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The Rising Burgh: 1560 to 1770s

Buildings and Cityscape

Entertainment Buildings

By Eila Williamson

It was only towards the end of the 17th century that purpose-built entertainment buildings began to be built in Glasgow. In 1695 the council agreed that a bowling green be built to the east of Candlerigg Street and north of Bellswynd Street as "necessary for the ornament of the town". It was to be 150 square feet and surrounded with a stone dyke at least two and a half ells (approximately seven feet eight inches) high. Renwick notes a title deed of 1748 which "refers to an adjoining building as a 'litle laigh house where bowllis and jackis lye'".

In 1752 Glasgow's first theatre was a temporary booth which was situated against the wall of the bishop's palace, but it lasted only until 1754. A more substantial theatre was that in Alston Street, Grahamston, near to the present day Central Station, which existed from 1764 until 1780. It was built by the architect and builder, Mr John Adam on land sold by Mr Millar of Westerton.

Entertainments also took place in Daniel Barrell's dance school and ballroom which from 1734 was located on the east side of the High Street, a little below the Bell of the Brae. The Foulis Academy held art exhibitions at times in the College quadrangles (as in 1761 to celebrate the coronation of George III). Other buildings in which entertainments were held were the inns for which, in 1682, the Council sought a licence from the Masters of the Revels to enable them to act as venues for games or plays.

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