Britannia Panopticon

Glasgow Music TourLength : 4 Minutes 18 Seconds

You couldn’t find a weirder or more wonderful tale than the Panopticon, the oldest surviving music hall in the world.

Before rock’n’roll, music hall was the thing: burlesque, bawdy and male-dominated. But at least one woman, the formidable six foot tall Mrs Carrie Nation, also known as The Smasher, made her impact on the Panopticon.

She’s just one of many larger than life characters who must surely haunt this old building. In its day it has housed a zoo, freak show, music hall, cinema and during the Second World War it doubled as a chicken farm supplying eggs for the east end of Glasgow.

Now restored to its former grandeur, the place is 150 years old and still very much kicking. But it was in a sorry state when historian and writer Judith Bower first stepped inside, as she told Jim.

Music credits at the Panopticon
Music hall ambiance, Harry Lauder (Wee Deoch ‘n Doris), Mack the Knife on theatre organ.