Archive Record

Collection Inverclyde Archives: Business and Organisational Records
Catalogue Number BG46
Object Name Fonds
Level of description Fonds
Title Greenock Arts Guild, papers
Date 1930-2014
Creator Greenock Arts Guild
Dates of Creation 1930-2014
Scope & Content Contains income and expenditure books, 1930-2001; subscription registers, 1948-1995; lets accounts, 1970-2001; gallery sales account books, 1980-1983; accounts book concerning advertising costs on theatre curtain, 1959-1973; Ernest Boden and Erskine Orr Scholarship accounts, 1969-2007; abstracts of accounts, 1994; Board of Directors minutes, 2003; Directors reports and accounts, 1993-2005; minutes and annual reports, 1951-1953, 1977; front of house statistics, 2008-2014; register of Directors, Managers and Guarantors, 1947-1988; register of life, adult and juvenile members, 1949-1960; Greenock Arts Guild 200 Club membership applications, 1979-1987; list of Greenock Arts Guild Guarantor Members, 1956; list of Greenock Arts Guild Music members, 1947-1948; Gallery and Exhibition Visitor Books, 1959-1977; correspondence concerning the conversion of West End Baths to Theatre and club room; and opening of theatre including list of those who attended opening, 1947-1955; plans concerning Arts Guild Theatre, 1946-1962; programmes, circulars, and posters, 1947-2011; newspaper cuttings albums, 1949-1992; memorandums and articles of association, 1946-1985; Greenock Arts Guild 'Spotlight' newsletters, 1999-2001; photographs, c. 1938-c. 1990; bye-laws for the regulation of Theatres and other places of public amusement enacted by the Corporation of Greenock, 1927; and film reel titled 'Musical No. 1', n.d.

Extent of Description 25 volumes; 44 files; 143 items; 1 reel
Admin/Biographical History Shortly after the Second World War a group of amateurs came together with a view to finding facilities for drama groups to rehearse and stage performances. The derelict West End Baths, built in the 1880s, became available and were felt suitable by the founders of the Guild. They were purchased for £7000 in 1946. This money was raised by loans, donations and subscriptions from members, who at the time totalled sum 2000. The Arts Council provided grant funding for the balance of the price. They converted the building to a 500 seat theatre with rehearsal rooms. Indeed, the deep end of the pool became the stage.

From the membership, a Council was elected to run the Guild on a day to day basis and a Board of Governors was formed, from local businessmen and worthies who had an interest in the Arts, to supervise policy and financial matters. In 1949, the Studio Theatre, which was later known as the Wallace Bennet Theatre, and Gallery opened. The use of this enabled funding the larger theatre which opened in 1955. Additional funding was raised by obtaining donations to purchase seats at £10 and £5 a time. Greenock Corporation, Renfrew County Council and The Arts Council all contributed towards the costs which totalled £24000. This theatre was known as the Arts Guild Theatre.

Over the years, the Guild was the home to about 30 community groups, ranging from music theatre societies and drama clubs to a camera club, speakers' and writers' clubs, numerous dance schools and even a Kumon maths group. Touring professionals played the Guild on a regular basis and some famous faces have also been associated with the Guild over the years - Chic Murray, Duncan McCrae, Dorothy Paul, Elaine C Smith, Peter Morrison and Richard Wilson, to name but a few. The Beacon Arts Centre, opened in January 2013. The Beacon is the replacement for the Greenock Arts Guild Theatre. The Beacon is situated at Customhouse Quay in Greenock and overlooks the River Clyde estuary towards the hills of Argyll and Dunbartonshire.
Search Terms Arts Guild Theatre, Campbell Street, Greenock