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This building is in the Glasgow Council and the Glasgow Burgh. It is a category A building and was listed on 15/12/1970.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NS 5811 6587.


Frank Matcham, 1903-04. Edwardian Baroque. Important theatre with outstanding interior. Polished red sandstone ashlar.

BATH STREET ELEVATION: 7 irregular bays with curving lower domed angle bay to Elmbank Street. Wide 2nd and 5th bays, flanked by broad channelled pilasters with medallions. Entrance in 2nd bay, dummy entrance in 5th; semi-circular arches above with recessed windows; shallow bowed and pilastered arched tripartite windows above capped with balustrade; bold, ball finials over pilasters; recessed pediments behind main body of theatre. Entrance bays flanked by narrow bays. 2 central bays with large recessed, multi-pane 1st floor windows and curved balconies; parapet with urns.

ELMBANK STREET ELEVATION: asymmetrical. 3 bays to left balanced with central pedimented bay, 2 arched openings in flanking bays at 2nd floor with recessed windows with balconies.

Variety of multi-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows and timber fixed pane and casement windows.

INTERIOR: foyer: marble lined, coffered barrel-vaulted ceiling, pilasters to stairway, balcony with caryatids. Auditorium: highly elaborate Baroque decoration in fibrous plaster by McGilvray & Ferris. 3 tiers of horseshoe balconies, 2 boxed to ground circle on each side with banded columns and pediments, one box in tier above, 3 shell niches to each side in upper tier; proscenium arch with escutcheon and cherubim. 12-panelled ceiling.


The King's Theatre opened on 12 September 1904 at a cost of around £50,000 and it is an important example of an Edwardian theatre by the renowned theatre architect, Frank Matcham. It was commissioned by the famous theatre owning and production company, Howard & Wyndham Ltd. It remains largely intact and it is one of the finest examples of a Matcham theatre in Scotland. The imposing street elevation was designed to attract an audience and was built in high quality materials in a style compatible with any large civic building now that in the Edwardian period theatregoing was a respectable entertainment. Comfort for the audience was a priority as was maximising audience numbers. At the King's in Glasgow there is a lavish marble lined entrance foyer with a barrel-vaulted coffered ceiling and this leads onto the highly decorative auditorium. The plasterwork in the auditorium is modelled in fibrous plaster, a Matcham speciality which allowed for more sculptural three dimensional forms to be created. The three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies are cutting edge in their cantilevered construction method as this allowed for an unobstructed view of the stage and also created more space for paying customers. When built the King's had seating capacity for 1841. Buildings of Scotland notes that the Adam-style ceilings on the Grand Circle staircase and in its crush bar date from 1914 and are by William Beattie Brown, Howard & Wyndham's architect. The King's Theatre was sold by Howard & Wyndham in 1967 to the then Glasgow Corporation. Today it is managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group and it remains in the ownership of Glasgow City Council. A programme of refurbishment and restoration is currently underway. Frank Matcham (1854-1920) was born in Devon and began his architectural career in Torquay. In the mid 1870s he moved to London and worked for the theatre architect Jethro Thomas Robinson. In 1877 he married Robinson's younger daughter and on the death of Robinson in 1878 he inherited his practice when still in his mid-20s. He built up the largest theatre practice in Britain and was an instrumental figure in the surge of theatre-building at the turn of the 20th century. Arguably one of the greatest and most influential theatre designers of his age, he was able to work in a variety of styles and had a particular interest in highly decorative interiors. References from previous list description: B Aug 29, 1903; B Aug 17, 1904; ed Brian Walker Frank Matcham, Theatre Architect, 1980 pp 145-6. List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.


3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1908-11); Williamson et al, The Buildings of Scotland - Glasgow (1990) p208; Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999) pp117-121. The Theatres Trust www.theatrestrust.org.uk (accessed 16 March 2009).

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).