Britannia Panopticon Music Hall
Britannia Panopticon Music Hall tours
The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall is currently operated as a museum with various artefacts on display from the Panopticon’s vibrant past. Visitors will be treated to a menagerie of music hall memorabilia including Spidora, and upon special request may even listen to an original pianola. Visitors will also have an opportunity to browse a fascinating shop of music hall souvenirs and memorabilia.
Duration: approximately 30 minutes
How to book: Visitors wishing to see the Britannia Panopticon should contact Judith Bowers, Founder and Director, by phone on +44 (0)141 553 0840 or mobile +44 (0)77 6677 5055 or email Judith Bowers in advance of their visit.
Cost: Donations accepted
How to get there
The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall is located in the centre of Glasgow on Trongate, approximately 5-10 minute walk from Glasgow Central Station. The musical hall is located just above Mitchell's Amusement Arcade and just east of T.J. Hughes.
For further details please see the website.
Glasgow is a city of rich theatrical heritage with a handful of architectural and historical gems from the late-19th century including:
King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Citizens Theatre also listed on The Theatres Trust Database ID: 2354
Pavilion Theatre also listed on The Theatres Trust Database ID: 2359
Theatre Royal Glasgow also listed on The Theatres Trust Database ID: 2308
The Britannia Music Hall is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. Built in 1857 by Thomas Gildard and H. M. McFarlane, it has hosted some of the biggest names on the Music hall circuit. In 1906 Stan Laurel made his first stage appearance there on amateur night. In that same year A. E. Pickard bought the building and changed its name to the Panopticon. He also undertook some major works, installing a freak show, a roof top carnival and a waxworks. He also excavated the basement and installed an indoor zoo.
The Panopticon was one of the first buildings in Glasgow become powered by electricity and one of the first cinemas in Scotland. It closed in 1938 when it was sold to a tailor and converted to a workshop. It is currently being conserved by a trust that regularly performs traditional shows in the auditorium. It is now protected as a category A listed building.