Glasgow Daily Photo

A photo a day from Scotland’s biggest city.

Panopticon

Posted by Jackie on April 15, 2008

Above this amusement arcade is what I thought originally was just an example of random impressive but sadly faded and tatty architecture. Closer research though reveals that it is in fact the remains of the Britannia Music Hall, originally built in 1857, which turns out to have had a fascinating history. It was used for a number of different entertainment genres – as well as music hall, moving pictures were first shown there in 1896 – and in 1906 it was reopened as the “Britannia and Grand Panopticon”. Between 1906 and 1938 it housed all sorts of shows – freak shows, zoos, waxworks, as well as cinema and music hall – and the young Stan Laurel started out here at the Friday night amateur nights, as well (allegedly) as Archie Leech (before he moved to Hollywood and changed his name to Cary Grant).

Following the depression in the 1930s the Britannia closed, and since 1938 has no longer been used, although the stage and wooden benches are apparently still intact.

I got all this information from the website of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust, who are trying to raise funds to save and preserve the building.

4 Responses to “Panopticon”

  1. Panopticon! Love that word. 🙂

    Jackie, re: your flickr photos, I meant to say if you could set flickr so that when I click on your post photo, it can go directly to the largest size that you have there (as it is now, to enlarge your photos, I have to click on the post photo then, once at the flickr site, click on the “all sizes” icon and only then I can see the largest available. It’s an extra click, not much of a problem, except that most of the times the “all sizes” icon does not appear, therefore I can’t enlarge your photo.

  2. Jackie said

    Ah, ok. I’ll do my best, but that is asking for technical savvy, which I don’t have in abundance! I will play around with flickr over the next few days and see what I can do 🙂

  3. marley said

    Very interesting! Since starting my blog I’ve found so much out about the buildings in Cheltenham and their history. Things that before blogging I never even thought about.

  4. CrazyCow said

    Its amazing how many times we see or pass by something without any knowledge of the background or history. Thank you for stopping to looking behind the scenes. Very interesting.

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