International Athletics had it’s last gathering at The Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on Saturday before it travels out east to the new Scottish International Indoor Arena currently rising in the Dalmarnock skyline next to Celtic Park on the London Road.
Many Glaswegians will remember The Kelvin Hall from their childhoods as the home of the Circus, others will remember fondly looking at the latest gadgets and household appliances at the Modern Homes exhibitions. Before moving along to the SECC the Scottish Motor Show was also a regular visitor to venue.
The American Evangelist Billy Graham preached to over 180,000 in a six weeks residency at the Hall in 1955. A very different crowd would arrive at The Kelvin Hall in 1979 to cheer on Jim Watt as he took on the Columbian Alfredo Pitalua in a World Lightweight Championship title bout.
The Kinks also recorded a live album over two shows on the same day at the Kelvin Hall in April 1967, although never the biggest seller for the Kinks as it was panned by the critics it’s still readily available today and was re-released for CD in 1987. A varied group of artists went on to play the venue in the 70’s including Elton John, Captain Beefheart, Mike Oldfiled, The Incredible String Band, Tangerine Dream and the James Last Orchestra.
But in the late 80’s with many of the attractions moving to the SECC the Kelvin Hall was converted into an indoor sports arena with facilities ranging from an International running track to a climbing wall and five-a-side football courts. The Kelvin Hall became a regular winter event on the International Athletics calendar and one of the few places for Scottish athletics fans to get up close with latest heroes of Team GB. Renowned for it’s good atmosphere and boisterous crowds rather than it’s facilities and decor the hall has seen better days when it took it’s final bow on International Athletics calendar the 29th January 2012.
The Kelvin Hall has survived many changes in the past and only last week it was still hopeful of receiving £5 million of lottery funds to help turn the venue into a safe home for Glasgow’s city and university museum collections.
Mo Farah will take most of the headlines for the final event but special thanks and praise rang out for the Glasgow crowd who lustily cheered on Team GB to victory in an important stepping stone for the athletes to this years Olympics in London. Please find below a selection of photos from the final meet at Glasgow’s