The View National Express Autumn 2017 - 43

CURTAIN CALL ◆

IMAGES: Getty Images, Peter Dazeley

WORDS: Xxxxxx xxxxxx IMAGES: Xxxx xxxxx

City
Varieties
Music Hall,
Leeds

houses - the
largest of which
was an ale house
- becoming a
music hall in 1853.
From Charlie
Six years on,
Chaplin and
The Leeds
having added
Harry Houdini
theatre regularly
mirrors, chandeliers
to stars such as
revives its music hall
and
detailed paintwork,
Barbara Windsor
roots with performances
of The Good Old Days,
the owner, John Wilton,
and the late Bruce
with the audience
renamed it The Magnificent
Forsyth, many a legend
in period
New Music Hall. Much later, a
has graced the stage of this
dress.
serious fire led to its closure - only
Grade II-listed building.
the four walls of the auditorium
City Varieties Music Hall, built
and the 10 barley twist columns that
in 1865, was home to the BBC's longsupport the balcony were left standing
running variety show The Good Old
- and, by the 1960s, the building was
Days broadcast worldwide for 30 years
up for demolition.
from 1953 to 1983. In fact, in its heyday,
It was saved thanks to a big campaign
the average wait for a ticket to be in the
backed by poet John Betjeman. And
audience of The Good Old Days was 10
in 1970, Spike Milligan, persuaded
years! And, in 1969, 18,000 people were
the BBC to use the place to film The
on the waiting list.
The music hall closed in 2009 to be
Handsomest Room in Town : a starrestored to its Victorian interior, and is
studded recreation of a music-hall show.
now a thriving theatre open to all. You
Now, Wilton's is restored to its former
can also enjoy a tour of the 150-year-old
glory and presents theatre, music and
building, hearing its history - it started
vintage fairs. You can also take a history
PICTURE
CAPTION IN
life as a music room above a pub called
tour of this
atmospheric
building.
HERE PLEASE LIKE SO
The White Swan - and admiring the fine
XXXXXX XXXXX
décor and photographic collection of
wiltons.org.uk 
stars who trod its boards.
cityvarieties.co.uk

Wilton's Music Hall,
London

Described by The Theatres Trust as 'the
most important surviving music hall',
Wilton's is special. It began life as five

43


http://wiltons.org.uk http://cityvarieties.co.uk

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