Circus poster: Mlle. Pauline Lafayette on the Tight Rope
Saloon theatres were, as the name implies, theatres attached to public houses. The Albert Saloon in Britannia Fields was particularly notable in that it had two stages, one facing the interior of the building and the other an enormous sculpted garden that purported hold 10,000 people. This ensured that the Albert could run performances all year round. The theatre has long since been demolished, but the public houses survives today as the Standard Tavern.The bill here is fairly typical of a metropolitan circus bill in the mid-Victorian period: with clowns, acrobats, performing animals and historic tableaux (re-enactments of famous scenes from history). It also demonstrates a key change in the operation of circuses in the 19th century: where once circuses travelled about the country with their own big tops, the century-long boom in the urban population meant that it was often more profitable to build or rent a fixed location for circus performances.
- Article by:
- Jacky Bratton
- Popular culture
At the beginning of the 19th century, there were only two main theatres in London. Emeritus Professor Jacky Bratton traces the development of theatre throughout the century, exploring the proliferation of venues, forms and writers.
- Article by:
- Paul Schlicke
- The novel 1832 - 1880
Paul Schlicke considers the contrast between fact and fancy in Hard Times, exploring how Dickens uses the excitement of the circus to challenge the doctrines of 19th-century philosophers and political economists.