The Eagle Tavern in 1830.
is a type of British theatrical entertainment
that was popular from the early Victorian era
, beginning around 1850. It ended, arguably, after the First World War
, when the halls rebranded
their entertainment as Variety
. Perceptions of a distinction in Britain between bold and scandalous Victorian Music Hall
and subsequent, more respectable Variety
differ. Music hall involved a mixture of popular songs, comedy, speciality acts
, and variety
entertainment. The term is derived from a type of theatre or venue in which such entertainment took place. American vaudeville
was in some ways analogous to British music hall, featuring rousing songs and comic acts.
Originating in saloon bars within public houses
during the 1830s, music hall entertainment became increasingly popular with audiences. So much so, that during the 1850s some public houses were demolished, and specialised music hall theatres developed in their place. These theatres were designed chiefly so that people could consume food and alcohol and smoke tobacco in the auditorium while the entertainment took place. This differed somewhat from the conventional type of theatre, which until then seated the audience in stalls with a separate bar-room. Major music halls were based around London. Early examples included: the Canterbury Music Hall
, Wilton's Music Hall
in Tower Hamlets
, and The Middlesex in Drury Lane
, otherwise known as the Old Mo. Read more...