Britannia Panopticon
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  • Britannia PanopticonTHE PANOPTICON
  • Britannia PanopticonSURVIVING MUSIC HALL
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Britannia Panopticon
Britannia Panopticon

WORLDS OLDEST SURVIVING
MUSIC HALL

Britannia Panopticon
Britannia Panopticon

Brittania Panopticonelcome to The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall situated in Glasgow down New Wynd Lane, Trongate. This Music hall began in 1857 in the midst of the Victorian era when Glasgow's population was booming and streets were over crowded with folk desperate to work in one of the largest cities new industries. Music Halls were a popular form of entertainment and oten built at the back of pubs, though this one is different, being on the floor above! It would have held over 1500 visitors, eager to be amused and let off steam while watching the acts that ranged from singers, dancers and comedians. In 1906, an eccentric showman, A.E Pickard, brought in the carnival freak show and zoo where visitors could catch a glimpse of the Himalayan Bear in the basement or the Tattooed Lady in the attic.

Brittania PanopticonWe are a registered charity, operating in the heart of Glasgow’s City Centre. Our aim is to promote and continue the legacy of the world’s oldest surviving music hall, advance the conservation and ensure the building’s future as a viable visitor attraction, museum and working venue. It's a huge part of Glasgow's entertainment history and we rely a lot on our wonderful customers who leave donations. If you wish to contribute in any way please click on support. We would love to have you onboard!

We are open for free general viewing Tuesday - Saturday noon - 5pm. Please note that we do not at this time have disabled access. We have a fantastic program of events which help to fundraise for this building such as silent films, comedy clubs, Drag-opticon, sing alongs and much more including our monthly old time music hall memories. For more upcoming shows, please look at our events for a great mix of entertainment suitable for all.

Inside there is an exhibition of ephemera, a merchandise stall with postcards, bags, posters, mugs, tee-shirts, stickers etc and of course our friendly staff and volunteers will be available to regale you with tales of the history of the world’s oldest surviving music hall from the unique acts that graced our stage, to the boisterous crowds and the secret to how this building never burnt down like so many other music halls!

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Britannia Panopticon

THE PANOPTICON PRESENTS

britannia Panopticon
Britannia Panopticon

LATEST NEWS

Hello!

Britannia Panopticon

My name is Alana Duvey and I produce, host and perform at ‘The Drag-Opticon Show’ here in the beautiful Britannia Panopticon Music Hall

It’s such a joy creating this show every month and always something our guest performers, our audiences and I really look forward to.

Part of what makes our show a little different from other drag shows in and around the city is the stunning setting that the Panopticon provides. You can tell the building was once a sight to behold back in the day and although it has been through a lot since its opening way back in the 1850s to the present day from fires to neglect I feel it is still a sight to behold even now. There’s just something about being able to see the charred remains etc. that I love so much. There’s a certain beauty in destruction. It’s certainly a far cry from the pubs and clubs of the usual drag shows with its lovely big stage providing us with a platform where we are able to bring performances to our audiences you wouldn’t see elsewhere.

I always feel it is such an honour to perform on the same stage as the many iconic stars of the Panopticon past and present from the original dancing girls and singers to Stan Laurel of ‘Laurel and Hardy’ fame to the likes of Tony Roper and local drag legend Sally Starshine. I like to think that my little event is now a part of Panopticon history and one day its stars will be mentioned in the same sentences as these amazing performers and the rest. I always get a special feeling in my heart whenever I’m performing here and imagine anyone else who is lucky enough to perform here also gets that same fuzzy feeling that I do.

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The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall – a majestic attraction in the heart of Glasgow

Britannia Panopticon

We recently did a collaboration with myhotelbreak on why their guests should visit us here at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. Find out what they discovered below:

When looking for the perfect hotel break it’s always great having notable and interesting attractions nearby. For guests looking for hotels in Glasgow we recommend taking an afternoon or evening out and discovering the Britannia Panopticon, the world’ oldest surviving music hall.

Let’s find out more…

Situated in the historic Trongate area in Glasgow, this music hall is worth a visit and more. The Britannia was established centuries ago around the 1850’s. In its early day’s it was the centre of entertainnt for Glasgow’s working class. Glaswegians would flock to the then called Britannia Music Hall to be entertained. It was a place where they could forget about their harsh living conditions and enjoy the moment. In those times, the entertainers would get booed off stage, laughed at or even worse if they didn’t live up to their billing.

As time changed, the Music Hall moved on to become more than just an entertainment centre for Glasgow’s working class. Under the management of Mr & Mrs Rossborough, gone were the Show Girl shows and the venue flourished into one of the most popular venues in the city of Glasgow.

The music hall was transformed with a facelift and it breathed new life into Britannia. Acts including Dan Leno, George Leybourne, The Great Vance, Jenny Hill, Bessie Bellwood, Harry Champion, WF Frame, Marie Lloyd and more all graced their presence here.

The Panopticon was strong and survived both world wars and the depression of the 1930’s but by the latter part of that decade, a new form of entertainment became popular, the art deco cinema. At this point the Britannia found it hard to compete with so much competition.

Today, the music hall is run by a charitable trust who endeavour to preserve the Britannia Panopitcon Music Hall.

Please click here to learn more of the history on this magical venue.

There are several events held here throughout the year. Check out what events are taking place over the next few months.

By visiting here you learn not only what the venue used to be like but visitors can have an understanding of Glasgow culture and why it’s important that an attraction like this stays open.

Enjoy something different on your next visit to Glasgow at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall.

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