Albert Ernest Pickard

Born in Yorkshire in 1874, Pickard started his career in London, managing shooting saloons and other mechanical entertainments. He moved to Glasgow in 1904 and bough Fell's Waxworks on the Trongate. On the following year, he was offered the lease of the Britannia Music Hall, an old venue that had been showing films alongside live performances and sideshows. He acquired many more attractions and novelties, reopening the whole complex as the Britannia Panopticon. A shrewd businessman with an extraordinary talent for publicity, Pickard carried out all sorts of stunts from limerick competitions to a bear let loose on Argyle Street. He started investing in other properties, so that by the 1930s he was not only known as an outrageous showman and cinema proprietor, but as a landlord and speculator. A polemical figure, Pickard was not very well liked by other members of the trade, but the Glasgow public loved his eccentricity and regarded him as a living legend.

Source: Judith Bowers, Glasgow's Lost Theatre: The story of the Britannia Music Hall