Five Glasgow cinemas movie-goers loved in the 80s and 90s

Back then, it had the nickname Cinema City. When Green’s Playhouse – later the famous Apollo music venue – opened its doors in 1927, it was the largest cinema in the UK, with 4254 seats.

A raft of acting and directing talent has hailed from Glasgow over the decades and now, it is a key location for Hollywood directors.

Today in Times Past, we showcase some of the cinemas you will definitely remember if you were going to the movies in Glasgow in the 70s, 80s and 90s….

The Cannon on Sauchiehall Street, pictured here in 1987, must be one of the most re-named cinemas in the city.

It opened as the Regal in 1929, ABC’s flagship cinema in Glasgow, although previously, the building and the wider site had been called the Diorama (1875) showing canvases of historic events, the Panorama (1878), in which the canvases moved, Hubner’s Ice-Skating Palace (1885), the Hippodrome (1896), Hengler’s Circus (1904) and the Waldorf Palais dance hall (1927).

The Classic Cinema in Renfield Street was destroyed by fire in 1981 – our archive picture shows the fire crews on the scene. Its history goes back to the days of Miss Kate Cranston, however, tearoom entrepreneur and Charles Rennie Mackintosh champion.

Glasgow Times: The Classic on Renfield Street in 1981The Classic on Renfield Street in 1981 (Image: Newsquest)

Architect James Miller designed Cranston’s Cinema De Luxe on the third floor of this building in 1916. The Classic Group bought it in 1960 and it specialised in horror, erotica, westerns and cartoons.


In 1992, the Salon Cinema in Hillhead closed its doors without warning. The first the staff knew about it was when they arrived for work in June, 1992, to find they had been sacked and workmen were tearing the seats out.

Glasgow Times: Protest at the Hillhead Salon in 1994Protest at the Hillhead Salon in 1994 (Image: Newsquest)

This small but dedicated band of protestors turned up to make their feelings known, but the building was sold and became a restaurant.

Glasgow Times: The ABC in Muirend, formerly the ToledoThe ABC in Muirend, formerly the Toledo (Image: Newsquest)

On the Southside, the Toledo cinema at Muirend is now a block of flats. It was an ABC cinema until 2001.

And here’s a real blast from the past – the State Cinema in King’s Park, sister movie theatre of the State in Shettleston.

Glasgow Times: State Cinema, 1937State Cinema, 1937 (Image: Newsquest)

Both were designed by Charles J McNair. When it opened on Castlemilk Road in 1937, it was considered state of the art and its façade was lit up by red and blue neon lighting. (It eventually became a bingo hall.)


What was your favourite Glasgow cinema?

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