London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
QUEEN VICTORIA'S OWN THEATRE.
Perhaps the boldest attempt at entertaining the East-enders was made when a philanthropist converted
|the Victoria Theatre (built the Royal Coburg) into a temperance music-hall. The old playhouse has a history. It was erected in the days of George IV., and the name Coburg was a recognition of the connection existing between the Royal Family and the German Duke of that ilk. If I am not wrong in my history, I think it was christened in honour of the Princess Charlotte's marriage with the King of the Belgians. Leaving it to members of the Society of Antiquaries to set me right, I may say that the Coburg was opened with great pomp. The lessee, my maternal grandfather, Mr. Joseph Glossop, was connected with the Court as a gentleman-at-arms. He was Clerk of the Cheque and Exon of that illustrious and valiant body. With this influence behind him he contrived to have the theatre opened by one of the Royal Dukes-I fancy by the Duke of Gloucester. One of the features of the inauguration ceremony was the first appearance of the celebrated This drop was composed of fairly large mirrors, which unfortunately had been disfigured by the impressions of the dirty hands of the stage carpenters. When it was disclosed to view there was a roar of laughter. For instead of being impressed the audience were much amused to see their own presentments. After the had inspected itself for some minutes, a boy in the gallery called out,|
|Of course this suggestion elicited a shout of merriment, and the curtain was voted more of a joke than a marvel. Later on the name of the playhouse was changed from the Coburg to the Victoria, and lost its . Some twenty years ago it was the home of that sort of melodrama which is best suited to the tastes of the inhabitants of the New Cut. A little later there was an effort made to revive it as a music-hall on the lines of the Empire, the Alhambra, and the Canterbury. It did not do, and consequently has been converted into a Palace of Philanthropy. The poorer classes, at a nominal rate of admission, are entertained with a very select music-hall programme. At first Shakespearean readings were attempted, but the audience called for something else, and their needs were supplied. I believe the undertaking, thanks to the efforts of a benevolent lady who devotes much of her time to its management, is now doing very well indeed. I have not heard much about it of late, as South of the Thames is not my beat.|