Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street, London

Formerly - Mortimer's Hall / McDonald's Music Hall, 64 High Street, Hoxton

See also in this area: The Britannia Theatre - The City of London Theatre, Bishopsgate - Hoxton Varieties - Wilton's Music Hall -The Garrick Theatre, Whitechapel - The Royalty / Brunswick Theatres, Whitechapel - Shoreditch Theatres and Halls - The Goodman's Fields Theatre, Whitechapel

The main entrance to the Hoxton Hall in a photograph taken in September 2013. This was originally a shop, the main entrance to the Hall was originally down the side of the building - Photo M. L.

Above - The main entrance to the Hoxton Hall in a photograph taken in September 2013. This was originally a shop, the main entrance to the Hall was originally down the side of the building - Photo M. L.

The side elevation of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013, this was the original main entrance to the Hall when it first opened in 1863 - Photo M. L.The Hoxton Hall is situated on Hoxton Street in London and was designed by James Mortimer, who was a speculative builder who promoted so called 'Healthy Moral Homes' in London's suburbs in the mid 1800s. Mortimer built the Hall as a place for local people to enjoy music and education in one place. It opened as Mortimer's Hall on the 7th of November 1863 with a programme of singing and conjuring. But Mortimer's main objective was to educate the local populous with lectures, illustrated by magic lantern slides. Unfortunately this was not a great success and by 1865 the building was being used by a waste paper merchant.

Right - The side elevation of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013, this was the original main entrance to the Hall when it first opened in 1863 - Photo M. L.

In 1866 however, a new use was found for the building when James McDonald Junior, who had previously been managing Collin's Music Hall in Islington, took over the Hoxton building and reopened it as McDonald's Music Hall.McDonald's Music Hall was quite a success and many of Music Hall's major names played there in its early years. Indeed such was its popularity that in 1867 McDonald enlarged its capacity by raising the height of the Hall, adding a new upper balcony, and extending the previous rear balcony along both sides. The Hall today remains much in this 1867 form despite some later improvements. Despite all this in 1871 McDonald lost his licence for the building and had to close it down.

A McDonald's Music Hall Bill with Arthur Lloyd, his wife Katty King, and her brother Harry, and Arthur's brother Robert Lloyd all on the Bill together, for a benefit performance in aid of Harry and Katty King on the 12th of July 1867 - Courtesy Peter Charlton.

Above - A McDonald's Music Hall Bill with Arthur Lloyd, his wife Katty King, and her brother Harry, and Arthur's brother Robert Lloyd all on the Bill together, for a benefit performance in aid of Harry and Katty King on the 12th of July 1867 - Courtesy Peter Charlton. - Click to Enlarge.

In 1879 the building was taken over by the American Blue Ribbon Army and their Gospel Temperance Movement run by William Noble who had come to England the previous year. Despite this the name Hoxton Music Hall was still used to advertise their meetings.

A Mission Meeting on Hoxton market in the early 1900s. A small sign indicates the entrance to Hoxton Hall - From one of the Hoxton Hall's current history displays - Courtesy The Hoxton Hall.

Above - A Mission Meeting on Hoxton market in the early 1900s. A small sign indicates the entrance to Hoxton Hall - From one of the Hoxton Hall's current history displays - Courtesy The Hoxton Hall.

The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L. Here the stage is being used for seating, the reverse of how it was originally intended. The side and upper balconies shown here were added to the Hall in 1867.

Above - The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L. Here the stage is being used for seating, the reverse of how it was originally intended. The side and upper balconies shown here were added to the Hall in 1867.

The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L.

The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L. The Hall was later taken over by the Quakers whose remit was to help the poor of East London. They provided practical help for the poor, encouraged temperance, and offered various religious activities. The Hall also provided recreational programmes of music by bands and choirs, and offered craft workshops and classes for all ages.

Right - The Interior of the Hoxton Hall in September 2013 - Photo M. L.

After the second world war the Hoxton Hall continued to offer social help and religious instruction and between 1947 and 1977 it became the headquarters of the Bedford Institute Association. But because the new Welfare State had taken on the task formerly provided by such places its use eventually began to wane. Eventually it found its former roots and amateur shows began to be put on in the building.

Between 1976 and 1982 alterations to the Hall were carried out by Betham & Farrance when they partly reconstructed the building and restored the facade. And in 1982 an adjacent property was incorporated into the building by the architect Adrian Betham. Today the Hoxton Hall is home to a variety of entertainments and continues to seek funding for the building's ongoing refurbishment, and is still a popular place of entertainment for the local population 150 years after it was first built.

In the lower passageways of the Hoxton Hall today are some nice display boards showing the building's history over the years which are well worth a visit (See photograph below).

Hoxton Hall display boards showing the building's history over the years.John Earl, former Director of the Theatre's Trust, says of the Hoxton Hall:- 'The building has been continuously active with only short breaks, in a variety of roles - but always managing to accommodate some kind of public entertainment - since it was built in 1863. Among music halls I think this record can only be beaten by Leeds City Varieties. McDonald's was, of course, owned by a Quaker organisation for more than a century, which prompts a second reflection: The two most important surviving early music halls in London (Hoxton and Wilton's) were both saved from the great 1880s purge by falling into the hands of total abstainers.- Ill drink to that!' - John Earl.

Left - Hoxton Hall display boards showing the building's history over the years.

The Theatres Trust itself says of the Hoxton Hall:- 'This building is unique in Greater London and one of the most important early music hall buildings now to be seen anywhere (only Wilton's, the (Royal) Clarence, Glasgow Britannia, Cardiff Philharmonic, and Nottingham Malt Cross which survive as relatively complete supper-room style relics).

A Google StreetView Image of the Hoxton Hall during refurbishment - Click to InteractHoxton Hall, which was fully active only from 1864 to 1871 is an unusually early survival from an insufficiently investigated phase in music hall evolution.' - The Theatres Trust.

The Hoxton Hall is a Grade II* Listed building and in 2015 a £2m Lottery funded refurbishment of the building was completed.

Right - A Google StreetView Image of the Hoxton Hall during its recent refurbishment - Click to Interact.

You may like to visit Hoxton Hall's own website here.

If you have any more information or images for this building that you are willing to share please Contact me.