Hoxton Hall was originally built in 1863 by James Mortimer in the traditional music hall architecture style. When the hall was first built it was named Mortimer Hall. The hall was later bought by James McDonald and renamed McDonald’s Music Hall.

McDonald’s Music Hall was quite a success and many of Music Hall’s major names played there in its early years. Such was its popularity that in 1867 McDonald enlarged its capacity by raising the height of the Hall, adding a new upper balcony, and extending the previous rear balcony along both sides.

Music Halls originated in the 19th Century in taverns and saloon bars offering food, drink and entertainment. As their popularity grew, purpose built buildings began to emerge and in Hoxton, the Britannia Theatre opened in 1858 as a lavish purpose built venue, entertaining the likes of Charles Dickens. Hoxton Hall, opened a few years later, in 1863, a more modest hall, built by James Mortimer. Since then, the hall has undergone several periods of substantial building work, by each of the managing organisations, which have added space and changed the purpose of the building. Hoxton Hall’s recent and substantial renovations were to bring it both up to date and restore some of the old character of the building, in-keeping with the music hall style.

The archive contains both paper documentation about the building, its history and architecture which will be of interest to architecture and music hall enthusiasts, but by far the best way to experience the hall’s architecture is to come visit for yourself!

Hoxton Hall has a fully catalogued archive collection based at Hackney Archives in Dalston Library. This archive is accessible to the public during opening hours, with trained staff on hand to help. For how to get there and opening times please see here.

We also have a fully digitised archive available to view by appointment via Hoxton Hall

Discover more about Hoxton Hall’s unique history by downloading the Hoxton Hall Experience app and visiting us. This sensory journey will guide you around the building and immerse you in Hoxton Hall’s past through a combination of digital and live installation.

Hoxton Hall Experience>>

Arts based Heritage events and workshops take place throughout the year. Whether it’s taking part in arts and crafts family activities or dancing your socks off at a good old fashioned tea dance our heritage activities offer something for everyone and are designed to excite and engage the local community in the rich and varied history of the hall and its locality. Check out DO and SEE

Hoxton Hall: A short history of Hoxton Hall and its locality

Cload, P. (2008) Hoxton Hall 1983 to 2008 – A Personal History – The launch of Hoxton Hall as a Community Arts Centre

Available for purchase at Hoxton Hall reception