In 2014, a collection of scrapbooks that belonged to A. E. Pickard, owner of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in early 20th-century Glasgow, resurfaced through a private collector. The scrapbooks were acquired with the support of the Cinema Theatre Association and the Early Cinema in Scotland project at the University of Glasgow.
The project was awarded a Heritage Lottery: Sharing Heritage grant to fund the digitisation and public engagement with this fascinating archive.
The Britannia Panopticon is the oldest surviving music hall in the UK, open in 1857 and retaining many of its original features. Since 1997 it has been restored and reopened by volunteers, and it is now an A-listed venue that offers an extraordinary experience to audiences who come for historical music-hall shows and other events. The Britannia was also one of the first places in Scotland to show films on a regular basis, and it occupies a very important place in the history of popular entertainment in Glasgow and beyond.
As a coherent collection, these scrapbooks are a primary source like no other, offering an unprecedented level of detail for the history of public entertainment in Glasgow and in the UK. They are full of amazing stories and characters, captured in fleeting appearances in the local press and printed ephemera. We hope that making them available online will offer a unique glimpse into the past, and a creative spark for the present.
Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Director - Judith Bowers
Graphic Design – Becca McCall
Website and coordination – Maria A. Velez-Serna
Archive cataloguing – Gillian Moynagh
Generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Trust
Case workers: Bobbi Campbell, Annie Mottisfont
Britannia Panopticon staff:
Stuart Harris-Logan, Archives of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Glasgow City Heritage Trust
Cinema Theatres Association
University of Glasgow – Early Cinema in Scotland project
Arts and Humanities Research Council