Brixton music hall history – can you help?

Cinquevalli – real name Emil Otto Paul Braun – was a juggler and strongman who lived in Brixton’s Mostyn Road from 1893 until his death in 1918. He performed for 44 years, including an appearance in the first music hall Royal Command Performance in July 1912. He is buried in West Norwood Cemetery.

The wonderful Loughborough Road Histories website is involved in a project, already generating enthusiasm, to research Brixton’s music hall history.

Brixton, including Loughborough Road, was home to hundreds, if not thousands, of music hall and variety performers and associated businesses from around the 1850s to the 1960s.

Loughborough Road Histories’ Tracey Gregory, and Christine Beddoe, who has music hall ancestors who lived in the neighbourhood, have launched the project – Brixton in the good old days – That was the entertainment it was – with a small grant from the Society for Theatre Research.

The original plan was to launch the findings of the project at next year’s Lambeth Heritage Festival.

However, such has been the enthusiasm for the project that Tracey and Chris will be running “Music Hall Wednesday” during this year’s festival in September. with talks and panel sessions each Wednesday evening – all online due to ongoing restrictions.

Sue McKenzie, former Lambeth resident and Lambeth archivist, will introduce Music Hall In Brixton

Charlie Holland will give an illustrated talk on three pre-eminent jugglers – the Mongadors, Cinquevalli, and Hanvarr and Lee

Bill Linskey, chair of the Brixton Society and of the Lambeth Local History Forum, will use his collection of programmes from the Brixton Empress, which stood at the junction of Brighton Terrace and Bernay’s Grove, and more to showcase the history of Brixton’s main music hall venue

Alison Young of the Music Hall Society will join a panel of music hall experts.

Full details will be in the festival programme due out in August.

Anyone with family music hall roots in Brixton or other music hall connections is urged to get in touch.

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