Lost Glasgow

Fancy stepping inside a piece of lost Glasgow architecture? The George Hotel in Buchanan Street is no longer there, but you may know it better than you think… not least as the setting for bits of Trainspotting. These images were taken by photographer and film-maker Michael Prince.

George Hotel Glasgow

I found the story via a page on Facebook called Lost Glasgow, where you’ll also find this lovely personal take on the place by some-time resident Paul Gallagher.

“Situated at the top of the city’s Buchanan Street, the George Hotel kept its doors open for 162 years of business, offering accommodation to actors, performers, the rich and not so famous. Stan Laurel stayed here when he performed at the city’s Britannia Panopticon Theatre, just before he left for America, as did Cary Grant (then just Archie Leach) and later Joan Crawford. The hotel was known as the “nearest”, for it was handily situated between the main points of entry into the city, and ideally placed for all of Glasgow’s theaters. At one time it had over a 100 staff, including twenty-two chefs in its kitchens.

George Hotel Glasgow

Things change, and by the late nineteen-seventies the George fell in to disuse, and its owner, Peter Fox, a former ballroom champion, let its rooms out to the homeless and unemployed. By the nineteen nineties, the building’s faded grandeur proved an attraction to film-makers and promo directors. It was amongst these rooms that key scenes for Trainspotting (the scenes in the circular hotel room doubled for London, where the drug deal takes place) and The Big Man (Liam Neeson getting his rocks off) were filmed.

George Hotel Glasgow

I lived here, on-and-off, from 1996, moving room-to-room, often as the hotel’s only tenant (apart from Mr Fox), until the George closed its doors in 1998. It was a great place to live, with 4 floors, six unused bars, a large kitchen, smoking rooms, a cocktail lounge, and a dance parlor, where a few club nights were had. After it closed, the interior was demolished and replaced with retail units, like Virgin Records. Where once I laid my head is now pop, and my feet, country and western, which is a shame, as the George should have been Glasgow’s answer to the Chelsea Hotel.”

 Find lots more of Michael Prince’s images of the hotel on his Flickr.

3 Responses to “Lost Glasgow”

  1. Pat
    February 4, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    A walk down memory lane for me. When the new Concert Hall was built at the top of Buchanan Street, they started to smarten that whole corner up and The George bit the dust. I see that there are pledges being made by the government to fund the refurbishment of similar buildings in various British cities, so hopefully this plan will materialise and not prove a mere election promise!

  2. Tanya Frederickson
    February 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    Such a shame it’s now a bunch of units.
    Do you know if any of the interior was saved at all? like the ornate ceilings?

  3. John Young
    July 16, 2017 at 12:37 am #

    I was employed by Peter Fox, off and on. between 1985 -1997. Porter, etc. Mixed emotions.

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