The perfectly preserved rooms behind the doors of 12 Albany Road have been fascinating visitors to the Panacea Museum since it first opened in 2012. From 1904, the house was the family home of Mabel Barltrop and she continued to live there with her daughter after she became Octavia, the leader of the Panacea Society. After her death her followers kept the house as a shrine – it remained unchanged and untouched for more than 70 years.
A new exhibition 'Life at the Founders House’ responds to visitors’ ongoing curiosity about the Barltrops and how they conducted their family life in the midst of a rapidly growing religious community. The Panaceans, it seems, spared little thought for the family at 12 Albany Road who saw their home become headquarters to a worldwide religious group with more than 1200 followers.
During the Museum’s development, the contents of the house were removed and the building was carefully restored to allow visitors to experience an Edwardian time capsule. Now a sympathetic redesign of the visitor access to the building has made it possible to reinstate much more of the original furnishings, and will also allow greater access to the rooms. A new film telling the story of the Barltrop family, plus extra archive material and audio interpretation, will help visitors discover the history of their extraordinary home.