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Albion Street Music Hall

On July 2nd 1792, the first stone of the Music Hall in Albion Street was laid. The location is shown on the 1850 Edition of the Ordnance Survey Map of Leeds.

The ground floor of the building was used as a cloth hall. Sometimes called Tom Paine's hall, it provided accommodation for manufacturers who were excluded from the other cloth halls because they had not served as regular apprentices to the trade.

Upstairs were a picture gallery, a lecture room, and a larger Music Saloon, where there was room for about 850 people. A seating plan shows the arrangement of the room. The hall had an orchestra and a gallery, and from the arched roof hung glass chandeliers, each holding 20-30 wax candles.

The Music Hall opened in January 1794. An advertisement in the Intelligencer stated that the Manager of the Concerts announced  'that proper care will be taken that the room is well aired'. And in order 'to make the Road easy and commodious Torches will be placed at proper distances to light the carriages from Boar Lane' Concert goers were told that 'good fires would be kept in the room for some days before the performance' so that 'the public need have no apprehension of dampness'.

The hall was mostly used for public meetings and musical concerts Paganini played there in January 1832. A programme gives details of a concert given in 1797. The concerts were supported by subscriptions, which admitted a gentleman and a lady to each performance. Non-subscribers had to pay 3 shillings and sixpence each.

It was also used for variety entertainments as in February 1864 when Thurston's Odd Folks appeared alongside a humourous sketch entitled 'The Frightened Miser'. Demonstrations and exhibitions were put on, like the demonstration of the gas microscope in 1855, and Marshall's 'perestrephic' or moving panorama.

Playbills advertising these events often gave very detailed descriptions of the show, as was the case with Professor Anderson's 'Novelties of Magic Art', which also has a picture of the Professor at work. Hamilton's Continental Excursions, used diorama and other special effects to re-create four European tours.

Sometimes concerts were put on for a special occasion, like the marriage of the Princess Royal in 1858, and the hall was also used for banquets as in 1853 when the Mayor, John Shaw entertained his guests after the laying of the Foundation Stone for the Town Hall.

With the opening of the Town Hall in 1858, the use of the Music Hall declined, and it was closed in 1870.  It was later bought by Denby and Spinks, and used as a furniture store. The building was demolished in 1973, and the site is now occupied by British Home Stores. This is now part of Trinity Leeds shopping centre which opened in March 2013.














Click images to enlarge
Map, 1847
Map, 1847
Description of Gas Microscope
Description of Gas Microscope
Playbill
Playbill
Professor Anderson
Professor Anderson
Hamilton's Continental Excursion, 1866
Hamilton's Continental Excursion, 1866
The Music Hall building, 1949
The Music Hall building, 1949




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003