1 TIMES Past has been wallowing in movie memories recently, so it seemed appropriate to focus on one of the city’s cinema giants in History People today. While not born in Glasgow, eccentric millionaire Albert Ernest Pickard made it his home and helped establish its reputation as cinema city.

2 Born in Bradford in Yorkshire in 1874, Pickard settled in Glasgow in 1904, taking over Fell’s American Museum and Waxworks at 101 Trongate when the owner retired. Two years later, he took on the Britannia Music Hall just along the road, renaming it the Britannia Panopticon. It was here that he introduced a zoo and a variety of unusual acts and performers, including a 16-year-old Arthur Stanley Jefferson, eventually known to millions around the world as Stan Laurel. Much to the delight of audiences, Pickard would sit at the top of a ladder at the side of the stage ‘hooking’ acts off the stage – literally, with a long pole – if they were rubbish.

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3 Pickard was a business genius, and gradually he added more and more buildings to his Glasgow empire, including the Clydebank Gaiety Theatre, the White Elephant in Shawlands and the Norwood, near Charing Cross, which he dramatically opened in 1936 by smashing the glass doors with a crowbar. He claimed the only landlord with more properties than him was the Glasgow Corporation.

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4 He loved cars – he had 18 Rolls-Royces – and he adored publicity. In 1950, as the police forces of Britain hunted high and low for Scotland’s stolen Stone of Destiny, Pickard made his own from chicken wire and papier mache and drove around Glasgow claiming he was bringing it back to Scotland.

5 One of his many mansions was Golden Gates on Great Western Road, which is where Glasgow’s greatest showman sadly died in a fire at the age of 90, in 1964.