Canterbury Music Hall

Canterbury Music Hall 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, Lambeth.

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.HistoryEstablishing the hallMorton 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.

Operating as usual

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