Playbill for the Grand provincial tour of Messrs. Strange & Wilson's great pictorial, scientific, musical, and illusionary entertainment


Charles Dickens’s (1812–1870) A Christmas Carol was first published on 19 December 1843. The story of the old miser who, following visits by three ghosts, reforms into a generous and popular benefactor, was an immediate critical and popular success.

Stagings of the work immediately followed, continuing throughout the Victorian period – as shown by this poster (from over 30 years later) promising the latest in entertainment technology.

In July 1877 at the Royal Assembly Rooms at Weston-super-Mare – a popular playground for working-class trippers – summer audiences could enjoy the story with more projectional wonders, Pepper’s ‘Proteus’ and ‘Strange and Wilson’s Ætherscope’. Prices ranged from sixpence to three shillings, at a time when a pint of beer cost about twopence.

Many notions of a ‘traditional Christmas’ such as greetings cards, trees (a German custom popularised by Prince Albert, 1819–1861) and carol singing date from the early 1840s, and A Christmas Carol helped establish today’s image of the season – for instance, the idealisation of fireside social gatherings with unlimited food and drink – as well as popularising the very expression ‘Merry Christmas’.

Full title:
Grand provincial tour of Messrs. Strange & Wilson's great pictorial, scientific, musical, and illusionary entertainment
16-21 July 1877
Advertisement / Ephemera / Playbill / Illustration / Image
Royal Assembly Room Weston-super-Mare
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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