The Constellation Music Hall, 74 Whitechapel, Liverpool
Formerly - The Liver Music Hall
Above - A Google StreetView Image showing the site of the former Constellation Music Hall, Liverpool - Click to Interact
The Constellation Music Hall was situated on Whitechapel at the corner of Charles Street in Liverpool. It was opened by its Proprietor Jonas Cohen, on the 24th of December 1866 with Harry de Frece as Manager. Jonas Cohen and his brother Henry Cohen were reported to have been 'Common Brewers' at the time who had been running a Public House in Charles Street where the Music Hall was eventually built. Jonas Cohen is also said to have had a pawnbroker's business and outfitter's store at 107 and 109 Whitechapel, and would later also go on to be the proprietor of the Oxford Music Hall in Lime Street, Liverpool.
The Constellation Music Hall was constructed by Messrs
Potters and Co., of Bedford Street, Liverpool,
to the designs of the architect Mr. Kirkham of Prince's Buildings.
The new Hall was a rebuild of the former Liver Music Hall but on a
much larger scale, the Liverpool Daily Post of the 25th of December
1866 says that the new
Hall was twice the size of the previous Hall and that the entertainment
had been equally enhanced. This Liver Music Hall should not
be confused with the Liver Music
Hall, situated at 46 Mersey Street, Liverpool, also known as Ceda's
Music Hall, which was in business from the late 1860s
to at least 1880.
Prices of admission for the opening night of the Constellation Music Hall, which started at 7pm, with doors opening at 6.30, were:- Stalls and Side Gallery 6d, the Main Body of the Hall with a refreshment ticket 6d, and the Back Gallery with a refreshment ticket 3d. Entrance to the main body of the Hall was from Charles Street, and the Back Gallery was reached via an entrance on Whitechapel. Refreshments in the Constellation Music Hall included wines, spirits, ale, and porter, and one could also buy cigars. Meals consisted of chops and steaks.
Right - An advertisement for the opening of the Constellation Music Hall, Liverpool - From the Liverpool Mercury, 21st of December 1866.
When the Hall opened it was in a slightly unfinished state as the walls were said to have still been damp and consequently lacking their decorations. Ventilation of the building however, was said to have been much improved, as was the lighting. The Constellation could hold upwards of a 1,000 people and was laid out differently to many Music Halls of the time. The Liverpool Daily Post of the 18th of December 1866 reported on this saying:- 'In the main body of the hall there are arrangements for two classes of visitors, that portion nearest the stage being set apart for orchestra stalls, which are elegantly fitted-up with tastefully upholstered seats in hair cloth covered with damask and velvet. Behind these are seats to which the admission is lower than to the orchestra stalls, but which are nevertheless comfortably cushioned. Over the body of the hall, and commanding an excellent view of the stage, is a splendid balcony, entirely set apart for reserved seats, which are most luxuriously finished, and which admit of the select portions of the audience not only enjoying the performances but also indulging in a comfortable lounge. The area of this balcony is equal to the accommodation of about 150 visitors, ample space being allotted to each. In addition to the several audience portions of the building already described, the architect has ingeniously planned a spacious private smoking-room for gentlemen, which is so situated as to admit of its occupants witnessing the various performances, whilst they may at the same time be indulging in their favourite "weed".'
The Constellation's stage was situated at the eastern end of the hall and was said to have been large enough to accommodate 'a considerable number of vocalists and other performers at the same time'.
Harry de Frece had a farewell Benefit at the Constellation Music Hall on Wednesday the 20th of March 1867, having run the Hall since the previous December when it opened. Performers engaged for his Benefit were said to have consisted of most of the principle artistes and vocalists in the Town. Harry de Frece would later become the lessee of the Gaiety Music Hall on Camden Street in Liverpool, as shown in the 1881 Kellys Directory of Liverpool. He was also often called Henry de Frece rather than Harry, his four sons were all in the theatre, most notably Abraham Walter de Freece, who would later go on to become a Conservative Party politician and be married to the well known male impersonator and Music Hall legend Vesta Tilley.
Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.
If you have any more information or images for this Music Hall that you are willing to share please Contact me.
You may find the following pages from this site of interest: