Piano Showroom (Former), 520, Sauchiehall Street, City Centre

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Piano Showroom (Former)
Other Name(s)
520, Sauchiehall Street, City Centre
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 58062 66017
Location Type
HS Reference No


Late 19th century multi-period, possibly with earlier fabric, former piano showroom, now bar, with linked frontages to Sauchiehall Street (2-storey, now altered) and Renfrew Street (single storey and basement).SAUCHIEHALL STREET ELEVATION: to ground, large opening now with modern entrance and window, with circa 1895 red sandstone ashlar surround with Greek detailing by David Paton Low. Single storey addition above of circa 1897 by Bruce & Hay. Dentilled cornice, flanking torch-bearing Ionic order caryatids, eaves cornice and stepped parapet with pipe-playing winged Harmony figure.RENFREW STREET ELEVATION: circa 1897, Bruce & Hay, single storey and basement 5-bay red ashlar sandstone. Corniced pilasters dividing bays, eaves cornice and parapet with central prominent bust of Beethoven. Piended roof. To right, entrance, to left, 4 single light windows with 2 basement entrances below.Modern glazing. Grey slates to Renfrew Street building. Pair of cast-iron lamp posts with some railing to Renfrew Street.

An idiosyncratic streetscape feature with striking sculpture-embellished elevations to both Sauchiehall Street and Renfrew Street, that to Sauchiehall Street altered. The building has an extensive and complicated history. On this site was the Georgian terrace Albany Place of which there may still be some remaining fabric. In the late 1890s the Albany Place feus were extended to the north and south to permit frontages on to Sauchiehall Street and Renfrew Street. Thomas Ewing, a piano seller, commissioned David Paton Low to create a single-storey salon fronting on to Sauchiehall Street and linking back to his lodgings at 5 Albany Place. Initially named Albany Galleries, it later became Ewing Galleries. In 1897 Bruce & Hay were commissioned by Ewing to extend his premises to the rear towards Renfrew Street. A large rooflit hall for performances was linked to the rear of Albany Place. At the same time the Sauchiehall Street elevation was raised by a storey to accommodate a small salon at 1st floor level. In 1912 the building became a cinema, the Vitagraph (later, the King's Cinema), with major (principally internal) alterations carried out by John Fairweather in 1914. A lounge and tearoom were created within the Sauchiehall side. It is now a bar and nightclub. The Cinema Theatre Association website notes that "As a cinema, it originally seated around 625 in stalls and circle. Renamed the King's Cinema in 1914, and additional interior renovations were carried out in 1931. In 1954 it was the Newscine, a dedicated newsreel cinema, now seating 450. This venture was shortlived, and it started showing full features again, as the Newscine, from 1955. It became the Curzon in 1960, and the Classic in 1964. The building ended its days as a cinema in 1984 as the Tatler Cinema Club". References and Notes updated as part of Cinemas Thematic Study 2007-08. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
Late 19th century multi-period, possibly with earlier fabric
Predominantly David Paton Low, Bruce & Hay, with sculpture by James Ewing

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
Development History
17 January 2014: External inspection finds the building, previously in use as a nightclub, now disused. The building has gone through various incarnations in recent years and the leasehold is now being marketed for sale ( a Chirstie & Co saleboard is affixed). The removal of the building from the adjacent plot has exposed the side elevation and vegetation growth is taking hold. Damp is impacting the stonework of the Renfrew Street Elevation.
June 2019: A member of the public notes the building remains disused. Some graffiti is presence on the facade.
26 July 2019: Local planners note the bust of Beethoven (to the Renfrew St elevation) has been damaged and the head removed - the loss is under investigation by the police and Glasgow City Council.
21 September 2020: A member of the public notes an article in Scottish Construction Now (29/7/2020) reporting on early proposals by a developer for the construction of new build retail units and flats, potentially behind a retained facade of the existing building.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Glasgow Central
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
0141 287 5492


Current Availability
For Lease
Appointed Agents
Christie & Co (as at June 2014)
Contact Agent
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
Unverified see FAQ on ascertaining ownership
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit