Saturday, May 25, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Tragedy at the Colosseum Music-Hall, 1878

The Fatal Panic and Crush at the Colosseum Music-Hall, Liverpool in 1878
Sir Luke Fildes, 1878
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This print shows an illustration of the fatal panic and crush at the Colosseum Music-Hall, Liverpool in 1878.   It was published by The Illustrated London News in the same year.  Sir Luke Fildes, (KB, KCVO, RA, born 1844 - died 1927) served as the illustrator. 

The Colosseum Music Hall in Liverpool had been converted around 1850 from an octagonal-shaped Unitarian Chapel which had been built in 1791.  The structure was heavily altered to accommodate two auditoria, one for variety acts and one for straight theater.  The alterations to the building had been made poorly and hastily and, on October 11, 1878, part of the ceiling fell—crushing 37 people and injuring many others in the ensuring panic.

By 1879, the theatre—which had been closed since the tragedy—reopened after having undergone extensive repair and renovation.  Gone were the two auditoria—replaced with one which could hold 3000 people.  Sadly, the tragedy tainted the theatre and the new incarnation of the venue failed, closing and reopening again in 1880 as the Star Music Hall.  Since that time, the theatre has undergone many changes and been called by many different names.  By 1916 it had become a warehouse.  The structure was bombed during the Second World War and was, then, subsequently demolished.

No comments: