British Music Hall: An Illustrated History

Front Cover
Pen & Sword Books Limited, May 31, 2014 - History - 292 pages
The music hall ...had no place for reticence; it was downright, it shouted, it made noise, it enjoyed itself and made the people enjoy themselves as well.' W.J. MACQUEEN POPE??Music Hall lies at the root of all modern popular entertainment. With stars such as Marie Lloyd, Harry Lauder and Dan Leno, it reached its glorious, brassy height between 1890 and the First World War. In the first book on this subject for many years, Richard Anthony Baker whisks us off on a colourful and nostalgic tour of the rise and fall of British music hall.??At the beginning of the nineteenth century people sang traditional songs in taverns for entertainment. This was so popular that rooms started to be added to inns for shows to be staged, and, before long, songs were being specially composed and purpose-built theatres were springing up everywhere. ??Britain's working class had, for the first time, its own form of public entertainment and its own breed of stars. The colour and vitality attracted serious writers and artists, as well as the future Edward VII, and music hall became simultaneously the haunt of the working classes and the avant-garde.??Including stories of a clergyman who wrote music-hall sketches, a hall in Glasgow where luckless entertainers were pulled off stage by a long hooked pole, and Cockney dictionaries that helped Americans understand touring British performers, this book is a hugely engaging slice of social history, rich in humour, tragedy and bathos.??As featured on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and in the Sunderland Echo.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - basilisksam - LibraryThing

It does tend to be a list of performers and venues with mini biographies on each so it doesn’t flow as you might expect but I still enjoyed it as a straightforward read and as a reference to dip in ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2014)

During 30 years at the BBC, Richard Anthony Baker wrote and presented music hall and variety programmes for Radios Two and Three. For Radio Five Live, he devised the world s first obituaries programme, Brief Lives, producing its first 300 editions. In 1990, he published a slim biography of Marie Lloyd and in 2011 An Old Time Variety followed. He contributes regularly to The Stage and the British Music Hall Society s magazine, The Call Boy.

Bibliographic information