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Special Feature on The Canterbury Music Hall

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.Hello and welcome to May 2002's special feature. This month's Feature is very special, an original programme for The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

The Canterbury was situated at 143 Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth and was one of the premier London Music Halls.

Arthur Lloyd performed at The Canterbury many times. See the Timeline for details, or my Canterbury page, which has much information on, and images of, The Canterbury, including an interesting article from The Sketch, in May 1879, mentioning Arthur Lloyd specifically.

This Feature was first created in May 2002 but was updated in March 2015 and is now all on this one page.

The Canterbury Programme

Wednesday, 28th February 1900,

With text from the Oxford Companion to Theatre (second edition).

This was the original music-hall.

The Canterbury Arms, which gave it birth, occupied the site of an old tavern, which had stood for centuries in the Westminster Bridge Road.

In 1849 it was taken over by Charles Morton and his brother-in-law, Frederick Stanley. They ran concerts on Saturday evenings, which soon became very popular.

No charge was made for admission they made their profit on the drinks sold. Later a Thursday concert was added, and within a year they had built a hall on the site of their old skittle-alley adjoining, which held 700 people.

Morton had enlivened his concerts by engaging professionals. In the new hall he went yet further and charged for admission.

There was no stage, only a platform at the end of the room. John Caulfield was Chairman and Jonghmann was musical director. Charles Morton spared no expense to make the venture successful, paying his artists as much as £30 a week.

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.Augustus Braham, son of the great tenor, sang there, as did Miss Turpin (Mrs. Henry Wallack) and Miss Russell, the latter as Marguerite in selections from Gounod's Faust' given at the Canterbury before the first full performance at His Majesty's on 11 June 1863. No less a person than Mlle TietJens was in the audience on that occasion.

Sam Cowell, E. W. Mackney, and a host of other 'comics' appeared at the Canterbury, and the place was packed nightly. Later a new hall was constructed round the old one, and on a Saturday night the old one was finally demolished, the new one opening on the following Monday. It had a picture gallery, which Punch called 'The Royal Academy over the Water'. The entrance fee was 6d downstairs and 9d in the Circle. The audience sat at small tables, and had their food or drinks brought to them there.

In 1863 Stanley retired and Morton remained in sole charge until Boxing Night 1867, when William Holland took over. He had the hall redecorated regardless of cost, and when he was told that his 1,000 guinea carpet might make some of his humbler patrons feel awkward, he put out posters inviting them to come and spit on it.

Classical music vanished from the bill, and comedy predominated. George Leybourne, just coming into prominence, was engaged at £20 a week, which was soon increased, billed as the 'lion comique', and given a carriage and four to drive about in. He always drank champagne, as befitted the singer of 'Champagne Charlie'. In 1876 the house passed to Villiers, and was enlarged at a cost Of £40,000 The bills at this time included those friendly rivals, Leybourne and The Great Vance, Fred Coyne, Arthur Roberts, and numerous others, while Phyllis Broughton and Florence Powell were the chief dancers in the ballet which now became a popular feature.

One of the most successful was a spectacular and topical ballet called 'Plevna' followed by an equally successful 'Trafalgar'. The Canterbury was at that time the only hall where good ballet could be seen, and the public flocked to it. Edward VII (as Prince of Wales), the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Teck were among the royal visitors. Prices soared, but when the attendances began to slacken a drastic lowering of them brought success back again. For many years the Canterbury bar was a favourite place of call for the entire music-hall profession, as was only fitting in the hall that saw the birth of variety. It was later taken over by a limited company.

The above text (edited) was first published in the Oxford Companion to Theatre (second edition).

 

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

 

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

George Adney Payne, who is featured at the top of this page of the programme, was also, at one time, the proprietor of the Britannia Theatre Hoxton. He acquired the Canterbury in 1877. He began his career at the Greenwich Parthenon and subsequently influenced most of the important London music halls. He died in a motor accident at Tunbridge Wells in 1907.

 

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

 

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

 

The Canterbury Music Hall dated Wednesday 28th February 1900, generously donated by Mr. John Moffatt.

 

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