Rise and fall of Glasgow Empire

Sauchiehall Street's Empire Theatre, seen here from the corner of West Nile Street, was a star attraction.

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The crowd on the near corner, gathered around a Southern Buses billboard, would, today, be standing outside Pret A Manger, while the site of the Empire Buffet, on the opposite corner, is now a Starbucks coffee shop.

Designed by the renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham, the Empire opened its doors to the paying-public in 1897, with a performance by cross-dressing singer Vesta Tilley, who had a big hit with the comic song 'Burlington Bertie'.

Sadly, with the advent of television, the audience for live variety theatre began to fall away and the final curtain came down at the Empire in 1963. It was replaced with offices and shops.

Arts and Entertainment

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