Kelvin Hall: A Glasgow Landmark – Highlights Through History

Computing has been a beloved life for generations in Glasgow. Over the past century, two different Kelvin Hall buildings have stood on the same site in the west of the city.

The first opened in 1918 for the purpose of hosting exhibitions and entertainment. This building was destroyed by fire in 1925 and a stately replacement was built soon after – a real phoenix rising from the ashes.

Kelvin Hall, as we know it today, opened in 1927 and has played a prominent role in Glasgow’s cultural heritage since then. Here are some important points.

Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in 1950. Photo: Newsquest

Prestigious exhibitions

Originally, Kelvin Hall housed large-scale national and international exhibitions, such as the Glasgow Civic and Empire Exhibition in 1931 and the Century of Progress Exhibition in 1935. During World War II the building was turned into a factory . for barrage and convoy balloons.

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A place in the history books

After the war, Kelvin Hall hosted the 1951 Festival of Britain, auto shows, modern house exhibitions, world boxing championships, as well as concerts by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John and The Kinks. In 1955, American superstar evangelist Billy Graham preached there to crowded crowds as part of his six-week crusade in Scotland.

HeraldScotland: Crowds await American evangelist Billy Graham at Kelvin Hall in 1955. Photo: NewsquestCrowds await American evangelist Billy Graham at Kelvin Hall in 1955. Photo: Newsquest

All the fun of the fair

Many people will have fond memories of when the carnival and circus came to town and took up residence in Kelvin Hall. A dizzying whirlwind of sights, sounds and smells – whether it’s a little spin on the waltzers, winning over a shy coconut goldfish or the pungent stench of elephant dung that often floated in the sky. air. The renovation of the building in the 1980s marked the end of this era.

HeraldScotland: High octane scenes from the annual carnival at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.  Image: NewsquestHigh octane scenes from the annual carnival at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Image: Newsquest

Wheels of Fortune

The Transport Museum moved to Kelvin Hall in Pollokshields in 1987 (it expanded again in 2011 when the Riverside Museum, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, opened). But, for those who grew up from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, or had children of their own during that time, the building will always be synonymous with cars, streetcars, and life on the fast lane.

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Sport legends

Olympic champions Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Mo Farah, along with Scottish stars such as Liz McColgan-Nuttall and Laura Muir, are among the greats to have graced the track at Kelvin Hall during her tenure as an international athlete in room. place. The arena has also hosted world-class gymnastics, with the Glasgow Grand Prix and World Cup taking place over several years.

James C. Tibbs