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It’s hall gone... but we still have our memories

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FOND memories and sadness have been expressed throughout the community following the recent demolition of the iconic Springburn Halls.

Just before Christmas, council chiefs took emergency steps after an inspection revealed the halls were suffering from significant damage.

In its heyday, crowds flocked to the popular halls for the dancing. It was latterly used as a sports centre before its closure in the mid-1980s.

Members of the Alive and Kicking Centre, in Balornock, shared their memories of the building recently.

Questions have also been asked as to why the halls were allowed to deteriorate into such a state and what will happen to the two female statues at the front of the building.

Margaret Gallagher (92), who lived in Royston, has special memories of the halls.

She said: “My husband Francis was a prisoner of war for four years outside Japan. We were engaged and I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead.

“He was released in 1945 and we had a homecoming party for him in Springburn Halls.

“Why did they let it go to rot?”

Great-grandad John Graham (83) from Milton, added: “Pulling the place down is an absolute disgrace, it was given to the people of Springburn. I was in the Navy and when home on leave went to the dancing.

“To see the building coming down is a shame, I’m really vexed about it. The council allowed it to happen. It lay for years to get worse and worse. It’s ripped the heart out of Springburn. What’s going to happen to the statues?”

See this week’s paper for more on this story.

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THE recent demolition of Springburn Halls has evoked sadness and anger across the community.

Just before Christmas, council chiefs took emergency steps after an inspection revealed the halls were suffering from significant damage.

The landmark B-listed building, which opened in 1902 in Keppochhill Road, has now been reduced to rubble.

In its heyday, crowds flocked to the popular halls for the dancing. It was latterly used as a sports centre before its closure in the mid-1980s.

Interest from developers to refurbish the building fell through.

Members of the Alive and Kicking Centre, in Balornock, shared their memories of the building recently.

Questions have been asked as to why the halls were allowed to deteriorate into such a state and what will happen to the two female statues at the front of the building.

One of them holds a locomotive to represent the area’s main industry of the time.

Margaret Gallagher (92), who lived in Royston, has special memories of the halls.

She said: “My husband Francis was a prisoner of war for four years outside Japan. We were engaged and I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead.

“He was released in 1945 and we had a homecoming party for him in Springburn Halls.

“Why did they let it go to rot?”

Great-grandmother Jean Bell lives in Crichton Street, at the back of the halls.

The 76-year-old said: “I watched them demolish it. Big machines came in and the whole road was blocked off. There were trees growing out the windows.

“There used to be a police station next to the halls.”

Eileen Duncan (80) and her husband Jim (80) regularly went dancing at the halls.

She said: “It was great. All my friends from that time and my sister and brother all went.

“It had a big dance floor and a balcony all the way round.

“It’s quite emotional. I lost my brother and sister and when I passed the halls I thought about happy times.”

Great-grandad John Graham (83) from Milton, added: “Pulling the place down is an absolute disgrace, it was given to the people of Springburn. I was in the Navy and when home on leave went to the dancing.

“To see the building coming down is a shame, I’m really vexed about it. The council allowed it to happen. It lay for years to get worse and worse. It’s ripped the heart out of Springburn. What’s going to happen to the statues?”

Iris Smith (75) recalled: “I went to Springburn Public dancing every Monday when I was 16. I loved it. It was a big part of life. It would be nice to see a wee garden with the statues.”

Iris’ sister Molly Roy (80) added: “I would have liked to see inside of it.”

Anne Kinniburgh (78), from Barmulloch, said: “We used to queue on the Monday and Wednesday and when it opened we dived downstairs to comb our hair before going upstairs. I stayed across the road from the hall. It’s quite sad, it was a good hall.”

Balornock resident Stewart Barclay (80) said: “I used to go dancing at Springburn Public.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard it was coming down. It should have never went to the state it was in. It was a beautiful building. Why was it swept under the carpet so quick?”

The demolition scheme is expected to be completed by the start of next month. Keppochhill Road has re-opened and Millerbank Street was due to re-open at then end of last week.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “There were numerous attempts to market Springburn Halls over the years and find a sustainable use for the building, and despite intermittent interest from developers – prolonged in one case – the building was found not to be viable for development.

“There were measures in place to protect the building, including an inspection regime. Sadly, in the course of the last inspection, the condition of the halls was such that it had to be made safe. Further inspection meant that demolition was necessary.”

He added: “The statues and other stone features have been saved and will be stored pending decisions on their future location.”

The hall is pictured being demolished.

 

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