Originally of brick and stone but since painted, the Music Hall was built in 1853 to replace an earlier Music Hall by Charles Eyes which had burned down. The colonnade on the rear ground floor is thought to have survived the fire. The auditorium was at first-floor level with shops below but the whole is thought to have become retail soon after opening. It is presently occupied by two bars, L1 and Reflex. On the keystone head of every ground floor arch is Neptune's head. At first floor level there are three tall windows (Halle Des Modes is written across the tops, an earlier retail incarnation). A frieze terminated by lion's heads surmounts the windows. Above the tall first floor, the second floor has three lunette reliefs with musical themes. These are reading from the left: a scroll (perhaps) of sheet music, a harp and a lyre. Along the Concert Street elevation the lion's head frieze continues and there are six more bays with musical reliefs. To the rear, above the colonnade, is a large set of stained glass windows, sadly hidden under a good deal of urban grime. They can still be viewed from inside the bar, but you would need to be there at whatever time the afternoon/evening sun best angles through the coloured glass.
In 1848 Charles Eyes'
earlier Musical Hall was registered only as the business premises of
R.S. Keys, described as a papier mache manufacturer. A year later R.S
Keys was still there, sharing number fifty with C. Seaton, a paper
stainer. There is little evidence to suggest that either incarnation of
The Music Hall was much of a success as an entertainment venue.
Alan Maycock © 2008
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