O2 ABC Glasgow

326 Sauchiehall Street,
Glasgow, G2 3JA

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Related Websites

O2 ABC Glasgow (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, MGM Theatres

Architects: C. 'Jack' Foster, Charles J. McNair

Styles: Art Deco, Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Diorama, Panorama, Ice Skating Palace, Hippodrome, Hengler's Circus, Waldorf Dance Palace, Regal Cinema, ABC, Cannon, MGM

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440844.477.2000

Nearby Theaters

ABC Glasgow

Located in Glasgow city centre. The building has a long history of entertaining the public. It was built and opened in 1875 as the Diorama, became the Panorama in 1888, and altered in 1895 as the Ice Skating Palace, where cinema shows were held from 26th May 1896.

Further alterations in 1904 changed the building to the Hippodrome, used as a circus. It was taken over by Hengler’s Circus later that year. Films were screened out of season. After many years as a successful circus, in 1927, it was converted to the Waldorf Dance Palace.

Taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in 1929, they commissioned architect Charles J. McNair to alter the building into a ‘Super Cinema’. The Regal Cinema was opened on 13th November 1929 with Al Jolson in “The Singing Fool”. Seating was provided for 2,359 in stalls and circle levels. There were three large panels on the splay walls each side of the proscenium, each having painted murals of autumnal scenes. The Regal Cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/12Ranks organ. It also had a large restaurant, for the convenience of its patrons.

When a wide-screen was installed in 1955, the proscenium and side splay-walls were given a modern style makeover. In October 1967, the Regal Cinema was re-named ABC 1, and a new construction was built adjacent on the right-hand side of the building which contained ABC 2 which opened 19th October 1967 with “Far From the Madding Crowd”. This was a 922-seat stadium style cinema, designed by architect C.J. Foster.

In 1979, the original ABC 1 screen was closed for conversion into a four screen cinema, and the complex re-opened as the ABC Film Centre on 13th December 1979. Screen 1 (former circle) seated 970, Screen 2 remained untouched as the 1967 new-build, Screen 3 (former centre stalls) seated 384, Screen 4 (former right stalls) seated 206 and Screen 5 (former left stalls) seated 194.

In 1985, it was taken over by the Cannon Group and re-named Cannon. There was a small fire in October 1992, and the entire complex was refurbished, re-opening in December 1992 as the MGM. It became the ABC again in the mid-1990’s, and was closed on 29th October 1998.

The building stood empty and unused until 2002. It was then converted into a mixed use entertainment building which includes bars, restaurants and a concert venue, known as the O2 ABC.

The O2 ABC suffered extensive damage by a fire on the late evening of 15th June 2018. The roof of the theatre collapsed due to the amount of water being projected onto the fire. The group ‘Foo Fighters GB’ were due to give a concert on 16th June 2018. The 922-seat Screen 2 built in 1967, in use as a Jumpin' Jaks nightclub and a Yates’s Wine Lodge among other uses, survived the blaze.

The fire began in the historic Glasgow School of Art at the rear. Designed in an Art Nouveau style by Charles Rennie Mackintosh from 1899-1907, that category A-Listed building was nearing completion of renovations following damage suffered in a fire on 23rd May 2014.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ian on May 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

A 1993 shot as the MGM cinema here :– GLASGOW ABC

DavidSimpson on December 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm

My scanned photographs were taken in December 1998, when the cinema was fully open.

terry on July 7, 2015 at 12:18 am

Various interior shots have been uploaded to the ‘photos’ section.

terry on July 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Photo uploaded of Gerald Shaw at the Compton organ; he was later to become the resident organist of the Odeon Leicester Square.

Woody_London on June 16, 2018 at 8:32 am

The ABC was destroyed by fire last night along with the School of Art next door according to press, images show the roof has collapsed https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/glasgow-school-art-fire-o2-12719173

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on June 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Remarkably, aerial photographs appear to show the 1967 ABC 2 has survived.

70mmbobbyj on June 16, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Just uploaded a picture of the fire damage.

machineage on May 1, 2020 at 2:12 am

Demolition now imminent: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/o2-abc-demolition-vermin-sewage-18175997

Mike_Blakemore on May 1, 2020 at 11:09 am

For Me. This Theatre had just as much design merit as the School of Art.. Mutter.. Mutter… Mutter.. You can guess what I feel.

dizzydevil on May 18, 2023 at 4:54 pm

From 2018 on the BBC website about the fire and the O2 abc history! And I agree with Mike_blakmore’s comment given its LONG history as part of Glasgow’s landscape (ALSO OF NOTE IT WAS ORIGINALLY BUILT IN 1875 AND WENT THROUGH MANY CHANGES BEFORE) Next door, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s new home for the Glasgow School of Art was under construction, the first half opening in 1899 and the second half in 1909. I mean 143 yrs of exitance only classed a grade C building NOW to be Possibly demolished (news reports from 2020) after this devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Arts ..

we have lost SO MANY CINEMAS ACROSS SCOTLAND, WALES, AND ENGLAND over the yrs to demolition…. all be it if they took on different lives after closing as a cinema and Prolonged their existence be it a bingo hall or night club, etc These days so many historical building (not just cinemas) are being torn down in the name of Progress to be replaced with boxy offices or apartments/housing!


You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.