Basic Site Details

Name: Royalty Theatre and Commercial Premises
City or county: Glasgow
Country: Scotland
Status: Demolished
Grid ref:
Notes: Arrangements have been completed for the erection of a new theatre in Glasgow at the corner of Sauchiehall and Renfield - streets, by a limited liability company, at a cost of £20,000. The theatre will be Franco-Italian in style, and will accommodate 2, 000 persons. It will be 109ft. long, 56ft. wide, and 43ft high, and will be provided with a balcony and gallery. [Building News 2 May 1879 page 494]

Glasgow. —Mr. Frank Matcham, Rugby chambers, Bedford-row, W.C., having been commissioned by the Central Halls Company (Limited) to submit designs for the erection of a new theatre in Sauchiehall-street, has been appointed architect, and the building is now in course of construction. The principal entrance (through the grand hall and staircase) is in Sauchiehall-street, with minor approaches and exits in Renfield and Renfrew-streets. The auditorium consists of orchestra-stalls, pit-stalls, and pit on the ground-floor, with dress-circle and boxes above, and balcony and gallery over all. In addition to these the architect provides spacious crush-rooms, ladies' and gentlemen's retiring rooms, arranged in a most convenient manner, together with smoking-saloon and refreshment buffets in direct communication with all parts of the house, and at the same time kept strictly private. The theatre will be fitted up with aU the most modem improvements and comforts (special attention having been paid to insure ventilation), and the whole design has been most carefully considered with respect to providing ample exits for any emergency by a sudden panic.[Building News 30 May 1879 page 618]

Glasgow.—With reference to the notice of the "New Theatre, Glasgow," which appeared m our issue of the 31st May, we are requested to state that besides the theatre large shops and warehouses are in course of erection for the Central Halls Company (Limited), from the designs of M. James Thomson, I.A., St. Vincent -street, Glasgow, the whole of the works being executed under his superintendence. About one third of the whole building was at first reserved for a large hall, committee rooms, etc. The space reserved for the theatre (about one -third) was at first designed to contain large halls and committee rooms. Sec, but when the directors of the company resolved to have a theatre, Mr. Frank Matcham having had large experience in designing and constructing theatres, was engaged to prepare designs and to be consulting architect for this portion of the building. [Building News 4 July 1879 p27]

Glasgow.—The building of the new Central Theatre, Glasgow, is progressing rapidly. In the Italian style, the building when completed will be four stories in height, with basements and attics in addition. There is a frontage of 144 feet to Sauchiehall-street, 90 feet to Renfield Street, and 145 feet to Renfrew-lane. The height of the building above the foot pavement to the top of the balustrade which finishes the front elevations will be about 66 feet The elevation of the street or shop story, loft, in height, consists of iron standards and massive stone piers, while those at the main entrance are of polished Peterhead granite, and have moulded bases and caps, which are surmounted by a frieze and cornice. When first designed the building was to have had a large hall, extending behind the shops to Renfrew-lane, but after the burning of the Theatre-Royal overtures were made to the directors to convert this part of the block into a theatre. The directors, after a careful consideration of the subject, resolved on the construction of a theatre instead of the larger hall first intended, and, with the view of taking advantage of all the most modem improvements in the construction and arrangement of such buildings, commissioned Mr. Frank Matcham, of London, to arrange the interior of the intended theatre and its adjuncts, in conjunction with their own architect, Mr. James Thomson, I.A., St. Vincent Street, under whose superintendence the whole works are being executed. The theatre will accommodate about 2,000 persons. [Building News 18 July 1879 page 79]

The 1885 reconstruction of the theatre consisted of a reduction in the seating from 2000 to 1432 and an upgrading of facilities and decoration for Howard and Wyndham who had taken over the theatre in 1884. Baird and Thomson designed the commercial building within which the theatre was designed -144 foot façade on Sauchiehall Street, 96 foot on Renfield Street.

Messrs Shaw and Campbell 130 Paton-street Glasgow have secured the contract for the reconstruction and additions to the Lyric Theatre. Messrs Stewart and Paterson, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow are the architects. [Builder 23 August 1935 Page 338]

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 3Lyric Picture Palace Name from 1913
Item 2 of 3Lyric Theatre From 1919
Item 3 of 3YMCA Lyric Buildings and Hostel for Sodliers and Sailors From 1916

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Theatre  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 2Renfield StreetYes 
Item 2 of 2Sauchiehall StreetYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 618791880  
Item 2 of 624 December 1879  Theatre opened
Item 3 of 61885  Reconstruction
Item 4 of 61933 Alteration/conversionReconstruction
Item 5 of 61953  Burnt
Item 6 of 61959 Demolition 


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 7Baird & Thomson A18791880Designed complex of commercial premises comprising offices and warehouses over shops.
Item 2 of 7James Thomson A18791880Designed complex of commercial premises comprising offices and warehouses over shops.
Item 3 of 7Frank Matcham B1879 Designed theatre
Item 4 of 7Andrew Eadie B1885 Executant architect for Matcham, supervised 1885 reconstruction
Item 5 of 7John Stewart A1933 Reconstruction
Item 6 of 7George Andrew Paterson C1933 Reconstruction
Item 7 of 7Stewart & Paterson C1933 Reconstruction


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 5Central Halls CoThomson's client
Item 2 of 5Glasgow United YMCA Client 1916
Item 3 of 5Howard & Wyndham LtdClient 1895
Item 4 of 5Howard, Mr and Wyndham, MrClients for reconstruction, took over theatre in 1884.
Item 5 of 5Knapp, Edward LOriginal lessee of theatre


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 4Peter, Bruce1999Scotland's Splendid Theatres: Architecture and Social History from the Reformation to the Present Day Edinburgh: Polygon (an imprint of Edinburgh University Press Ltd)pp97-99
Item 2 of 4Smith, Graeme2008The Theatre Royal: entertaining a Nation Glasgow Publications 
Item 3 of 4Walker, Brian Frank Matcham Theatre Architect  pp6,7, 158
Item 4 of 4Worsdall, Frank1981The City that Disappeared Glasgow: The Molendinar Pressp148-49

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Architect and Building News1933Jul-Dec p229, 231
Item 2 of 7Builder23 August 1935  p338
Item 3 of 7Building News2 May 1879  p494
Item 4 of 7Building News30 May 1879  p618
Item 5 of 7Building News4 July 1879  p27
Item 6 of 7Building News18 July 1879  p79
Item 7 of 7Building News7 August 1885   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of Neil DarlingtonInformation sent via DSA website Sent June 2009