The story of Glasgow's Armadillo which turns 25

In pictures: Glasgow's Armadillo celebrates 25 years of bringing stars to city
In pictures: Glasgow's Armadillo celebrates 25 years of bringing stars to city

IT IS 25 years since the Armadillo – or Glasgow’s SEC’s Clyde Auditorium to give it its proper name – opened its shiny doors on the banks of the river.

Since then, some of the world’s biggest acts have graced its stage, from Dolly Parton and Tom Jones to Blondie, the Sugababes and Bryan Ferry.

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Glasgow Times:

In 1995, our photographer snapped esteemed architect Sir Norman Foster with his models for the new centre.

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Glasgow Times:

Designed by Foster and Partners, construction of the 3000-seat venue started in September 1995, and was completed in August 1997, by which time it had earned its affectionate nickname.

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Glasgow Times:

It has been compared to the Sydney Opera House, but the inspiration for the design in fact came from the Clyde’s shipbuilding heritage – it is based on an interlocking series of ship’s hulls.

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Glasgow Times:

On September 4, 1997, just three days ahead of the official opening, a little girl called Katy Eynon ‘first footed’ the building with her very own toy armadillo. Later that month, around 10,000 people visited for Doors Open Day, the first opportunity the public had to see around the new building.

Country and western star Dolly Parton appeared in November 2002, while Nelly Furtado raised the roof in 2007, Rebecca Ferguson performed in 2012 and Blondie visited in 2005.

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Glasgow Times:

Tom Jones came to the Armadillo in 2006, Bryan Ferry brought his tour to the Armadillo in 2007 and Bay City Roller Les McKeown launched a 1970s interactive charity gig, Blast from the Past II, in 2004.

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Glasgow Times:

The venue has hosted the Scottish BAFTAS – in 2000, Gail Porter was the host – and held the Scottish auditions for Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor (Susan Boyle was discovered here).

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Glasgow Times:

In 2003, tens of thousands of anti-war protesters gathered in front of the building at the end of a march which had started at Glasgow Green.

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Glasgow Times:

During the Commonwealth Games, it hosted the weightlifting competitions.

At Christmas time, it’s panto-tastic with a whole host of stars, like Gary: Tank Commander, lining up to appear on stage.

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Glasgow Times:

What are your favourite memories of the Armadillo?

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Glasgow Times:

Which stars and shows have you seen there? Get in touch with Times Past to share your stories and photos. Email ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.