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From the archive: romance at Glasgow's dance halls

Glasgwegians have always been known for their love of dancing - and it was at the dance halls on a Friday and Saturday night that romance blossomed with those famous words, 'Are you dancin'?'

Albert Ballroom in 1962

Glasgow had about a dozen dance halls in the 1920s, more than anywhere else in Britain.

The dance hall tradition remained strong in Glasgow for several decades. In the 1940s and 1950s, venues like the Plaza, the Barrowlands and Green's Playhouse seemed to be at the peak of their powers.

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Glasgow’s first dance hall, the Albert Ballroom on Bath Street, was opened in 1905, and it soon became Scotland’s first ballroom to hold dances six nights a week.

In the 1920s the Locarno Ballroom on Sauchiehall Street was hugely popular for dancing the Charleston. In the 1960s it was reinvented as a discothèque, Tiffany’s, and then became a punk venue in the 1970s for bands like Dead Kennedys and U2.

The Dennistoun Palais was destroyed by fire in 1936 but reopened in 1938 as the biggest dance hall in the city, with a capacity of 1800.

The Palais remained a mecca for dancers until its closure in 1962. It was then converted into a supermarket and the site has now been cleared for flats.

The Barrowlands, the grandest of all Glasgow Dancehalls, was opened in 1934. It was destroyed by fire in 1958 and the completely refurbished venue was opened on Christmas Eve 1960.

With the decline of dancehalls throughout the 1960s and 1970s, The Barrowlands repositioned itself as one of Glasgow's major music venues with legends including David Bowie and Metallica performing on its stage.

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