Pivotal Moments in Glasgow
and the significance of WAXWORKS
By BILL CROUCH
The ERA reported:
DEATH OF MR C. C. FELL
Mr C.C. Fell was one of Scotland’s most respected and highly esteemed amusement caterers.
Twenty-three years ago Mr Fell forsook commercial life in Lancashire and took over the waxworks in Trongate.
From the first Mr Fell’s ideal was to provide an entertainment free from reproach. His uninterrupted run of twenty years in the same building shows how well he accomplished his purpose. It was Mr Fell’s greatest pride to know that his entertainment was regarded as an exhibition to which parents could bring their families without fear of offence.
He was an untiring worker, thoroughly honest and punctual in all his dealings, and a considerate employer. He went into retirement three years ago, and his many friends both in this country and abroad will regret that his period of leisure has been so soon cut off.
He was sixty-four years of age, and his remains were interred in the Glasgow Cathcart Cemetery, the grave being covered with floral tokens of the high esteem in which the deceased was held.
The Glasgow Programme, dated 6th May 1907 was equally warm:
THE LATE MR C. C. FELL
We were exceedingly sorry to notice in the papers last week the announcement of Mr Fell’s death.
He built up the smartest and cleanest waxwork museum ever known in this country, at the corner of King Street and Trongate, Glasgow, now occupied by Mr Pickard.
Mr Fell was one of the most courteous gentlemen it has ever been our pleasure to meet. He was kind and affable to all with whom he came in contact, and a more intelligent gentleman than is generally found in ordinary commercial circles.
He was in every respect a credit to our city although an Englishman, and did a very great deal in building up its reputation.
We had hoped that Mr Fell had many years before him in his retirement, but being affected with heart trouble his end came very suddenly and unexpected.
Mr Fell’s death certificate stated that he died at home at 76 Clifford Street, Govan
at 9.30pm on 23rd April 1907 of coronary heart disease.
Cornelius Fell sold his business to Pickard in 1904 for the sum four hundred and thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings. The cheque was dated 2nd May 1904.
An advert in the Glasgow Programme, dated 2nd May 1904, calls the premises ‘Fell’s Waxworks & Variety Exhibition’.
The 9th May issue calls it ‘Pickard’s Waxworks & Variety Exhibition’. And by the 10th October 1904 it was ‘Pickard’s American Museum & Grand Waxworks’.
Pickard continued to use a variety of names in his advertisements. What set him apart from his rivals was in his use of advertising and how he engaged with the public. He cleverly used his name in humorous phrases and slogans to promote his shows: ‘Pickard Unlimited’ and ‘The Sun Shines on Pickard’. The public responded very well to this format.
Waxworks had been lucrative businesses in their prime. The Glasgow Programme noted that “The late Mr Fell left over £4,000 nearly all made out of his clean little waxworks, at corner of King St. and Trongate. There is money in the show business.” Today, that would be worth around £500,000.
Work has recently started to convert this neglected 1849 B-listed JT Rochead designed building, with its cream sandstone exterior, for residential use, in what at one time was the beating heart of the city.