AN impressive kilt collection, a bright pink panto dame dress and a comedian’s jacket rescued from a skip are all reminders of Glasgow’s theatrical past.

The small-but-beautiful costume collection inside the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archive is a treat.

This week, it welcomed its latest garment, a red and white bolero jacket worn by Scots comedian of yesteryear, Jack Anthony.

The jacket, decorated with silvery brocade, was donated by theatre-lover and businessman Ken Lawton, who found it by accident.

“I was in a local high school, which was due to be demolished, and spotted it hanging on a rail of old show costumes and rags destined for the skip,” explains Ken, who is from East Kilbride.

“The label had the name Jack Anthony written on it, and the date 1945. Jack was a famous comedy actor from the 40s – so it seemed important to stop this little piece of history from being thrown out.”

Jack Anthony was a Scottish comedian popular in concert parties, music hall and pantomimes from the 30s to the 60s.

He was born in Dennistoun in Glasgow, and performed with the Millport Players,

He appeared at the Pavilion in the 30s, 40s and 50s, alongside other well-known names of the time such as Dave Willis and Harry Gordon.

He wore the red bolero jacket – on loan to the Pavilion along with other pantomime costumes, from Edinburgh firm W. Jardine and Sons - in the 1945 panto, Puss in Boots, playing Jackie Bunion, a Spanish Onion.

In 1954, Jack did an 11-week coast to coast tour of America.

Ken, who has been involved in amateur theatre, including East Kilbride Rep and EK Light Opera Club, for most of his adult life, has kept hold of the jacket for many years, but was keen to see it preserved in the RCS archives.

“It deserves to be properly looked after, rather than stuck in my loft,” he smiles. “I’m delighted it has found a safe home here.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archives and collections are a delight – shelves and shelves of musical instruments, manuscripts, memorabilia and more, all stored in the Whisky Bond in Maryhill, under the watchful eye of archives officer Stuart Harris-Logan.

Space is at a premium, so there is not enough room for a full costume archive.

The items of clothing which are there, however, are lovely little reminders of some of Scottish theatre’s greatest acts and supporters.

There are panto outfits worn by Jimmy Logan in the 50s, 60s and 70s, including a bright fuschia dress and a sparkly red sequinned ringmaster’s coat; an impressive collection of kilts won by Scottish singer Kenneth McKellar, famous for bringing in the New Year on the White Heather Club each Hogmanay throughout the late 1950s and 60s, and a blazer and scarf, dating back to the 50s, donated by a former student.

Stuart says: “Clothes and props are iconic – people remember them.

“They add a splash of colour to an archive, which tends to be full of dusty documents and black and white photos.”

Music and fashion were always the passion for Walter Wolfe, the Glasgow-born clothing retailer and patron of the arts who died in 2012.

He was a piano student at the RCS (when it was the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1938) and moved on to become a governor, a trustee and a benefactor.

In 1981, he was awarded a cherished fellowship for his services to the then Academy.

Walter was well known for his dapper dress sense, usually topped with his signature fedora and cravat, and the archive is now home to some of his summer hats which are put on display during the RCS’s annual festival of new music.

“We always put one of his hats on display during the RCS Plug Festival which showcases the works of new composers,” explains Stuart. “He was such a supporter of new music and this way, he is still with us.”

He added: “Glasgow has a rich and varied performance history and items like this have their own story to tell. It’s important we look after these treasures so future generations can know about Jack Anthony, and the many theatres – now gone – in which he used to perform.”

He added: “We are indebted to Mr Lawton for his kind and generous donation.”

Which famous characters do you remember from the theatres and music halls of old Glasgow?

Do you recall visiting the city’s famous pantomimes as a child?

We would love to hear more about your theatre memories - please email or write to:

Thanks for the Memories, c/o Features Desk, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.