Esoteric London

No. 406: Chalk Farm Road, NW1

Posted in Entertainment, Funereal, Graffiti, London Music by esotericlondon on September 19, 2011

Starbucks, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Dickens’s Dictionary of London – Charles Dickens (Jr.), 1879:

Music Halls—The music-hall, as it is at present understood, was started many years ago at the Canterbury Hall over the water. The entertainments proving popular, the example was speedily followed in every quarter of the town. The performance in no way differs, except in magnitude, from those which are to be seen in every town of any importance throughout the country. Ballet, gymnastics, and so-called comic singing, form the staple of the bill of fare, but nothing comes foreign to the music-hall proprietor. Performing animals, winners of walking matches, successful scullers, shipwrecked sailors, swimmers of the Channel, conjurers, ventriloquists, tight-rope dancers, campanologists, clog-dancers, sword-swallowers, velocipedists, champion skaters, imitators, marionettes, decanter equilibrists, champion shots, “living models of marble gems,” “statue marvels,” fire princes, “mysterious youths,” “spiral bicycle ascensionists,” flying children, empresses of the air, kings of the wire, “vital sparks,” Mexican boneless wonders,” white-eyed musical Kaffirs,’ strong-jawed ladies, cannon-ball performers, illuminated fountains, and that remarkable musical eccentricity the orchestre militaire, all have had their turn on the music-hall stage. Strangers to the business may be warned that the word “turn,” as understood in the profession, means the performance for which the artist is engaged, and frequently comprises four or more songs, however much or little of pleasure the first effort may have given the audience. Furthermore, as many of the popular performers take several “turns” nightly, it is undesirable to visit many of these establishments on the same evening, as it is quite possible to go to four or five halls in different parts of the town, and to find widely diverse stages occupied by the same sets of performers. Among the principal halls may be mentioned the Bedford, in Camden Town…

[ The stencil art in the photograph above adorns the exterior wall of Starbucks at Camden Lock. It depicts Amy Winehouse who lived and partied in the Camden area before her recent untimely death at the age of 27. R.D.]

One Response

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  1. Jonas Gustavsson said, on September 19, 2011 at 8:58 am

    R.I.P. Amy


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