By Rail to the Music Halls (SLP)

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The heyday of the steam railways in Great Britain can arguably be said to have begun with the Rainhill Trails in 1829 and ended with the demise of main line steam in 1968. This period in time closely mirrors the opening of the first music halls, circa 1832, and the closure of the last great variety theatres. There is no doubt that the early music halls flourished with the mass mobility that the railways brought for passengers, long before the age of the automobile.

Furthermore, special trains accommodating complex music hall sets and all their paraphernalia enabled famous performers to be transported all around the country. London-based performers and their northern-based counterparts were able to rotate their performances around the nation’s principal variety theatres.

By Rail to the Music Halls is a novel concept from Lancashire-based social historian, David John Hindle. The substantial text links the emerging music halls with the coming of the first railways and is supported by copious variety bills, anecdotes and personal reminiscences. It also contains more than 320 photographs illustrating steam hauled passenger trains and the great Victorian and Edwardian music halls and variety theatres.

By Rail to the Music Halls will be of particular interest to railway and theatre historians alike. A unique perspective on an often overlooked area of social history. 184 pages. Hardback.

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