THE black and white photograph captures a great Glasgow moment.

A dozen Dennistoun Palais dancers, fresh-faced and bright-eyed, are taking a break from the floor to grab a drink and pose for the camera.

In the middle are teenager Mary Sneddon and her soon-to-be-husband Duncan MacGillivray, immaculately dressed and neatly coiffured, smiling at the camera.

The photograph is decades old and it brought back a rush of memories for Mary’s sister Helen McKale, when she spotted it in the Evening Times.

“It was lovely to see their faces again,” smiles Helen, 76, one of dozens of visitors to our first Thanks for the Memories drop-in event of 2018, held at Dennistoun Library last Tuesday.

“Mary was a fine-looking girl, and she loved to dance. I was too young to go with her to the Palais, so I used to watch her get ready, putting on her beautiful dresses and doing her long hair.”

Helen adds, sadly: “Mary died in 2007, after suffering a stroke. I miss her, and our other late sister Betty, very much.

“Duncan died in a tragic car accident in Dunoon a few years later, it was really heartbreaking for all our family.”

Helen, Mary and Betty grew up in Dennistoun with their mother, who was a weaver, and father, who was a watchman.

“It was a great place to live, and I remember the shops, the cinemas – we used to go down to the Three Ps (Parkhead Picture Palace) all the time,” smiles Helen.

But it was the Denny Palais, Dennistoun’s famous dance hall, that sparked the most memories for Helen, and for many of our visitors, who came along to share their stories and photographs.

Dashing trio John Brown, David Roy and Frank Cahill all have fond memories of “dancing and drinking” with their sweethearts in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Frank, 77, recalls the “Brylcreemed boys and the girls with their Twiggy haircuts” of the 1960s.

“You had to have a proper suit, from City Tailors on the Trongate, just like the Italian suits Francie and Josie wore,” he grins.

“And the ties – they had to be thin. But they were expensive. So I’d buy a normal tie from Woolworths and my sister Josie would make it thinner.”

David agrees: “Most of my misspent youth took place at the Palais! It was a beautiful dance hall, one of the best.

“The lassies would stand at one side, us idiots on the other, and you’d go up and ask for a dance. Sometimes, it was good to walk in with a lassie though, because you could smuggle your carry-out in to the hall in her handbag.

“There was no drink served in the dance hall, just Kia-Ora and milk!”

John, 88, recalls the band leaders. “You’d go during the week to listen to records, but at the weekends, it was the band. Laurie Blandford, Jack Anderson, all the big names of the time.

“It shut at one o’clock in the morning every other night, but 11.30pm on a Saturday – because you had kirk in the morning…”

John, a retired fire salvage officer, grew up on Duke Street with his dad Robert, a dairy foreman, and mum Isa, a housewife, and his younger sister Ruby.

“I loved my childhood here,” he says. “I went to Golfhill and Whitehill schools – you could only get to Whitehill if you learned a language – and joined the air force in 1947, where I was a flight engineer for two years.

“Most of my time was spent in the church, running BB groups, and I have lots of happy memories.”

John recalls his time as skipper of the BB group inside Mossbank Approved School.

“I remember we took a bunch of them all to the Kelvin Hall to see the circus,” he says. “We took them on a tram car and once we returned to the school, the head teacher asked them to turn out their pockets.

“There were enough fag ends, picked up from the floor of the tram car, to stock Wills’ tobacco factory!”

David recalls the private baths in Dennistoun. “There were only four in Europe,” he nods. “There was a bandstand in Alexandra Park, where all the good acts came – magicians, music, Billy Dainty,you name it. There was always something to do in Dennistoun.”

Which brings the conversation back to where we started, at the much-missed Palais.

“I can still remember it to this day,” smiles Helen McKale. “It was a happy time for us all, growing up here. Seeing the picture of Mary and Duncan makes me wish they were here right now. I want to ask them about it, and listen to their stories, all over again.”

Visit for more images and look out for our next Thanks for the Memories event soon.