The original Barrowland Ballroom, Gallowgate, photographed in 1935. The sign over the door, of a man pushing a barrow, was taken down during the Second World War after it was referred to in German propaganda broadcasts by the notorious "Lord Haw-Haw".
The ballroom was opened in the heart of the Barras market by Margaret McIver in 1934. Resident band Billy MacGregor and the Gaybirds entertained large crowds of dancers with music, jokes and stunts. During the Second World War it was especially popular with American servicemen, who introduced the Jive and the Jitterbug to the city's dancers.
The dance hall suffered a disastrous fire in 1958 but was rebuilt and re-opened on Christmas Eve 1960, with the distinctive neon sign above the door which remains its trademark. Barrowland adapted to new dances like the Twist in the 1960s, and hosted the only appearance in Scotland of Bill Haley and his Comets in 1964. Ballroom dancing ended in 1973, but at the beginning of the 21st century it remains the city's premier rock concert venue.
Reference: Glasgow City Archives, D-CA 8/1207
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
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