BARROWLAND HISTORY

BARROWLAND HISTORY

SINCE 1934

The Barrowland was built in 1934 by Maggie McIver; the matriarch of a family of nine children, who originally bought the land and established the market for traders and their “Barras”.

The market was covered in 1926 and completely enclosed by 1931. She instructed her builders Hunter and Clark that the ballroom “should not encumber the ground” and it was built on stilts above the market. It was a ‘Palais de Danse’ with a big band and became the venue for the traders’ annual Christmas party.

In 1938, the ballroom was expanded due to its immense popularity. The original rooftop sign featured a man pushing a cart, imported from the USA, and was considered the UK's first animated neon sign. A flashing mechanism created the illusion of spinning wheels.

Following the passing of Maggie McIver, the original structure was tragically consumed by fire on August 19, 1958. In honor of her memory, the McIver family undertook the task of reconstructing the building, which was successfully completed and unveiled on the eve of Christmas in 1960.

Positioned above the staircase upon entering the present building, the only remaining artifact salvaged from the fire is the cartwheel of the original neon sign.

The 1960 building underwent an expansion with the addition of an extra floor. In order to strengthen the structure and adapt it to its new purpose as a rock venue, 18 vertical columns and cross beams were installed in the late 1980s. This modification allowed the building to support the weight of 1900 people jumping in unison on the floor above.

The iconic Barrowland neon sign, which is well-known today, was finished in the year 1985. Delve into the rich history of the Ballroom to uncover fascinating stories from within.