On 14th December 2019 John Cain gave a wonderful talk on the Victorian Music Hall. You can listen to the talk by clicking here.
Saturday 14th December 2019
Victorian Music Hall Speaker: John Cain
The music halls of the Victorian & Edwardian eras were nothing like how it was depicted on TV in shows like ‘The Good Old Days’. It was a mainly working class phenomenon that developed in the 1830s & developed rapidly during the 19th century. When WWII was finished, I was lucky enough to be taken by my parents every Thursday to Finsbury Park Empire. It was a time when the term ‘Variety’ was used rather than ‘Music Hall’ & I saw my first striptease (Phyllis Dixie) at the age of eleven. In my view, however, the ‘Greats‘ of the real music were mainly gone although people like Max Miller, G.H. Elliot, Eugene Stratton, Norman Evans, Max Miller, etc. were still performing. From 1946 to the early 50s there were music hall revivals with the remaining stars performing their old routines again. I was lucky enough in the early 60s to be involved with Unity Theatre that had a very strong Music Hall tradition that produced groups like Professor Alexander’s Music Hall & Frank Wagland’s & Peter Charlton’s groups. The talk will be about its development, interspersed with songs from the era of Harry Champion, Harry Wincott, Gus Elan etc.