Locarno was in step with times

SAUCHIEHALL Street's Locarno Ballroom was the place to be seen in 1938.

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The venue, which opened in 1926 on the site of the old Charing Cross Electric Theatre cinema, was named after the Swiss city of Locarno where, in 1925, a treaty had been signed between the European powers to regard the frontiers of western Europe as permanent, raising false hopes of a lasting peace and an end to European wars.

With its sprung Canadian maple dancefloor, balcony cafe, revolving stage, showgirls and live bands, the venue was a mecca for Glasgow's dancing-mad citizens. In fact, the place was so popular, it even used to run lunchtime dancing sessions.

The venue also proved a magnet for visiting American GIs during the Second World War.

The dancing continued throughout the 1950s, although the moves were more jive and jitterbug than sedate waltzes and foxtrots. By 1962, the venue was showing its age and was revamped, at a cost of £150,00, and renamed Tiffanys. Under that guise it continued to attract big-name pop acts.

Sadly, after a few years as the Zanzi-Bar discotheque in the mid 1980s, the dancing stopped for good when the venue was converted into a casino.

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