SEC Centre

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SEC Centre
Facade of SEC Centre, February 2018
Glass-fronted entrance of venue (c.2018)
AddressExhibition Way
G3 8YW
LocationGlasgow, Scotland, UK
Coordinates55°51′39″N 4°17′17″W / 55.86085°N 4.28812°W / 55.86085; -4.28812Coordinates: 55°51′39″N 4°17′17″W / 55.86085°N 4.28812°W / 55.86085; -4.28812
OwnerSEC Limited
Inaugurated27 November 1985 (1985-11-27)
Opened6 September 1985 (1985-09-06)
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
Construction cost
£36 million
Former names
Scottish Exhibition Centre (planning/construction)
Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (1985–2017)
Banquet/ballroom400 (Loch Suite)
100 (Seminar Suite)
72 (Gala Room)
624 (Lomond Auditorium)
300 (Forth Room)
Theatre seating
10,000 (Concert Hall 4)
5,000 (Concert Hall 3)
Enclosed space
 • Exhibit hall floor23,355 m2 (251,391 sq ft)
 • Breakout/meeting4,431 m2 (47,695 sq ft)
Parking1,600 spaces[1]
Bicycle facilities
18 spaces[2]
Public transit accessExhibition Centre railway station

The SEC Centre (originally known as the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre until 2017) is Scotland's largest exhibition centre, located in Glasgow, Scotland. It is one of the three main venues within the Scottish Event Campus.[3]

Since the opening of the original buildings in 1985, the complex has undergone two major expansions; the first being the SEC Armadillo in 1997, and then the SSE Hydro in 2013. The venue's holding company SEC Limited, is 91% owned by Glasgow City Council and 9% owned by private investors. It is probably best known for hosting concerts, particularly in Hall 4 and Hall 3.

Development history[edit]

The Scottish Development Agency first supported the construction of an exhibition centre in Glasgow in 1979. A site at the former Queen's Dock on the north bank of the Clyde at Finnieston, which had closed to navigation in 1969, was selected.[4][5] Land reclamation works started in 1982 using rubble from the demolished St Enoch railway station. The construction of the SECC buildings began on the site in 1983.[6]

Main Building[edit]

The Main Building was completed and opened in 1985, with a concert by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Hall 1. It later held the Grand International Show in Hall 4 as part of the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival. In 1990, the SECC was one of the hubs of Glasgow's year as European City of Culture.[7]

Upon its opening, the Centre quickly gained its nickname from the local press and thus to general usage, "The Big Red Shed", owing to its outward appearance, which resembled a giant red painted warehouse. The nickname became redundant after the Main Building was expanded and painted grey in 1997.[8]

The SECC occupies 64 acres (260,000 m2) of land – most of which is surface car parking space – and hosts numerous music concerts, exhibitions and professional conferences. The SECC also has its own railway station, Exhibition Centre, on the Argyle Line of Glasgow's suburban railway network. The 16 storey Forum Hotel (now part of the Crowne Plaza chain) was opened on the site in 1989.[9]

In September 1996, a new 5,095 m2 (54,840 sq ft) exhibition hall, Hall 3, was opened.[10]

SEC Armadillo[edit]

The Clyde Auditorium with the main SECC building behind it

In September 1995, construction began on a new building – the Clyde Auditorium – to become part of the SECC complex. Designed by award-winning architect Sir Norman Foster and often called "the armadillo" by Glaswegians, this new 3,000 capacity building was completed in August 1997.[11]

Queens Dock 2 expansion[edit]

In April 2004, the owners SEC Ltd again commissioned Foster and Partners to design a £562 million regeneration of the Queen's Dock area, under the name QD2 – so called as this is the second regeneration of the former Queen's Dock area since the centre's inception. This project incorporated SSE Hydro, a 12,500 seat, £50 million concert arena for the SECC, which opened in September 2013.[12]

Shows and events[edit]

The venue hosted the Eurovision Dance Contest 2008.[13] The SECC hosted the Girls' Day Out Show in 2009, 2010 and 2012.[14] It staged The Scottish Golf Show in 2009 and 2010.[15] The venue annually stages the popular BBC Good Food Show.[16] On 15 November 2015, it played host to Insane Championship Wrestling's biggest show of the year, Fear & Loathing VIII.[17]

It also was the biggest selling show in British wrestling history since Big Daddy fought Giant Haystacks at Wembley Arena in 1981.[18]

The SECC hosted the World Science Fiction convention twice, as Intersection, the 53rd World Science Fiction convention in 1995, and Interaction, the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in 2005 (including the SEC Armadillo). In June 2012, Irish pop band Westlife were honoured with four specially commissioned bar stools (to be a permanent fixture at the venue) to mark 49 performances at the SECC where they entertained over 380,000 fans over the years, selling more tickets than any other act.[19]

NHS Louisa Jordan[edit]

The SEC Centre was planned to host the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference. That conference was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the same pandemic, the SEC Centre has been turned into a COVID-19 critical care hospital under the name NHS Louisa Jordan, and ran by NHS Scotland.[20] Initially (as of April 8, 2020), it will create capacity for 300 beds, with an expansion to over 1,000 if needed.[21]


  1. ^ "SECC Car Park". City Parking (Glasgow). Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Getting to the SECC by Bike". Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  3. ^ "All change as SECC is renamed the Scottish Event Campus". Evening Times. Newsquest Media Group Ltd. 27 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  4. ^ Glasgow Harbour 1932 (Burrell Collection Photo Library) Archived 6 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine, The Glasgow Story
  5. ^ Glasgow, general view, showing Queen's Dock and Yorkhill Hospital. Oblique aerial photograph taken facing north (1934) Archived 3 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Canmore
  6. ^ "The Scottish Exhibition Centre, Queen's Dock, Glasgow". Arthur Lloyd. Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  7. ^ "City of Culture - City of Architecture". The Glasgow Story. Archived from the original on 23 September 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  8. ^ Law, Christopher M. (2002). Urban Tourism: The Visitor Economy and the Growth of Large Cities. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 153. ISBN 978-0826449269. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  9. ^ Cram, Auslan (15 November 1986). "Rifkind under attack from £18m hotel plan". The Glasgow Herald. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  10. ^ "History of the SEC Centre". SEC Centre. Archived from the original on 27 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Clyde Auditorium - The Armadillo". Architecture Glasgow. Archived from the original on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Rod Stewart road-tests Glasgow's SSE Hydro – with bagpipes and balloons". The Guardian. 1 October 2013. Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  13. ^ "The Eurovision Dance Contest Glides Into Glasgow". BBC Press Office. 7 July 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  14. ^ "The Girls' Day Out Show at the SECC in Glasgow". Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011. SECC Events – Girls' Day Out Show
  15. ^ "The Scottish Golf Show at the SECC in Glasgow". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011. SECC Events – The Scottish Golf Show
  16. ^ "BBC Good Food Show". BBC Haymarket Exhibitions. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Insane Championship Wrestling – Fear and Loathing VIII Results 15/11/15". TWM News. 15 November 2015. Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  18. ^ Insane Championship Wrestling - ICW (20 October 2015). "ICW Sells Out the SECC". Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2015 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ Scottish tribute to Westlife's signature bar stool move Archived 28 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Evening Standard, 20 June 2012
  20. ^ Dennis, Brady; Mooney, Chris; change; energy (1 April 2020). "Amid pandemic, U.N. cancels global climate conference". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  21. ^ "NHS Louisa Jordan". Scottish Government News. Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Television Centre
Eurovision Dance Contest

Succeeded by
Heydar Aliyev Sports and Concert Complex