BALLADS

Broadside ballads were mass-produced, single-sheet publications, printed on one side with popular songs. They were often illustrated with crude black-and-white woodcuts and sold cheaply on the streets of towns and villages. The trade in ballads and broadsides began in the sixteenth century and continued well into the early twentieth century. The nineteenth century saw a shift toward a more urban, rather than rural, audience, and broadsides that have been preserved by a few foresighted Victorian collectors are a crucial source of knowledge about popular nineteenth-century street literature and urban vernacular song. The ballads were cheaply produced; they are full of typographical errors and the poems themselves display little literary merit. The topics covered range from criminals and trials, to issues of poverty and social concern, or scandal, politics, and the state of the nation.

 

Crampton, Thomas. [A Collection of ballads printed in London: formed by T. Crampton]. Vol. 4, [s. n.], [18--]

Crampton, Thomas. [A Collection of ballads printed in London: formed by T. Crampton]. Vol. 8, [s. n.], [18--]

Baring-Gould, Sabine. [A Collection of ballads: chiefly printed in London by Catnach, J. Pitts and others, mostly between 1800 and 1870: but with a few of earlier date and with a few prose broadsides: collected by the Rev. Sabine Baring Gould; with manuscript indexes]. Vol. 5, [s. n.], [18--]

Baring-Gould, Sabine. [A Collection of ballads: chiefly printed in London by Catnach, J. Pitts and others, mostly between 1800 and 1870: but with a few of earlier date and with a few prose broadsides: collected by the Rev. Sabine Baring Gould; with manuscript indexes]. Vol. 8, [s. n.], [18--]
 

CRYSTAL PALACE SATURDAY CONCERTS

In 1855 a series of Saturday concerts was launched under the direction of Manns, a crucial figure in the history of music at the Palace who was to continue in the role of general music director until his retirement in 1901. Weekly concerts were given on Saturday afternoons from October until April in the Concert Room, which offered a performing space largely free from disturbance of other visitors to the main body of the Palace, although it was not fully completed until 1868. Over the years Manns developed the band from a small wind group plus strings into a full symphony orchestra of about ninety players. The Saturday series was important for bringing symphonic repertoire and a range of new works to large audiences, notably the world premieres of three of Schubert's symphonies (no. 2 on October 20, 1877; no. 1 on February 5, 1881; and no. 3 on February 19, 1881), together with the first English performance of his Ninth Symphony on April 5, 1856. Among modern works, the Crystal Palace hosted the first British performance of Berlioz's Grande Messe des morts on March 26, 1883, as well as many pieces that subsequently failed to join the regular concert repertoire.

 

Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. Febraury 25th, 1899; November 10th, 1900. TS Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. British Library

Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. November 3rd, 1888; April 20th 1889. MS Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. British Library

Crystal Palace Programme of the Twelfth Saturday concert. January 16th, 1875; July 17th, 1875. MS Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. British Library

Crystal Palace. Season 1867-8. Programme. October 5th, 1867 - 8. MS Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. British Library 
 

DRURY LANE

Drury Lane, street and district of London, at first a place of fine residences, among which was that of the Drury family. It was the site of the original Drury Lane Theatre, which was built by Thomas Killigrew in 1663 under a charter from Charles II and called the Theatre Royal. After burning down (1672), the theater was rebuilt (1674) with Christopher Wren as architect. It was again rebuilt (1791–94) and again burned down (1809). The present Drury Lane Theatre was changed according to the design of Benjamin Wyatt in 1812. The oldest English theater still in use, it has at various times housed everything from a circus to opera.

Adapted from: "Drury Lane." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™, Columbia University Press, 2019
 

 

The Triumph of Figaro, or the Hypocrite Unmasked, a Play in 5 Acts. 18. MS Drury Lane under Sheridan, 1776-1812: Manuscript Plays and Correspondence: Plays and dramatic pieces intended for performance and representation at Drury Lane Theatre 26,009. British Library

Barrett, Oscar. Midsummer Night's Dream. Orchestral parts. [1888]. MS Drury Lane Theatre Archive Mus. 1716/46/1. British Library

