Canterbury Music Hall

Theatre in/near Lambeth, existing between 1852 and now

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Theatre · Lambeth · SE1 · Contributed by The Underground Map
December
14
2017
1893 programme cover - Canterbury Theatre
Credit: London Borough of Lambeth

The Canterbury Music Hall was established in 1852 by Charles Morton on the site of a former skittle alley adjacent to the Canterbury Tavern at 143 Westminster Bridge Road.

It was the first purpose-built music hall in London, and Morton came to be dubbed the Father of the Halls as hundreds of imitators were built within the next several years. The theatre was rebuilt three times, and the last theatre on the site was destroyed by bombing in 1942.

Morton and Frederick Stanley, his brother in law, purchased the Canterbury Arms, in Upper Marsh, Lambeth, in 1849. Morton was experienced in presenting ’Gentlemen Only’ entertainments in his other pubs, and he had been impressed with the entertainments at Evans Music-and-Supper Rooms in Covent Garden and decided to offer a harmonic meeting, held on Saturdays, in the back room of the public house. He brought in smart tables, with candlesticks, allowing audiences to sit and eat comfortably while watching concerts known as ’Sing-Songs’ or ’Free and Easys’ on Mondays and Saturdays. Soon, a Thursday evening programme was added to accommodate the crowds. Morton encouraged women to attend the entertainments, giving the venue wider appeal than the old time song and supper rooms, which were male preserves. Entry was free, but the profits from the sale of food and drink allowed the construction of a larger hall on the site of the former skittle alley, at the back of the public house.

This 700 seat hall took a year to build and opened as the Canterbury Hall on 17 May 1852, described as "the most significant date in all the history of music hall". The hall charged a modest admission and looked like most contemporary concert rooms within public houses of the period. It specialised in programmes of light music and ballads. Professional performers could earn high fees, and this attracted performances of selections from opera, including the first performances of Jacques Offenbach’s music in England.

The venture was profitable, and a new theatre was built in 1856, of unprecedented size, seating 1500. In order not to interrupt the flow of profits, the theatre was constructed around the walls of the 1852 hall, and when it was complete, the old building within was demolished in a single weekend. This new theatre was the first purpose-built tavern music hall and opened in December 1856, as the New Canterbury Hall.

The building had a grand entrance with extensive windows and a glazed roof that could be withdrawn to let the cigar and pipe smoke out. The bar was installed on a balcony over the hall, reached by ascending a grand staircase. The fittings were luxurious, with chandeliers and painted walls. At the end of the main hall there was a simple stage with a grand piano and harmonium to provide entertainment between the acts. The ’chairman’ sat on the stage, introduced the acts, provided his own ’patter’ and exhorted the patrons to drink. The entrance fee was 6 pence downstairs, and 9 pence upstairs. Customers sat at small tables, and waiters brought food and drink to them. The 1859 expansion of the viaducts carrying trains to Waterloo railway station separated the theatre entrance from the auditorium, and patrons entered through a long arched tunnel under the railway, entertained by an aquarium. In 1861, Blondin walked a tightrope fixed between the balconies of the hall.

Their success at the Canterbury allowed Stanley and Morton to build The Oxford, in Holborn, as a competitor to the nearby Weston’s Music Hall, opening on 26 March 1861. The pair managed both halls, with acts moving between the halls in coaches.

On Boxing Night 1867, William Holland took over management of the Canterbury and refurbished the hall at considerable cost. When informed that his purchase of a 1000 Guineas carpet was too good for his clientele, he invited them "to come in and spit on it". Further popularity accrued to the venue when classical music was removed from the bill and George Leybourne was engaged at £20 a week as lion comique. Leybourne remained top of the bill for some twenty years, before succumbing to the effects of the champagne he promoted here under the guise of "Champagne Charlie".

R. E. Villiers took over the management in 1876 and spent £40,000 to enlarge the theatre. He reintroduced a popular ballet item featuring the dancers Phyllis Broughton and Florence Powell. Topical ballets, such as Plevna and Trafalgar (both by the Belgian choreographer Henri Leopold De Winne), drew in the crowds, including the Prince of Wales. In 1877, the Queen’s theatre in Long Acre and the Canterbury were joined by overhead wires, and public demonstrations of the Cromwell Varley telephone were given. Several simple tunes were transmitted and emitted softly from a large drum-like apparatus suspended over the proscenium. Robert W. Paul’s Theatrograph was used at the theatre from 27 April 1896, a year after it had first been demonstrated at the Alhambra in Leicester Square. The film programme included Boxers and Lady Gymnast. These early experiments in films were only a partial success.

