It was the afternoon of Hogmanay 1929. Seven-year old Robert Pope and his friends headed for Paisley’s Glen Cinema. It was a regular treat which Robert funded himself by selling empty jelly jars. That winters day they were looking forward to the latest instalment of their favourite Western.
The cinema (opened in 1901), known as ‘The Glen’ and ‘The Royal Animated Pictures’ once formed part of the Good Templar Halls (now occupied by Burton’s shop). On the afternoon of 31 December 1929, during a children’s matinee, a freshly shown film put in its metal box in the spool room began to issue thick black smoke.
Names of those lost that day
On 31st December 1929 one of Paisley’s saddest chapters in the Town’s history took place in the Glen Cinema.
At an afternoon show, a cannister of film started to smoulder, causing smoke to enter the main cinema. In the panic to leave the cinema 70 children perished, crushed in their desperate attempts to get out.
Hundreds of children packed into the Glen Cinema in Paisley 90 years ago today.
They were there for a Hogmanay screening of the Western movie Dude Desperado.
But many of them never returned home.
As the film neared its end, a film canister started to smoulder and smoke billowed into the auditorium, sparking fears of a fire.