Hoxton Hall once offered singing groups, magic lantern shows and the opening night’s highlight, Professor Logrenia, the conjuror and Royal magician, and ‘the wonderful performing Russian cat, learned Canary birds and White Mice’.
Hoxton Hall’s history began with local philanthropist James Mortimer, who, in 1863 built a music hall to “combine instruction with amusement”. The hall was sold to James McDonald in 1866 where it continued to be an affordable venue to entertain the working classes with acts including music, circus and even performing dogs! Unfortunately the music hall era didn’t last long and by 1871 McDonald lost his licence. However, being part of music hall history has had an ongoing influence on the programming at Hoxton Hall – events by the British Music Hall Society and Marathon Music Hall have been staged in the space, engaging with and building upon the music hall heritage of the building.
Hoxton Hall’s history as a music hall is a relatively small part of the rich history our collections cover, and unfortunately many early materials have not survived the years. However, we do have some surviving documents of the time, perhaps the most exciting of which is a playbill dated 12th July 1867 from the McDonalds Music Hall era.
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.
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