Rivalry Between the Alhambra and the New Concert Hall

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Theatre
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The music hall press notices in the late 1960s make an interesting study. It is obvious that considerable rivalry had developed between the Lowesmoor houses that stood so close to each other. In August 1869, the New Concert Hall put on a Ballet Sketch called 'The Death of Nelson', with 'Novel Mechanical effects and wonderful Metamorphoris, with scenes of original paintings, concluding with a Grand Allegorical Picture entitled 'Britannia Mourns Her Hero now at Rest'. To cheer things up a little, there followed Professor Brown performing on a bicycle; dancers and acrobats, and the 'Corp de Ballet in a New Divertissement'.

To counter this, the Alhambra (then known as  the 'Old Alhambra - The Home of the People), proprietor Mr. de Freece, Manager Mr. W. Harvey, put on the 'spectacular Grand Ballet Divertissement 'Fire and Water', with Gorgeous Transformation Scene, Cascade of Real Water, and a shower of Real Fire; enlivened by comics, mimics, vocalists and Negro comedians; and those 'Champion of Mid-Air - Madlle Geraldine the Graceful and George Leopold the Daring'.
The admission prices were as at the New Concert Hall, but a private box was available for  1s  6d.

The New Concert Hall followed with  'The Great Maclagan, the Celebrated Operatic Vocalist; Mrs Bousfield's Grecian Statuary in White Marble; and Mr. Henry Russell, singing his most popular entertainment was the travelling dramatic companies. Among them was the Bennett & Patch Company with its well-worn, but favourite melodramas of Maria Marten, East Lynne, and Naomi, which brought in the crowds to weep for the heroine and hiss at the villain. In October 1869, the noted Lupino Family starred at the New Concert Hall.

As the year wore on the entertainment became less inhibited, for in November, the Alhambra presented 'Sylvester, the Charmed Monster'. and its rival had Madame Colonna, the Premier Danseuse and her renowned Parisian Can-Can Dancers'.
The Worcester Herald carried short reviews of both halls. There was an anxiety to assure its readers that music halls were not the deprayed places some thought them to be. Of the New Concert Hall, it reported: 'There is nothing in the slightest degree offensive ... Persons who do not believe in music halls' should try one visit to Messrs Hill and Brook's establishment'. Of the Alhambra, it reported: 'The Talent is of high class, and the entertainment which is very interesting, is conducted in an orderly and respectable manner'.