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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 scrapbooks as they arrived in 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



Alekss Levsunovs

Andrew Johnston

Bea Dömeová

Berta Ramos

Edith Gras

Emma Rodgers

Erika Silverman

Evy Craig

Hazel McGrath

Kenneth Shand

Lina Zickyte

Paul Swinton

Paul Temple

Rachael Swinton

Sam Dymond

Sandra Kempele

Ursula McCartney


Britannia Panopticon staff:

Meredith Robinson

Stacey Welsh


Thanks to:

Stuart Harris-Logan, Archives of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Glasgow City Heritage Trust

Glasgow Life

Cinema Theatres Association

University of Glasgow – Early Cinema in Scotland project

Arts and Humanities Research Council