The Oxford. Located at the far end of Oxford Street, almost directly opposite Tottenham Court Road Station, is a Primark. If you care to look above the shop fronts lackluster window display, you will see the elegant architecture containing the tell tale signs of this building's former glory.
That former glory is that this Primark was once one of London’s many music halls. The Oxford was originally opened in 1861 at a number 6 Oxford Street, but after a series of fires it was rebuilt nearer to Tottenham Court Road on a bigger premises, reopening 1873. The Oxford was a West End music hall that catered for the elites of society. A young Winston Churchill even went here and rioted after a glass divide was put in to separate the bar from the theatre. Apparently he then marched down to Trafalgar Square where he delivered his maiden speech.
However, music hall was not always the entertainment of the upper classes. Music hall instead originally began, in an organic fashion, at the back of working class pubs. Here it provided entertainment from factory workers, dock workers and sailors. Despite this, it soon became highly popular and expanded beyond the working class pubs where it had begun. Before long purpose built halls, such as The Oxford, were being built and the performers became the pop stars of their day.
Music Hall is significant because it is seen by many as the first form of popular entertainment for the masses where the entertainers went on to become the pop and rock stars of their day.
If you want to see what a music hall is like, I would recommend visiting Wilton's Music Hall.
Each week I will be sharing with you some of the music related to the venue we have looked at and some of my favourite listens of the week. This week I have enjoying listening to some classic albums.
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan - By Bob Dylan - just an absolute classic and masterpiece.
Exodus - By Bob Marley and The Wailers - excellent record recorded in London
The Inevitable Train Wreck - By Beans on Toast - His live stream this week helped lighten the mood.