BACK in the day, dancehall managers in Glasgow were accustomed to male customers telling them, with a trace of

pride and nostalgia, “I met my wife in here”. Such was the age of the Albert ballroom, however, that the customer was more likely to say, “my grandad met my granny in here”.

The Albert, on Bath Street, had been opened as a dancing academy by John Warren in 1905 and 20 years later it was transformed into a modern dance palais.

In April 1957 the Albert was being run by the founder’s sons, Alex and John. Two halls had been opened downstairs in the post-war years to cope with the Saturday-night crush of patrons. The main dancehall, upstairs, remained very busy.

A visiting Evening Times writer hazarded some reasons for the hall’s enduring popularity: “Maybe because of the surroundings, which include tables for two overlooked by Cupid-like cherubim in stained-glass windows; maybe the strict tempo of Jack Britton’s orchestra; or, most likely, that there’s a wider selection of partners there”.

The length of the queues on Saturday nights was remarkable, and not just simply at the Albert. Other dancehalls reported the same degree of interest. The people waiting to get into the Albert snaked past the City Temple (where they were serenaded by a church band), past Bath Lane, and down to the High School.

To defeat this, the venue had tried selling tickets in advance, but the scheme backfired, with regular customers complaining of being left in the queue while “strangers” walked in.

“We just don’t know the answer”, said John Warren, while making the point that such queues weren’t new – they were a common feature even on the enrolment night of the dance classes, back in the Twenties.

The Albert – pictured here in 1957 – lasted until 1974, when the building was destroyed in a blaze.

* Tomorrow: Dance-hall band leader Jack Chapman.