Biography of 'Green family'

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Showmen, cinema exhibitors and renters

GEORGE GREEN Born Preston 1861 - Died Glasgow 1915,
FREDERICK GREEN Born 1887 - Died Glasgow 1965
HERBERT (Bert) GREEN Born England 1890 – Died Bearsden, Glasgow 1982

The son of a master cabinet maker, George started his career as an apprentice watch maker coming into ownership of a fairground carousel through a bad debt owed to his father and developing from there a number of travelling shows. George subsequently based his travelling shows in Glasgow holding his first moving picture show at Christmas Carnival in1896.

The success of the Cinematograph as a side show convinced George to establish a permanent venue to exhibit films. By the time of his death in 1915 he had established a circuit of Picturedrome cinemas. George was active in the Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA) following its foundation and was President of the Roundabout Proprietors’ Union.

George Green’s sons Fred and Bert were involved in cinema from an early age. They often accompanied their father with his travelling show during the summer season, before joining him in the business after leaving school. On their father’s death Fred and Bert took over the running of the business in partnership with their mother and four sisters. The company consisted of a circuit of cinemas, a film renting and production division, Green’s Film Service, a cinema construction division and franchise for sales of projection equipment and furnishings.

The success of their topical production prompted the launch in October 1917 of the Scottish Moving Picture newsreel, becoming British Moving Picture News, running until 1922. By 1920 the Greens had become the most successful cinema proprietors and film renters in Scotland. In 1927 they opened Green’s Playhouse on Renfield Street, Glasgow, the largest cinema in Europe with 4,200 seats. While Fred as the eldest headed the company, Bert was very much involved in other areas of the industry.

In 1930 he became Treasurer of the Scottish Branch of the CEA, of which he also later became President. He became Vice Chairman of the Scottish Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund Society (CTBF) and in 1942 was elected President of the Glasgow Cinema Club becoming the Club’s Honorary Life President.

Following Fred’s death on 4 October 1965, aged 78, the company began to suffer from declining audiences. After Bert’s death in 1982 Green’s ceased film exhibition.

Researcher: Eamonn Butler

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