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The Royal Holborn Theatre of Varieties Camden, London, - Programme 1894
Lovely old Double sided three leaf Programme from September 1894....one leaf has separated on fold line. The measurements are 15 1/2" x 11" opened out......really great old graphics.The theatre was constructed on the site of the Six Cans and Punch Bowl Tavern. The licensed victualler of the premises, Henry Weston, had already transformed the former Holborn National Schoolrooms into a music hall several years before. This purpose built hall was his response to the success of Charles Morton's Canterbury Music Hall in Lambeth. In 1861, Morton struck back by opening the Oxford Music Hall, nearby in Oxford Street; a development Weston opposed on the grounds there were already too many music halls in the area.The theatre was renamed the Royal Music Hall in 1868, and then changed names again in 1892, becoming the Royal Holborn Theatre of Varieties. So successful was it in that decade it began to rival Morton's Canterbury Theatre, which was the most popular and profitable in London.The hall's early and most influential years were presided over by an exacting chairman and master of ceremonies, W. B. Fair, famous for the song Tommy, Make Room for Your Uncle. He chose the acts, warmed the audience up for each succeeding performance, and encouraged them at all times to interact with the performers throughout the evening. Fair was thus responsible for introducing to the London stage some of the most famous music hall acts, including Bessie Bellwood and JH Stead. The theatre became moribund at the beginning of the 20th century, but was rescued by George Cray, with sketches such as The Fighting Parson. In 1941 during The Blitz the theatre was bombed thus closing it down and it was eventually demolished in 1960.
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