Times puts new library in picture

A NUMBER of famous faces have pride of place in a new Glasgow library – thanks to the Evening Times.

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The revamped Olympia building includes the Times Past cafe and office space as well as the library
The revamped Olympia building includes the Times Past cafe and office space as well as the library

The facility in the Olympia Building, Bridgeton, opened today and features a Times Past cafe with photographs from our archives.

They include pictures of acting stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn, singer Frank Sinatra and magician Harry Houdini on visits to Glasgow.

The library has an extensive range of books, newspapers and magazines, 32 computers, online learning, community room and a children's area.

It will also run computer courses and reader development programmes.

The Olympia has had a £10million refurbishment and will house a new boxing gym, which will be in full use by Amateur Boxing Scotland early next year.

The building first opened to the public in 1911 as a variety theatre, before becoming a cinema and, in later life, a bingo hall and furniture showroom.

It closed in the 1990s and was damaged in a fire in 2004 before being bought by regeneration agency Clyde Gateway.

Archie Graham, chairman of Glasgow Life, which runs the city's lesiure facilities, said: "The new library will deliver more services for and on behalf of local people than ever before.

"New life has been breathed into the Olympia, which has recovered all its former glory. The library will ensure it will play a vital role in the life of Bridgeton for many generations to come."

George Redmond, vice-chairman of Clyde Gateway, added: "There is an incredible transformation across the whole area, but I have no doubt this £10million investment to bring the Olympia back into use is one that has got local people most excited.

"The fantastic new library has the best of everything and I have no doubt it is going to be very popular with residents of all ages."

Grace Donald, 87, who has lived in Bridgeton all her life, said the Olympia had always been special to her.

She added: "I spent many a happy time there on nights out at the cinema with my husband and children.

"I was upset when it closed its doors all those years ago – it was a real low point in Bridgeton's history.

"I never dreamed I would ever get back inside the building and it is a big thrill to see what Clyde Gateway and Glasgow Life have done.

"I have lived here all my life and I know Bridgeton has never looked better."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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