place of entertainment East of that point.

Externally the structure has no architectural features sufficiently striking to call for notice The interior of the building, however, is fitted up with every regard to comfort and at the same time presents a very ornate and elegant appearance. Indeed, in the matter of decoration, "The Shakespeare" will compare favourably with any similar place of amusement in Scotland.

The Hall in oblong in form, being 67ft. long and 48ft. wide, with a height of 42ft from floor to ceiling. Besides the area, which is divided into stalls and pit, there are two tiers of galleries constructed in the horseshoe shape. The lower of these is apportioned off into balcony stalls and circle, while the upper may be best described as the gallery proper, being entirely devoted to the "gods."

Right - The Poster for the opening night of Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall, Glasgow on Monday October the 10th 1881 - Click to enlarge. The poster is one of a large collection of original Lloyd Posters collected since the mid 1800s by members of the family and found recently after being lost for 50 years. To see all these posters click the Poster Index here...

The principal entrance is in Watson street, and gives access to all the better parts of the house, the seats in which are comfortably cushioned and covered in crimson cloth. A separate door in a lane, which bounds the building on one side, leads to pit and gallery, the latter being reached by a substantial stair. Sitting accommodation is provided for about 2,000 persons in all.

The proscenium is a very pleasing specimen of the Grecian style of architecture. On either side are elegant coupled Corinthian shafts, set upon high paneled stylobates and surmounted by an ornate entablature, on which is inscribed in bold characters the names of the representative poets, Shakespeare, Burns, and Moore.

Over the centre of the proscenium is a large medallion head of the Bard of Avon, and to the right and left of it respectively are heads of Scott and Burns in bas-relief. The fronts of the galleries and the columns supporting them are richly embellished with relieved ornaments in composition, the effect of which is heightened by the judicious use of gold and colours.

The decorations are exceedingly rich and tasteful throughout, and reflect very great credit on Mesers. A. and J. Scott, to whom they were intrusted. On the proscenium and lower parts of the auditorium the prevailing colours are dark crimson and salmon, heavily enriched with gold. The ceiling is broken up into panels, which are very elaborately decorated, the predominating tint being azure blue. Several of the larger panels contain paintings of heads of female Shakespearean characters, including Orphelia, Desdemona, Rossalind, &c. Gold has been freely, but not indiscriminately used, and the general effect is at once warm and artistic in tone, and gives evidence of great good taste in the decorators.

Ample accommodation has been provided in the way of lavatories and ladies cloak and retiring rooms, while on the two principal floors are spacious refreshment-saloons. The most modem means of securing thorough ventilation have been adopted and every cue has been taken to make the arrangements for the comfort and convenience of patrons is complete and satisfactory as possible.

The Hall is brilliantly Illuminated by a large sunlight which depends from the roof, and by numerous gas jets throughout the building. The proscenium opening is 24ft. wide and 26ft. high, and the stage has a depth of 23ft. with a width equal to that of the auditorium. All the arrangements behind the curtain are most complete, and every convenience has been provided for the artists. The dressing rooms are situated at the rear of the stage, and are nicely fitted up. In this part of the building there is also a spacious and comfortable room set apart for the Manager. It is evident that no cost has been spared in erecting the Hall, which is complete in every department, and combines comforts with substantiality and elegance. The outer walls of the edifice are built of stone, and the stairs and staircases are in every instance constructed of the same material. Masers Thomson and Turnball were the architects, and the design does them infinite credit.

In selecting Mr Arthur Lloyd as the Lessee of the Shakespeare, the Proprietors have acted wisely both in their own interest and that of the public. Mr Lloyd is not only a comedian and Manager of wide experience, but there is, perhaps, no place throughout the kingdom in which he enjoys greater popularity than in Glasgow, where he received his education and commenced his successful career as a vocal comedian.

The new house was opened to the public on Monday evening, when a crowded audience assembled to wish Mr Lloyd good luck in his venture, which they did in a manner that can only be described as enthusiastic. An excellent company was engaged for the occasion, and one and all were received with the utmost cordiality. The performers were Mr John Le Clair (juggler), Kennette (gymnast). Mr Edwin Barry (vocalist), Miss Edith Phillis (serio-comic), Miss Emily Fraser (balladist), Mr Walter Thornbury (mimic, &c.), Frank Clark (variety artist), and Mr and Mrs Arthur Lloyd (who appeared in one of their amusing entertainments).

On making their appearance the Lessee and his very talented wife were greeted with an outburst of applause which was nothing short of an ovation. A capital orchestra has been brought together under the baton of Mr D. Butler; and it ought to be mentioned that the auditorium is under the control of the veteran comedian Mr H. F. Lloyd, father of the Lessee. A very pleasing and artistically executed act-drop has been painted by Mr. W. W. Small. The subject is "Burns's Monument and the Auld Brig O' Doon." The stage, is fitted
with some pretty scenery, also from the brush of Mr Small.

Altogether, the opening of Arthur Lloyd's Music Hall was an unqualified success and it can scarcely fail to become one of the most popular resorts in the Second City.'

Above text in quotes is from The Era 15 Oct 1881.

Unfortunately it would appear that Arthur's time at the Shakespeare Music Hall was not the success he had wished for. The venture only lasted 14 weeks and by the early months of the following year Arthur was filing for Bankruptcy, see the cuttings below.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 7, 1882.

The Bankruptcy Act, 1869.
In the London Bankruptcy Court.

In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Arthur Rice Lloyd, of 57, Jeffreys-road, Clapham, in the county of Surrey, Professional Vocalist, late of the Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson-street, in the city of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, Music Hall Lessee, and previously of 296, Essex-road, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Professional Vocalist, formerly of the Queens Theatre, Dublin.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, MARCH 14, 1882.

The Bankruptcy Act, 1869.
In the London Bankruptcy Court.

In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Arthur Rice Lloyd, of 57, Jeffreys-road, Clapham, in the county of Surrey, Professional Vocalist, late of the Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson-street, in the city of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, Music Hall Lessee, and previously of 296, Essex-road, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Professional Vocalist, formerly of the Queens Theatre, Dublin.

Bankruptcy cuttings kindly sent in by John Grice.

The Shakespeare Music Hall should not be confused with the Shakespeare Singing Saloon on the Saltmarket, Glasgow.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.