Egyptian Hall

Venue Type & Location

Exhibition Hall

Site Name: Egyptian Hall
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Overview

  • Address: The Egyptian Hall stood on the south side of Piccadilly, opposite Burlington House (now 170-173 Piccadilly). For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to those excerpted at right), Click Here and Here.



  • Alternate Names: The London Museum, The Egyptian Museum, Bullock’s Museum (pre-1819). Not to be confused with the Egyptian Hall, Mansion House, which, according to John Weale, was the “municipal residence of the Lord Mayor of London” (505)



  • Performance Space Description: Several authors have penned rich and extensive descriptions of the Hall (See, for example, Curl 262, Timbs 266, Elmes 157 and the Georgian Index website). Many of these focus largely on the exotic, “Egyptian” design of the building’s exterior, which was modeled on the temple of Tentyra and adorned with large sculptures of Isis and Osiris (see image above). Curl and Sheppard, however, also describe the fanciful and none-too-accurate interior designed by J.B. Papworth in 1819. Sheppard, for instance, suggests that Papworth’s work displayed little “regard for archaeological truth”, basing this claim on the evidence provided by an early engraving of the space (reproduced at British History Online). This image, he says, “shows the 'great room' as a large and lofty hall of conventional form, with a narrow gallery against the walls, its front supported by single and paired columns. The flat ceiling was surrounded by a cove and divided by ribs into three compartments, oblongs flanking a square out of which rose a circular lantern-light. Egyptian details, however, were applied in a nonsensical way. The small columns supporting the gallery were raised on tapered pedestals and had bulbous shafts, banded with lotus-ornament and hieroglyphs, with Hathor-heads projecting below the lotus capitals. The gallery, which cut across the monumental doorways in each end wall, had a railing formed of serpents holding chains, and in the lantern-light clerestory were glazed panels set in the outline of birds and papyrus-buds, between Osiris pillars and below a ceiling decorated with the signs of the Zodiac. The whole effect must have anticipated, in a startling way, the foyers of several 'Egyptian' cinemas built during the 1920's” (ibid).



  • Typical Fare: In 1850, Peter Cunningham described the Egyptian Hall as the place where “the novel and temporary exhibitions of the London season are generally to be seen” (quoted in the Victorian Dictionary Online). Likewise, John Timbs labels the venue “a sort of Ark of Exhibitions”, and notes that “curiosities” ranging from panoramas, paintings and models, to animals, ‘exotic’ peoples, and mechanical contraptions (such as “The Eureka, a machine for composing hexameter latin verses”) were displayed at the venue between 1842 and 1852. (266-8). Some sources suggest that the venue was also used for lectures.



  • Performance History

  • The building which would become the Egyptian Hall was erected in 1812 to house William Bullock’s museum. It was built according to plans by P.F. Robinson, at a cost of 16,000 pounds.


  • The venue remained home to Bullock’s museum until 1819, at which point it was converted into an exhibition hall. The new interior that accompanied this transition was designed by J.B. Papworth.



  • c. 1870, the venue became known as a home for popular conjuring entertainments, particularly those of Maskelyne and Cooke.



  • By 1905, however, the building had been demolished. It was eventually replaced with an office block. (Georgian Index Site, Egyptian Hall Page).



  • For a more thorough history of the venue, see Sheppard (reproduced at British History Online).



    Please see the 'Bibliographic Sources' link at right for a complete listing of materials (both primary and secondary) from which the above information was compiled.


    Beth Marquis

  • Events at Egyptian Hall

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Exhibition 8 January 1844 - 13 January 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 15 January 1844 - 20 January 1844 London, London (city-county) Catlin & Museum/Lecture Troupe, Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 22 January 1844 - 27 January 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 26 February 1844 - 2 March 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 4 March 1844 - 9 March 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 11 March 1844 - 16 March 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 25 March 1844 - 25 March 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 1 April 1844 - 6 April 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 8 April 1844 - 13 April 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 15 April 1844 - 20 April 1844 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Variety 15 April 1844 - 20 April 1844 London, London (city-county) Joe-o-sot, the Sank Chief
    Exhibition 26 August 1844 - 31 August 1844 London, London (city-county) Ioway Indians
    Exhibition 12 May 1845 - 17 May 1845 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 26 May 1845 - 31 May 1845 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 2 June 1845 - 7 June 1845 London, London (city-county) Ojibbeway Indians
    Exhibition 13 July 1846 - 18 July 1846 London, London (city-county) Two Boshiesmen Children
    Exhibition 31 August 1846 - 5 September 1846 London, London (city-county) Wild Man of the Prairies
    Minstrel Show 18 January 1847 - 23 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 25 January 1847 - 30 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 8 February 1847 - 13 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 15 February 1847 - 20 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 22 March 1847 - 27 March 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 12 April 1847 - 17 April 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 19 April 1847 - 24 April 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 3 May 1847 - 8 May 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 10 May 1847 - 15 May 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Exhibition 17 May 1847 - 17 May 1847 London, London (city-county) South African Aborigines
    Exhibition 31 May 1847 - 5 June 1847 London, London (city-county) Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 14 June 1847 - 19 June 1847 London, London (city-county) African Aborigines
    Exhibition 14 June 1847 - 19 June 1847 London, London (city-county) Tyler, J.S., Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 21 June 1847 - 26 June 1847 London, London (city-county) Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 19 July 1847 - 24 July 1847 London, London (city-county) Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 26 July 1847 - 31 July 1847 London, London (city-county) Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 3 August 1847 - 3 August 1847 London, London (city-county) Bosjesmans
    Exhibition 20 November 1848 - 25 November 1848 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 27 November 1848 - 2 December 1848 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 8 January 1849 - 13 January 1849 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 22 January 1849 - 27 January 1849 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 29 January 1849 - 3 February 1849 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 5 February 1849 - 10 February 1849 London, London (city-county) No Troupe
    Exhibition 12 February 1849 - 17 February 1849 London, London (city-county) No Troupe

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Arthur Lloyd Website. 05/22/2008 (http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/)

      (Under London's Lost Theatres & Music Halls - Egyptian Hall)

    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/)

      (Under Entertainment - Theatre & Shows - Theatres & Venues - Egyptian Hall)

    • Elmes, James. Metropolitan Improvements; or London in the Nineteenth Century. London: Jones & Co., 1828.
    • Era (London) October 12, 1851: 14: 1.
    • Georgian Index Site, Egyptian Hall Page. 04/23/2008 (http://www.georgianindex.net/Bullocks/Egyptian_Hall.html)
    • London and its Environs. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1885.
    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      p270.

    • Sheppard, F.H.W. (ed). Survey of London v.29 &30 (1960). Reproduced at British History Online. 04/23/2008 (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=292)

      Number 38 ("Piccadilly South Side").

    • Stevens Curl, James. Egyptian Revival. Ancient Egypt as Inspiration for Design Motifs in the West. Abingdon: Routledge, 2005.
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1855). London: David Bogue, 1855.
    • Weale, John. Pictorial Handbook of London. London: H.G. Bohn, 1854.
    • Wheatley, Henry B. Round About Piccadilly and Pall Mall; or, a Ramble from the Haymarket to Hyde Park. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1870.