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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 22/03/1977


  • Local Authority: Glasgow
  • Planning Authority: Glasgow
  • Burgh: Glasgow

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNS 58905 65981
  • Coordinates258905, 665981


George Bell, 1867; burnt down 1879, restoration after fire by Charles J Phipps, 1880. Further fire, also rebuilt by Phipps, 1895, in similar scheme to previous one; altered James Miller 1901; restored and new foyer Derek Sugden of Arup Associates 1974-5. 2 and 3 storeys. Plain 24-bay facade, taller auditorium buildings to rear, central entrance bays in 3-bay section. Painted ashlar.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 3 double-leaf panelled and glazed doors; 1st floor 3-bay arcade with central granite shafted columns, continuous moulded impost band, flanked by pilasters rising to segmental pediment. Above, narrower 3 bays topped by later pediment. Cast-iron porch with glazed pavilions to entrance bays and to stage door.

Variety of glazing patterns. Predominantly timber sash and case plate glass windows with horns, some 4-pane over 4-pane. Slate roofs.

INTERIOR: auditorium with 3 tiers of balconies, the first with a serpentine front and those above horseshoe-shaped, all with highly decorative delicate strapwork and rococo gilded plasterwork. Some cast iron columns removed and cantilevers inserted. Stage boxes divided by giant Corinthian columns. Rectangular proscenium with elliptically arched tympanum. Domed circular ceiling with decorative plasterwork. Grand staircase with elaborate plasterwork, pilastered landings and round-arched openings. Cast-iron balusters.

Statement of Special Interest

The Theatre Royal in Hope Street is an important survivor and has an exceptional auditorium with fine plasterwork. It has a complex history. The first theatre on the site, the Royal Colluseum, was built in 1867 by the architectural practice of Clarke & Bell and by 1869 it was named the Theatre Royal. A fire in 1879 destroyed the interior and the building was rebuilt in 1880 by the celebrated theatre architect, C J Phipps reusing the surviving exterior walls. This rebuilding also burnt down only fifteen years later but was reconstructed by Phipps largely to his previous design.

The auditorium had its main entrance on Cowcaddens Road until 1903. A tower with a dome originally stood over the entrance.

It was converted to television studios in the 1950s and suffered a further fire in 1970. Derek Sugden of Arup Associates renovated the theatre as an opera house in 1974-5 and it continues today as the home of Scottish Opera as well as hosting a variety of other types of productions. The magnificent auditorium with its delicate strapwork and rococo-style plasterwork has been carefully restored.

Charles John Phipps (1835-1897) was born in Bath and began his practice there before shortly moving to London where he remained based for the rest of his career. He is likely to have studied theatre design on the continent as part of his training and he became best known for his theatre commissions. A catastrophic fire at his Theatre Royal in Exeter in 1887 where around 150 people lost their lives damaged his career in later life.

References from previous list description: Information by courtesy of Buildings of Scotland Research Unit; Gomme and Walker, 1987 (ed); S. R. Archives, D of G 1/3770, 1/8341.

List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.



2nd edition Ordnance Survey map (1892-7); Williamson et al, The Buildings of Scotland - Glasgow (1990) pp208-09. Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999) pp80-86. The Theatres Trust (accessed 16 March 2009).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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