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Behind the Lens: 16 historic photos of Glasgow, the Cinema City

As the Glasgow Film Festival celebrates the city's heritage as a film-lover's paradise, we take a look back through its picture house archive

Written by
Niki Boyle
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Glasgow's role as a former industrial powerhouse was historically matched by its inhabitants' love of cinema: Glaswegians worked hard, and they played hard. In the 1930s, Glasgow boasted the most cinemas per citizen in the world; in the 1940s, they went to the pictures up to three times a week, at a price of one shilling and five-and-a-half pence a go (just under £2 by today's standards).

This cinephile heritage is celebrated both by Glasgow Film's ongoing Cinema City project, and by the exhibition 'Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars: Glasgow's Love Affair with the Movies', which is being held at the Mitchell Library every day during the Glasgow Film Festival 2015. The exhibition comprises audience memories, archive footage, cinematic artifacts, movie memorabilia, first-hand stories and free talks, not to mention a wealth of photographic material - for a taste of the latter, flick through our gallery of archive images below.

Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars, The Mitchell Library, Thu Feb 12-Sat Feb 28.

The interior of the Glasgow Film Theatre, 1976.

The Western Cinema, Dumbarton Road, c. 1956.
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The Coliseum, Eglinton Street, 1930s.
Norrie Mcnamee

The derelict Coliseum in 1993.
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Bill Maher

Cranston's Cinema De Lux / Classic, Renfield Street, c. 1966.
Chris Doak and Neil C Duff

Cranston's Cinema De Luxe, 1983, and The Regent, Renfield Street, c. 1981.
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The Regal, Sauchiehall Street.
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The Gaumont, Sauchiehall Street, c. 1970.
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SSA

The Regal, in its original incarnation (left), and then as The Regal ABC, both c. 1955.
Chris Doak

The Lyric Theatre, Sauchiehall Street.
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SSA

The ABC2, Sauchiehall Street.
Gould Theatre Collection and Frank Watson

The Salon, Sauchiehall Street, 1914 and the New Savoy Cinema, Hope Street.
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The Cosmo, Rose Street, 1960.

The Cosmo, Rose Street, 1960.
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The Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street, 1976.

The Glasgow Film Theatre during the Glasgow Film Festival 2013.
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