Music Hall

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Venue Type & Location

Music Hall

Site Name: Music Hall
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
County: Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Overview

  • Address: Nelson Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. For a current map, Click Here.



  • Alternate Names: Grainger Music Hall, New Tyne Concert Hall, Gaiety, Grainger Theatre. There is some disagreement about when each of these names was applied to the venue. The Theatres Trust site suggests that the building was called the Grainger Music Hall during the 1860s, the New Tyne Concert Hall post-1879, and the Gaiety beginning in 1884. David Dougan, on the other hand, claims that the building was known as the Gaiety Theatre upon its first construction in 1838, and largely retained that appellation until transforming into the New Tyne in 1879.



  • Audience Composition: Given the contemporary description cited below (which mentions “second class people […] penned up like sheep […] to make room for the reserved seats”), audiences at this venue would appear to have been of mixed income and social status (transcribed in Kathleen Barker Collection).



  • Performance Space Description: In its initial form, the Music Hall was a small concert room located above a lecture hall. The Theatres Trust site gives its interior dimensions as 80 feet 4 inches (width) by 40 feet 6 inches (depth) in 1844. This facility doesn’t seem to have been all that attractive as a performance space however, as indicated in a description printed in The Newcastle Chronicle in 1852. The Music Hall, the author wrote, “is not really fit for a first-class concert. Some attempt has been made to smarten it up by a coat of whitewash, but the want of room, the want of ventilation, and the want of seats, make it most uncomfortable. There are no proper ante-rooms, it is lighted by gridirons of gas-bars, the windows must be opened to let in air, giving you the choice of suffocation or stiff-neck, and the second-class people are penned up like sheep, without a bench to sit down upon, to make room for the reserved seats” (ibid).




    For a description of the building’s Classical façade (still extant), Click Here. (Theatres Trust Site).



  • Typical Fare: During the period covered by this database, the Music Hall was mainly used for vocal and instrumental concerts. Other kinds of entertainment were offered at times, however, including panoramic displays and demonstrations of mesmerism.



  • Performance History

  • The Music Hall was built and opened in 1838, and remained in theatrical/performance use until 1949. It was renovated and re-named several times over this period.



  • According to David Dougan, the character of the entertainments offered at the Music Hall changed in tandem with the alterations to the building and its name. In its first decades, Dougan writes, the venue "provided a stage for dignified concerts, lectures and exhibitions", including readings by both Dickens and Thackeray (35). "By 1879," however, "the cultural atmosphere of the Gaiety had given way to the more popular entertainments of the New Tyne Concert Hall. In 1911, the management began slipping films in between the music hall acts" (ibid).


  • In 1949, the venue was deemed unsafe for theatrical performance. It was subsequently converted into a portion of a retail store, but the original façade still remains.




    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

    Additional research by Paul Babiak

  • Events at Music Hall

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Lecture 6 March 1843 - 7 March 1843 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Catlin & Museum/Lecture Troupe
    Minstrel Show 2 November 1844 - 2 November 1844 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (1844)
    Minstrel Show 4 November 1844 - 7 November 1844 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (1844)
    Exhibition 9 January 1845 - 11 January 1845 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ioway Indians
    Exhibition 13 January 1845 - 18 January 1845 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ioway Indians
    Minstrel Show 7 November 1846 - 7 November 1846 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (Van Dwyer, 1846)
    Minstrel Show 12 November 1846 - 14 November 1846 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (Van Dwyer, 1846)
    Minstrel Show 18 October 1847 - 21 October 1847 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland New Orleans Ethiopian Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 30 October 1847 - 30 October 1847 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland New Orleans Ethiopian Serenaders
    Minstrel Show 19 February 1849 - 24 February 1849 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Minstrel Show 26 February 1849 - 3 March 1849 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Exhibition 6 June 1850 - 8 June 1850 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland No Troupe
    Exhibition 10 June 1850 - 15 June 1850 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland No Troupe
    Exhibition 17 June 1850 - 22 June 1850 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland No Troupe
    Exhibition 24 June 1850 - 27 June 1850 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland No Troupe
    Lecture 5 October 1850 - 5 October 1850 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Copway, George
    Concert 19 January 1852 - 19 January 1852 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Sivori
    Exhibition 15 November 1852 - 15 November 1852 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county) in Northumberland Brown, William Wells

    Bibliographic Sources

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

      (Under Newcastle - Grainger Music Hall)

    • University of Bristol, Kathleen Barker Collection. KB/2.
    • Dougan, David. Newcastle—Past and Present . Newcastle Upon Tyne: Graham, 1971.
    • Newcastle Chronicle January 23, 1852: Referenced in University of Bristol, Barker Collection.
    • Theatres Trust Website. 03/06/2008 (http://www.theatrestrust.org.uk)

      (Search 'Gaiety Newcastle').