Poster for a benefit performance at Gatti's Palace of Varieties
Printer: Merser & Sons
Medium: Print on paper
When brothers Carlo and Giovanni Gatti with Giuseppe Marconi received compensation for the loss of their restaurant in Hungerford Market, which had been demolished to make way for Charing Cross Station, they opened another in the Westminster Bridge Road. This was licensed as a Music Hall in 1865 and, to avoid confusion with the Gatti's other hall in the arches under the new Charing Cross Station, it became known as Gatti's-Over-the-Water or in-the-Road. Rebuilt in 1883 to hold 1,183 people in a two-tier auditorium, it reopened under the name of Gatti's Palace of Varieties.
This poster of 1881 advertises a benefit show. The artistes featured on such a programme would not have been paid, so only the most successful performers appeared. Listed on this occasion are some of the best loved stars of the English music hall, including the "lions comiques" Alfred Vance (1840-1888), the "Great Vance", and George Leybourne (1842-1884), who sang such comic songs as 'Slap Bang, Here We Are Again' and 'Champagne Charlie'. Vance, in particular, was known for his 'Coster' songs written in cockney dialect. They included 'Costermonger Joe' and 'The Chickaleary Cove', which he performed with humour and bravado.