The View National Express Autumn 2017 - 42

The Rivoli
Ballroom,
London

The nondescript
exterior of London's
last remaining intact
1950s ballroom belies
the beauty of its interior.
With its red velvet walls,
ornate detail, eye-catching
crystal chandeliers and
enormous Chinese lanterns
hanging from the barrel-vaulted
ceiling, it's little wonder it has
Grade II-listed status and is used
for TV and film locations.
Promo trailers for Strictly
have been filmed here - it boasts a
maple-sprung dance floor - and it's
a particular favourite of former headjudge Len Goodman, who started
dancing here aged just 16, claiming
that he 'let it all hang out at the
Rivoli; the look of the whole place
just makes you want to dance'.
Now the venue holds regular pop-up
cinema nights, jive parties with a live
band, ballroom, latin, salsa and cabaret
nights. The railway carriage bar

that runs alongside
a long, sweeping
ballroom is the
perfect spot to rest
those tired feet!
rivoliballroom.com

Britannia
Panopticon
Music Hall,
Glasgow

With its entrance
down a small side
street, this first-floor
treasure of a music
hall - the world's oldest
- has a dusty charm about it.
Opened in the 1850s, and originally
known as The Britannia Music Hall,
it crammed 1,500 people into its
auditorium four times a day. In 1906,
it was sold to Yorkshireman A E
Pickard. He turned the attic into a
carnival, with games including coconut
shies and hooplas, while the basement
became a zoo! And he renamed the
place The Grand Panopticon, derived
from the Greek Pan meaning 'everything'
and Opti 'to see' - how very apt!
The music hall is currently being
restored by devoted volunteers.
Visitors can not only see an exhibition
charting its history, but can also watch
performers on stage again. Wrap
up warm, though, as funding is still
ongoing for heating.
britanniapanopticon.org

42

In the early
1900s a young
comic appeared at the
Britannia Panopticon.
His name was Arthur
Jefferson: aka
Stan Laurel.


http://www.rivoliballroom.com http://www.britanniapanopticon.org

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