The Glen Cinema Disaster
75 years ago Scotland witnessed one of its worst human disasters. On the afternoon of Hogmanay 1929, during a children’s matinee at the Glen Cinema in Paisley, a film reel began to issue thick black smoke from the projection room. The auditorium - packed with 1000 children - filled with smoke. The panicked kids piled up behind the fire exit but couldn’t get out – the collapsible metal gate was locked. The next day, Paisley was stunned by the news that 71 children had been crushed to death in the worst cinema disaster in British history. Unable to deal with the horror of the accident, the Glen and the memories of those who died there were locked away.
In 2005 a team of archaeologists rediscovered the cinema buried behind the walls of a furniture shop in Paisley’s town centre. The town once again remembers the tragic story. As eyewitnesses recall the horror they were told to forget the people of Paisley commemorate the 75th anniversary of the disaster.