FAMOUS GALLOWGATE HALL DOOMED But “Ring” May Be Completely Renovated
Old-Time “Geggie,” Pioneer Cinema, And Boxing Mecca
A closing order has been issued for The Ring, Gallowgate, the famous boxing hall. No more contests are to be staged there, and the building may be pulled down within a few months if the order is carried through.
There is regret amongst many East End boxing fans that one of their favourite halls is to be shut down, for The Ring has the rare reputation of always providing a good “bill”.
A Historic Hall The Ring has had an interesting history, closely associated with the fortunes of the Green family, the famous amusement caterers. As a boxing booth it was opened in December 1929, but for some thirty years before that it was about the foremost amusement hall in the East End.
Before the people of Glasgow went “doon the watter” or visited Blackpool or the Isle of Man at the Fair, The Ring was part of Carnival Ground, controlled by the Greens. The Ring was then a “blood” or “geggie” - in other words, it was a variety house - supplying old fashioned dramatic thrillers, with a number of variety turns. Those who appeared in it included names familiar to the older generation - Mrs Ferguson (who starred in “Rob Roy”), Johnnie O’Connor, Burke (a great tragedian of his day), and Mavis Curley and Bob Hill, who also appeared in Green’s building at Bridgeton Cross.
Some years before the War there arose the cinematograph, and, quick to see the possibilities of this new invention, Green’s changed The Ring into a “cine,” and actually made it the second picture house in Scotland. After a number of years The Ring again changed to variety.
This in turn died out, and for some years the building lay empty. In 1929, however, Mr James McOnie, who had been with the Green family for many years and who was manager at the Stadium, suggested that the building could be made suitable for boxing. The proposal was carried out, and Mr McOnie took over control.
During its term as a boxing venue, many top-line boxers have appeared there, including Steve McCall, Jim Maharg, Tommy Spiers, Jack Kilrain, Jim Winters and Bobbie Shields (heavyweight champion of Scotland, who trained at The Ring and was managed by Mr McOnie). Ted (“Kid”) Lewis, former lightweight champion, refereed a fight there two years ago. One of the most fervent supporters of The Ring was Sir Harry Lauder, who was actually present the last night boxing was staged there.
Mr McOnie is one of the personalities of Scottish boxing, but he has also had other interests, notably in the early days of Socialism, when he was an active member of the Catholic Socialist Party. He was an intimate friend of the late Mr Wheatley.
“Ring” May Be Renovated He still holds out hopes that The Ring may reopen for boxing, as he informed a Standard representative this week that plans were being considered to make radical alterations to the building to bring it more into line with the best modern boxing halls.
Glasgow Eastern Standard Saturday, November 11, 1933 A Geggie--Originally a travelling side-show or playlet. Hence 'penny geggie' and thereafter 'shut yer geggie!' (be quiet!)
I remember when I served my time as a mechanic in Fielden street, most of our work came from the meat market. The name of the company I worked for was John Brown & Sons Ltd. who were predominantly meat suppliers in the west/central Scotland area..
They had a few other factories/works, one of which was the gut works in Vinegarhill street. The smell from that place was enough to make anybody sick.
We were occaisonaly sent up there to repair machinery etc. They ran a skip lorry from that factory which was garaged in our building in Fielden street - again the smell!!!!!!!!!!! Felt sorry for the families that lived in the area (Society was one of the streets I think)