"a kind of passion - for the music hall; and more particularly for music-hall songs"
1913 poster for the Gaiety Music Hall, Birmingham
Creative Commons Attribution1913 poster for the Gaiety Music Hall, Birmingham - Credit: Malcolm Drew, Flickr
Gaiety Music Hall, Birmingham c.1907
Creative Commons AttributionGaiety Music Hall, Birmingham c.1907 - Credit: Malcolm Drew, Flickr

Music hall is a type of theatrical entertainment combining singing, dancing and speciality acts (such as magicians, ventriloquists and puppeteers). It is known in America as vaudeville.

It was popular in Britain between 1850 and 1960, and was an extension of the 'musical saloons' held in pubs and taverns in the early decades of the 19th Century. When special venues, known as music halls, were built for this kind of entertainment, the tradition of serving alcohol and sometimes food was retained.

The popularity of music halls reached its peak during the First World War, when they became associated with patriotic songs such as We Don't Want to Lose You and Keep the Home Fires Burning.


Listen to some music hall songs on Spotify:              Champagne Charlie (1867)

                                                                                  Down at the Old Bull and Bush (1903)

                                                                                  Nellie Dean (1905)

                                                                                  Keep the Home Fires Burning  (1914)