We are always excited to learn more about the early years of Diespeker. Although there isn’t much in the way of documentation,
We were recently contacted by Murray Peterson, who brought to our attention archive photos of the Pavilion Theatre in The Canmore National Record of the Historic Environment. Amongst the archive were several photos of mosaic flooring and stairs in the lobby of the theatre.
The design is extremely intricate, with beautiful mosaic illustrations of instruments including a lute, lyre and the classic tragicomedy masks associated with Greek theatre. Impressively, the mosaic design continues right up the stairs. And here, there is the evidence that Diespeker created the surface, as on the very last riser there’s a logo announcing: “Diespeker’s Patent”.
The Pavilion Theatre opened in Glasgow in February 1904 – an incredible 117 years ago. The 1800 seat theatre was described at the time as luxurious, including Rococo plasterwork and mahogany woodwork; allegedly the owners said it was “pure Louis XV”. It is the only privately run theatre in Scotland, receiving no subsidies.
It was known for variety shows with performers including little Tich, Florrie Ford and even Charlie Chaplin in the early stages of his career. More recent performers have included Billy Connolly, Barbara Dickson and Sheena Easton, all from Scotland. Long-time performer and friend of the theatre, Sydney Devine sadly recently passed away and received many tributes.
The theatre is unable to open due to the pandemic but we all hope that this will soon change. So, if you’re local, please support your independent theatre – and go take a closer look at the floor when you can.
Diespeker’s mosaic work is enjoying something of a resurgence, particularly in terms of restoration. We are soon to embark on a major project in central London, restoring mosaic work we first created in 1895 – which just goes to illustrate the longevity of Diespeker floors!
Apparently, if you see intricate mosaic work, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the Diespeker logo – those original flooring specialists knew a thing or two about marketing.
Huge thanks to Murray for telling us about Diespeker and the Pavilion Theatre.
Images from: https://canmore.org.uk/