Christmas is a time for good cheer, festive gatherings, and seasonal entertainment treats: and what better Christmas treat could you imagine than a concert by the Lancashire Bell Ringers! This is the prospect that was on offer to the citizens of Halifax back in 1843, when "lovers of music and novelty" were "earnestly solicited to pay a visit and spare themselves regret which the must otherwise experience", to the Theatre in Halifax to see this "musical entertainment of a strictly moral nature". "The Theatre" - it needed no other name, it was the only one in Halifax at the time - stood on the spot where the Theatre Royal was later built.
The Lancashire Bell Ringers - seven men with a total of forty-two bells, conducted by the violinist Mr H Johnson - were all the rage at the time, and in the year following their Halifax Christmas gig they embarked upon a tour of America. The citizens of Halifax must have loved it - it would have been a bit like seeing the Beatles before they became world famous, with the added advantage that people of all denominations, however fastidious, might properly pay them a visit.
Bearing in mind the screaming fans, the blaring music, the hedonistic atmosphere, the management were at pains to point out that "the theatre will be well aired"!
|Illustration : The Illustrated London News, May 1843|