Kelvin Hall

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The Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the largest exhibition centres in Britain and now a mixed-use arts and sports venue that opened as an exhibition venue in 1927. It has also been used as a concert hall, indoor sports arena and barrage balloon factory, and is currently home to the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena and from 1987 to 2010, Glasgow's Museum of Transport. As part of the economic redevelopment of Greater Glasgow promoted by the Scottish Development Agency and local authorities to enhance the city`s tourist infrastucture and to attract further national and international conferences the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre was designed as the Hall`s successor, built and opened on the nearby Queen`s Dock in 1985 with an exhibition area equal in size to the Kelvin Hall but with the benefit of extensive car parks and land for other complementary buildings. It is protected as a category B listed building,[1] and is served by Kelvinhall subway station.

As of 2014, all active sporting facilities have been temporarily suspended for a redevelopment scheduled to conclude in 2016.[2] In the meantime, the building has served as the Uniform and Accreditation Centre for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, providing a 70,000 workforce with uniforms and photo identification.[3]

Kelvin Hall


The Kelvin Hall stands on the banks of the River Kelvin opposite the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the West End of Glasgow. The present building dates from 1927. Its predecessor on the site, the Industrial Hall, a temporary wooden structure built for the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition at Kelvingrove Park, was destroyed by fire in 1925. The new Kelvin Hall was designed to house large-scale exhibitions. During the Second World War, it was converted into a factory for barrage and convoy balloons.

The building has housed major concerts, trade and medical conferences, Scottish industrial exhibitions, the British industrial exhibitions of the 1951 Festival of Britain, motor shows, modern homes exhibitions, civic and sporting rallies, world championship boxing, rock concerts, several seasons of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's Proms and the annual Kelvin Hall Circus and Carnivals (1920s to 1980s) with lions, tigers and African elephants. At the 1955 Billy Graham Crusade, Graham preached daily for 6 weeks to an estimated aggregate congregation of 180,000. Jim Watt's famous world lightweight-title fight took place in April 1979 when he took over Roberto Duran's title. He subsequently fought three more times as world champion at the Kelvin Hall in 1979 and 1980.

The earliest rock concert was possibly that of Jerry Lee Lewis in 1964. He was supported by The Animals, who were booed off. Lewis also played at the venue on 23 April 1972. Ella Fitzgerald and the Count Basie Orchestra also played at the Kelvin Hall. The late 1960s and the 1970s were the key years for concerts including The Kinks, who issued a live recording of their 2 April 1967 date entitled Live at Kelvin Hall. Between 1972 and 1977 Glaswegians saw Manitas de Plata's Farewell Tour on 8 March 1972, Elton John, Yes on 5 September 1972, Captain Beefheart, Richie Havens, The New Seekers, Johnny Mathis on 7 September 1973, Runrig's debut concert (in 1973), The Incredible String Band, the James Last Orchestra. As part of their 1974 British Tour, Tangerine Dream played a live concert on 20 November 1974. Mike Oldfield with the (then) Scottish National Orchestra played Tubular Bells on 5 September 1975. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra Proms took place there up to 1990, when the new Concert Hall opened in the city centre.

Former Museum of Transport[edit]

The Glasgow Museum of Transport was located in the Kelvin Hall from 1987 to 2010, attracting up to 500,000 annual visitors to its many exhibits of national and international importance. It was relocated to the Riverside Museum building at Glasgow Harbour in June 2011.[4]

International sports arena[edit]

The international sports arena has hosted international athletic events, boxing, badminton and volleyball competitions. The Scottish Rocks professional basketball team was based there for four years from the 2008-09 BBL season to the 2011-12 season, after which the team moved to the Commonwealth Arena.


  1. ^ "Kelvin Hall: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Glasgow Club Kelvin Hall: Temporary Closure of Sports Provision". Glasgow Life. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Inside Accreditation - Glasgow 2014 - Commonwealth Games". Glasgow 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Riverside Museum at Clyde Waterfront, 2011

Coordinates: 55°52′6.58″N 4°17′38.56″W / 55.8684944°N 4.2940444°W / 55.8684944; -4.2940444