In his autobiography, former Lambeth resident Charlie Chaplin recalls seeing his father, Charles Chaplin Senior, performing at the Canterbury. Later Chaplin, himself, played there.

The hall was rebuilt as the 3000 seater Canterbury Theatre of Varieties in 1890 by Frank Matcham; and alterations were made in 1902. By 1915, this theatre came to be used as a cinema and was extensively damaged by bombing in 1942. The remains were finally demolished in 1955.

Source: Wikipedia



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Christobel Warren-Jones
Christobel Warren-Jones   
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Post by Christobel Warren-Jones: Hurley Road, SE11

Hurley Road was off Kennington Lane, just west of Renfrew Raod, not where indicated on this map. My Dad was born at number 4 in 1912. It no longer exists but the name is remembered in Hurley House, Hurley Clinic and Hurley Pre-School

Evelyn Johnson
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I lived at 105 Sturgeon Road in 1956 went to st Paul’s church Lorrimore sqN8DvL

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Post by Pauline jones: Bessborough Place, SW1V

I grew up in bessborough place at the back of our house and Grosvenor road and bessborough gardens was a fantastic playground called trinity mews it had a paddling pool sandpit football area and various things to climb on, such as a train , slide also as Wendy house. There were plants surrounding this wonderful play area, two playground attendants ,also a shelter for when it rained. The children were constantly told off by the playground keepers for touching the plants or kicking the ball out of the permitted area, there was hopscotch as well, all these play items were brick apart from the slide. Pollock was the centre of my universe and I felt sorry and still do for anyone not being born there. To this day I miss it and constantly look for images of the streets around there, my sister and me often go back to take a clumped of our beloved L

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Johnshort
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Post by Johnshort: Hurley Road, SE11

There were stables in the road mid way also Danny reading had coal delivery lorry.n

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Post by peter hiller: Sancroft Street, SE11

what is the history of tresco house 2 sancroft street ,it looks older than a 1990s site

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I was born in a prefab on Saunders street SE11 in the 60’s, when I lived there, the road consisted of a few prefab houses, the road originally ran from Lollard street all the way thru to Fitzalan street. I went back there to have a look back in the early 90’s but all that is left of the road is about 20m of road and the road sign.

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VIEW THE LAMBETH AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE LAMBETH AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE LAMBETH AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE LAMBETH AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE LAMBETH AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

 
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Lambeth

The ’Lamb’ in Lambeth really means just that.

The name is recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha, meaning ’landing place for lambs’, and in 1255 as Lambeth. The name refers to a harbour where lambs were either shipped from or to. It is formed from the Old English ’lamb’ and ’hythe.

South Lambeth is recorded as Sutlamehethe in 1241 and North Lambeth is recorded in 1319 as North Lamhuth. The marshland in the area, known as Lambeth Marshe, was drained in the 18th century but is remembered in the Lower Marsh street name. Sometime after the opening of Waterloo railway station in 1848 the locality around the station and Lower Marsh became known as Waterloo.

Lambeth Palace is located opposite the Palace of Westminster. The two were linked by a horse ferry across the Thames.

Until the mid-18th Century the north of Lambeth was marshland, crossed by a number of roads raised against floods.

With the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, followed by the Blackfriars Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge, a number of major thoroughfares were developed through Lambeth, such as Westminster Bridge Road, Kennington Road and Camberwell New Road.

In William Blake’s epic Milton a Poem, the poet John Milton leaves Heaven and travels to Lambeth, in the form of a falling comet, and enters Blake’s foot. This allows Blake to treat the ordinary world as perceived by the five senses as a sandal formed of "precious stones and gold" that he can now wear. Blake ties the sandal and, guided by Los, walks with it into the City of Art, inspired by the spirit of poetic creativity. The poem was written between 1804 and 1810.


