Walking Group - Week 18: Panopticon & Holmwood House

Last week the walking group went to two venues that couldn't be more different. Firstly we went just two doors down and around the corner to the Britannia Panopticon, the oldest surviving music hall in the world.

Inside is a small museum of the history of the venue, featuring posters, programmes, costumes and props. The music hall, in its day, hosted a variety of shows, from comedy to drama and musicals, with many famous acts passing through, notably Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Currently they screen films and host variety shows and music nights as well as being open in the afternoon for free viewings of the displays. The venue features a bar and has merchandise for sale. It is an amazing place simply oozing history, some less savory than wholesome but all interesting and worth a second visit. Find out more at http://www.britanniapanopticon.org/

We then took a bus through the south side of the city to visit Holmwood House. Built in the late 1850's by Alexander 'Greek' Thompson for James Couper and his wife, the house is now owned by the National Trust but has been many families homes before becoming a nunnery.

The Couper family made their money in paper and founded the Couper Institute. The detail in the house is exquisite and no section was build and decorated with less than the main house, meaning the servants quarters, kitchen and coach house are all as fabulous as the main home.

There is a stunning garden and vegetable area. I personally found the serving area in the dining room to be the most stunning feature and was interested to hear that the nuns had used it as their altar during their time at Holmwood. More about the property can be found at http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Holmwood-House
-Morag McGilchrist

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