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley. Original Letters from Richard Brinsley Sheridan, M.P., as Manager of Drury Lane Theatre, to Richard Peake, Treasurer, with Accounts, Agreements, Memoranda, Etc.; 1780-1812 and A.D. Included Also, Besides a Large Number of Newspaper Cuttings Relative to Members of the Sheridan Family, Are the Following Letters, Etc. 1780-1812 and n.d. MS Drury Lane under Sheridan, 1776-1812: Manuscript Plays and Correspondence: Egerton 1,975. British Library

Sheridan, R. B. The Statesman,' by R. B. Sheridan. 18. MS Drury Lane under Sheridan, 1776-1812: Manuscript Plays and Correspondence: Plays and dramatic pieces intended for performance and representation at Drury Lane Theatre 25,939. British Library
 

PENNY DREADFULS

The penny dreadful was a 19th-century publishing phenomenon. In the 1830s, increasing literacy and improving technology saw a boom in cheap fiction for the working classes. ‘Penny bloods’ was the original name for the booklets that, in the 1860s, were renamed penny dreadfuls and told stories of adventure, initially of pirates and highwaymen, later concentrating on crime and detection. Issued weekly, each ‘number’, or episode, was eight (occasionally 16) pages, with a black-and-white illustration on the top half of the front page. Double columns of text filled the rest, breaking off at the bottom of the final page, even if it was the middle of a sentence. 

The bloods were astonishingly successful, creating a vast new readership. Between 1830 and 1850 there were up to 100 publishers of penny-fiction, as well as the many magazines which now wholeheartedly embraced the genre. At first the bloods copied popular cheap fiction’s love of late 18th-century gothic tales, such as The Flying Dutchman. Highwaymen remained a favourite. Gentleman Jack was published over four years, without too much worry for historical accuracy or continuity. Dick Turpin was a great favourite. His story, and especially the time he (supposedly) rode the 200 miles from London to York overnight, was retold endlessly, including in Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road. Later, after highwaymen and then evil aristocrats fell out of fashion, penny-bloods found even more success with stories of true crimes, especially murders. And if there were no good real-life crimes current, then the bloods invented them. The most successful of them was the story of Sweeney Todd. The ‘Demon Barber’ first appeared in a blood entitled The String of Pearls, which began publication in 1846.

(Adapted from: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/penny-dreadfuls)

 

The Flying Dutchman: or, The demon ship. [1830]

Viles, Edward. Black Bess: or, The knight of the road: a tale of the good old times. Vol. 3, E. Harrison, [186-]

Clifford, Paul. Gentleman Jack. No. 1-8: or, Life on the road: a romance of interest abounding in hair breadth escapes of the most exciting character. E. Llyod, 1899

Lea, Charlton. Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. No. 1-48. [s. n.], [1880]
 

ROYAL PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY

The Society's origins date from January 24, 1813, when a handful of musicians met at the house of Henry Dance. A few weeks later a larger group of thirty “professors of music” agreed to associate themselves under the title of the Philharmonic Society, its “primary object” being “the encouragement of the superior branches of Music, by the establishment of Concerts, with a full and complete Orchestra, and combining therein the highest talents that can be procured” (Laws of the Philharmonic Society). The honor of organizing the first public concerts in London is usually credited to John Banister, whom Samuel Pepys records as giving concerts in the Mitre Tavern in Fleet Street as early as 1660. Similarly, those organized by Thomas Britton, “the musical coalman,” from 1678, illustrate that increasingly music was being performed outside court and aristocratic circles. Over the last two hundred years the library of the Society has amassed much important music material in score and parts to support the concert series. This material is mostly in manuscript and includes many important autograph scores or copies of works performed.

 

Haydn, Joseph. Symphony no. 98. Full score. 1841. MS Royal Philharmonic Society Music Manuscripts: Manuscript Music from the Library of the Royal Philharmonic Society RPS MS 66. British Library

Van Beethoven, Ludwig. Leonora. n.d. MS Royal Philharmonic Society Music Manuscripts: Manuscript Music from the Library of the Royal Philharmonic Society RPS MS 11. British Library

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Bella mia fiamma. Resta, O cara. 1844. MS Royal Philharmonic Society Music Manuscripts: Manuscript Music from the Library of the Royal Philharmonic Society RPS MS 134. British Library

Schubert, Franz. Symphony no 9 in C (D944). n.d. MS Royal Philharmonic Society Music Manuscripts: Manuscript Music from the Library of the Royal Philharmonic Society RPS MS 196. British Library
 

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