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Christ Church, Lambeth:   Christ Church was founded by the Rev Dr Christopher Newman Hall in 1876 as a Congregational chapel on Westminster Bridge Road.
Garden Museum:   The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of gardening.
Hole In the Wall:   A local institution, and much the same for years, The Hole In The Wall is actually quite a large hole in a wall, being situated in railway arches in front of Waterloo Station. It has been a watering hole of choice for commuters for many a year.
Jubilee Gardens:   
Lambeth:   The ’Lamb’ in Lambeth really means just that.
Lambeth North:   Lambeth North is the area surrounding the Imperial War Museum.
London Aquarium:   The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the ground floor of County Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames in central London, near the London Eye. It opened in March 1997 as the London Aquarium and hosts about one million visitors each year. It is the largest aquarium in London.
Necropolis Station:   The London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 as a reaction to severe overcrowding in London’s existing graveyards and cemeteries.
Waterloo:   London Waterloo station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. The station is one of 18 in Britain owned and operated by Network Rail and is close to the South Bank of the River Thames.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Chartist meeting, Kennington Common (1848):   On 10 April 1848, William Kilburn took daguerrotypes of the Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common – taken from the top of The Horns tavern were the first ever photos of a crowd scene.
Gunner's Cottages (1910):   Gunner’s Cottages, off Salamanca Street, Lambeth 1910.
Lambeth Bridge (1865):   Lambeth Bridge is on the site of a horse ferry between the Palace of Westminster and Lambeth Palace on the south bank.
Lambeth High Street (1860):   This photograph of the Windmill inn, Lambeth High Street, dates from 1860
Wake Street:   Wake Street (King Street before the 1880s) was featured in photos from the Picture Post edition of 31 December 1938.
Waterloo Air Terminal (1953):   Officially known as the British European Airways Waterloo Air Terminal, the building was officially opened on the Festival of Britain site on 19 May 1953 by the then Minister of Aviation.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Addington Street, SE1 · Alaska Street, SE1 · Barbel Street, SE1 · Baylis Road, SE1 · Beaufoy Walk, SE11 · Bedlam Mews, SE11 · Belvedere Road, SE1 · Black Prince Road, SE1 · Burdett Street, SE1 · Carlisle Lane, SE1 · Centaur Street, SE1 · Chicheley Street, SE1 · China Walk, SE11 · Cooper Close, SE1 · Coral Street, SE1 · Cosser Street, SE1 · Distin Street, SE11 · Dodson Street, SE1 · Exton Street, SE1 · Fitzalan Street, SE11 · Frazier Street, SE1 · Gerridge Street, SE1 · Gibson Road, SE11 · Greenham Close, SE1 · Hercules Road, SE1 · Hornbeam Close, SE11 · Hotspur Street, SE11 · Hurley Road, SE11 · Johanna Street, SE1 · Jonathan Street, SE11 · Juxon Street, SE11 · Kennington Lane, SE11 · Kennington Lane, SW8 · Kennington Road, SE1 · Kennington Road, SE11 · Kennington Road, SW95 · King Edward Walk, SE1 · Lambeth Bridge, SE1 · Lambeth High Street, SE1 · Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 · Lambeth Palace Road, SW1 · Lambeth Pier, SE1 · Lambeth Road, SE1 · Lambeth Road, SE11 · Lambeth Walk, SE1 · Lambeth Walk, SE11 · Launcelot Street, SE1 · Leake Street, SE1 · Lilac Place, SE11 · Lollard Street, SE11 · Lower Marsh, SE1 · Marylee Way, SE11 · Mepham Street, SE1 · Milverton Street, SE11 · Murphy Street, SE1 · Murphy Street, [no · Newnham Terrace, SE1 · Newport Street, SE11 · Norfolk Row, SE1 · Oakey Lane, SE1 · Old Paradise Street, SE1 · Old Paradise Street, SE11 · Pear Place, SE1 · Pratt Walk, SE1 · Pratt Walk, SE11 · Randall Road, SE11 · Royal Street, SE1 · Sail Street, SE11 · Salamanca Place, SE1 · Salamanca Street, SE1 · Saunders Street, SE11 · South Street, SE11 · St. Georges Mews, SE1 · Station Approach, SE1 · Steam Pump Lane, W4 · Suthwark Bridge Road, SE1 · Tanswell Street, SE1 · The Chandlery, SE1 · The Queen’s Steps, SE1 · The Queen’s Walk, SE1 · The Queen’s Walk, SE1 · The Tunnel, SE1 · Upper Marsh Street, SE1 · Vauxhall Walk, SE11 · Virgil Street, SE1 · Walnut Tree Walk, SE11 · Waterloo Bridge, SE1 · Waterloo Bridge, WC2R · Waterloo Centre, SE1 · Whitehorse Mews, SE1 · Whitehouse Apartments, SE1 · Whitgift Street, SE1 · Whitgift Street, SE11 · Wincott Parade, SE11 · Windmill Row, SE11 · York Road Curve, N1C · York Road, SE1 ·

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Maps


Central London, south east (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, south east.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Cruchley's New Plan of London (1848) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
G. F. Cruchley

Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
John Cary

John Rocque Map of London (1762) FREE DOWNLOAD
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
John Rocque, The Strand, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured.
Chapman and Hall, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1836) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Insets: A view of the Tower from London Bridge -- A view of London from Copenhagen Fields. Includes views of facades of 25 structures "A comparison of the principal buildings of London."
Chapman and Hall, London

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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