Probus enjoy their stay in company of hotel experts
East Kilbride Probus Club enjoyed a talk about The Central Hotel in Glasgow.
President Alan Stevenson introduced the speakers Bill Hicks and Jill Scott, who had both worked as journalists.
The duo were asked to write a history of city icon, The Central Hotel Glasgow, dating from 1883 and they did not realise the wealth of history it contained.
They started off at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and, ultimately, they tracked down one of the original bell boys known as ‘Wee Des’ who had a wealth of stories to tell of the rich and famous.
Also, the Caledonian Railway Association had archives for when it was owned by the Caledonian Railway.
In those early days there was even provision for the guests, who travelled with their own staff, to house the latter in the upper attic rooms.
The Principal Grand Central Hotel is a large four-star hotel in the centre of Glasgow.
The hotel forms the front of the Glasgow Central railway station on Gordon Street.
It was one of Glasgow’s most prestigious hotels in its heyday, hosting residents as famous as Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Winston Churchill and many others.
The world’s first longdistance television pictures were transmitted from the Central Hotel on May 24, 1927 by John Logie Baird.
A fourth-floor bedroom where it all happened has a plaque in honour of this breakthrough.
There was another influx of business in 1938 for people attending the Empire Exhibition held in Bellahouston Park.
In 1934 they welcomed Sophie Tucker – the last of the Red Hot Mommas – and in 1947 Mae West was overseeing the production of her own play ‘Diamond Lil’ at the Alhambra Theatre.
In 1963, Sinatra stayed there as he was appearing at the famous Glasgow Empire.
This ‘grand old lady’ of Glasgow goes on creating more memories and a social history of Glasgow into the 21st century and beyond, wearing its refurbished grandeur with pride.
The vote of thanks was given by Ken Lawton who said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this trip down a personal memory lane.
“As a former hotel management student I was often asked to be a function waiter at the Central Hotel during the early 60s in the last days of grandeur.”
Speakers Ken Lawton, Jill Scott, Bill Hicks and Allan Stevenson after the talk