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Wiltons and the British Music Hall Society Weekend

September 29, 2013

Wilton's Neon

Simon Bashford, Pantomime Artiste Extraordinaire has very kindly sent us his blog on the “Wiltons Music Gall” Hosting of the “British Music Hall Society’s” weekend .


Thanks Simon, very pleased to host your tour of this historic event at Britain’s oldest surviving Music Hall.


From Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd September, the celebrated Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s East End hosted the National Festival of Music Hall and Variety, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the British Music Hall Society.


2013 has been a very exciting year for the society. I myself had the pleasure of performing in their A Night of Summer Music Hall on 11th June at the CAA, produced for the BMHS by Colin Simmons for Showscope Productions.

Founded in 1963 by Ray Mackender and my dear mate Gerald Glover, the society, a registered charity, is for everyone who is a fan of Music Hall and Variety.

David Carter Entertains

We were treated to a sensational 24 hours of Music Hall and Variety entertainment over 3 days with a packed programme of nationally respected guest speakers and performers.

Roy Hudd Interviews Ken Dodd   Alan Titchmarsh Interviews June Whitfield

Our Guest Speakers and Performers included:

Christopher Biggins
Geoff Bowden
Bryan Burdon
Wyn Calvin MBE
David Carter
Johnny Dennis
Ken Dodd OBE
Andy Eastwood
Chris Emmett
Steve Hewlett
Kate Garner
Gerry Glover
Vincent Hayes MBE and Brick Lane Music Hall
Chas Hodges
Jools Holland OBE
Paul Holman
Roy Hudd OBE
Ken Joy
Ruth Madoc
Mike Martin
Paper Moon Music Hall Company
Players Theatre Company
Michael Pointon
Keith and Ben Simmons
Tony Staveacre
Alan Titchmarsh MBE
Max Tyler
June Whitfield CBE
Chris Woodward

And The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, Patron of the British Music Hall Society.

Me Meeting John Major

The festival programme included the first public viewing in almost a century of the lost comedy short Dessert at Dan Leno’s House starring music hall star Dan Leno.

Dan Leno was regarded as the greatest comedian of the Victorian Music Hall, one whose career formed a bridge between the pantomime clowning of Joe Grimaldi in the early 19th century and the era of motion pictures.

The film has been recovered from a set of loose Mutoscope cards collected by former BBC radio presenter, writer and raconteur, John Henty. The cards have been scanned, restored and compiled into a digital film by Thomas Everchild of Studio 1919.

50th Anniversary Logo

There were music hall and variety exhibitions with original costumes worn by music hall greats including Max Miller, George Robey, Vesta Tilley, Bud Flanagan, and personal items including Little Tich’s boots, Florrie Forde’s make up box and an engraved tray belonging to Marie Lloyd. My personal favourites were Danny La Rue’s wigs and a costume from Hello Dolly

Danny La Rue's Costume & Wigs

A collection of rare memorabilia celebrating the remarkable career of Ken Dodd OBE, collected by Geoff and Glenis Quible, was also on display.

A gallery of original posters by collector Nick Charlesworth including the Wood Green Empire, Chelsea Palace, London Palladium, Finsbury Park Empire, Collins’ Music Hall, Hackney Empire and The Metropolitan

The programme included a lunchtime presentation of over 300 music hall and variety posters and images projected on to the stage wall.

Curated by Carl Kirk of the University of Northampton, the collection has been collated from the British Music Hall Society, David Drummond’s Pantomime Collection, Roy Hudd’s Music Hall Archive Project at New Suffolk College, and the Theatres Trust.

The Boys Discuss Variety

Wilton’s Music Hall was the ideal location to celebrate this very special occasion. For more information about Wilton’s please visit and check out the official BMHS website, maybe join?!

Wilton's Exterior

Simon BASHFORD – (a proud BMHS Member)


From → Miscellaneous

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