Did you know that Glasgow is home to the tallest cinema in the world?

A stone’s throw from the institution that is the GFT, the Cineworld skyscraper on Renfrew Street is considered one of the more modern choices for seeing the latest flicks in the city.

But the site upon which it was built has a rich artistic history.

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Almost 100 years ago, the area was home to Green’s Playhouse, an entertainment complex which included a cinema, ballroom, and tea rooms. The idea was kickstarted by George Green, an apprentice watchmaker from Preston.

Glasgow Times: Green's Playhouse, 1970s.Green's Playhouse, 1970s. (Image: Newsquest)

Green had his own travelling fairground shows, and then established Green’s Film Service, a rental operation which allowed cinema operators to purchase film reels.

The playhouse opened in 1927, 12 years after his death, and claimed to be Europe’s biggest cinema by the number of seats. It closed in 1973 and re-opened as the iconic music venue the Apollo.

Glasgow Times: The Apollo being demolished The Apollo being demolished

Johnny Cash kicked things off in the new venue and in the 15 years it was open, the stage was graced by the likes of AC/DC, ABBA, Blondie, Paul McCartney, and Phil Collins. The final performance was by the Style Council before its demolition in 1987 after a fire deemed the building structurally unsafe.

On the foundations of two Glasgow arts institutions, a new cinema was born. UGC cinema opened in September 2001 and was met with criticism from the architectural community.

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Before its grand opening, the cinema was awarded the Carbuncle of the Year, deemed the ‘ugliest’ building in Scotland in an internet poll. The judges considered it ‘too big’ for Glasgow. Despite the label, the cinema was said to be the UK’s busiest in terms of admissions in 2003.

Cineworld took over in 2005 when UGC sold all their chains, and it has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for its stature. Standing 203 feet tall, the venue sits over 4000 viewers in 18 screens.