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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

By Niki Boyle |

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.

Glasgow Film Theatre int

The interior of the Glasgow Film Theatre, 1976.

2 Partick Cross cinema city

The Western Cinema, Dumbarton Road, c. 1956.

3 Coliseum Picture House, Eglinton Street, Gorbals

The Coliseum, Eglinton Street, 1930s.

4 Coliseum 1993
Norrie Mcnamee

The derelict Coliseum in 1993.

5 Cranston's Cinema Deluxe Classic
Bill Maher

Cranston's Cinema De Lux / Classic, Renfield Street, c. 1966.

Cranston's Cinema Deluxe 1983 and The Regent
Chris Doak and Neil C Duff

Cranston's Cinema De Luxe, 1983, and The Regent, Renfield Street, c. 1981.

7 The regal

The Regal, Sauchiehall Street.

8 The Picture House Gaumont

The Gaumont, Sauchiehall Street, c. 1970.

9 The Regal

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

10 The Lyric
Chris Doak

The Lyric Theatre, Sauchiehall Street.

11 ABC2

The ABC2, Sauchiehall Street.

12 The Salon and New Savoy Picturehouse
Gould Theatre Collection and Frank Watson

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

13 Cosmo jazz 1960 1

The Cosmo, Rose Street, 1960.

14 Cosmo Jazz 1960 2

The Cosmo, Rose Street, 1960.

15 GFT ext 1976

The Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street, 1976.

16 gft 2013

The Glasgow Film Theatre during the Glasgow Film Festival 2013.