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At The Eagle

November 8, 2023
by the gentle author


It was my great delight to come across this precious scrapbook of playbills from the Eagle Theatre & Pleasure Gardens in the City Rd at the Bishopsgate Institute.

Old playbills have a charisma all their own, combining bravura typography with hyperbolic promises designed to send your imagination racing. Once you start envisaging the reality of these extraordinary shows you are spellbound.


Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

4 Responses leave one →
  1. November 8, 2023

    It’s highly interesting to note that the enthusiasm that typographic eye-catchers inspired in people almost 200 years ago is actually comparable to today’s Internet. There is “no chance” of escaping these temptations!

    Love & Peace

  2. November 8, 2023

    This is a place that I know well and last visited in 2022. My great great aunt, Eleanor Crudgington, learned to dance in the Grecian Saloon ( later the Royal Grecian Theatre) at Mrs Conquest’s school of ballet. She became a child star and later solo performer under the stage name of Nellie Estelle, later Elena Estelle. As she was born in 1854 and began to dance in 1860, these playbills predate her period of activity. She performed with Marie Lloyd so the two may have known one another. The site of the Grecian Saloon is now a police station but The Eagle has some lovely original features. I imagined punters refreshing themselves in the Tavern before watching little Eleanor and her friends dance.
    Eleanor continued to dance and to teach ballet herself. By all accounts ( i.e. a legal case) she was a hard taskmaster and very strict. I think she would be quite proud that although I cannot dance a step, I have continued to practice her philosophy of being a strict teacher.

  3. November 8, 2023

    Well! – I am breathless. I can only imagine the unbridled mirth at the JW Peel Print Shop as they set the upside-down type slug (“CLOWN”) to illuminate the startling abilities of Mr. Wells, The

    If I may beg leave most respectfully, I believe I will stagger to my fainting couch, and attempt to recover from this stupendous array of vintage typography, dingbats, and fonts.

    GADZOOKS! Hurrah and huzzah.

  4. John Campbell permalink
    November 8, 2023

    I would be interested to know what the ‘For the benefit of Mrs…’ means if anyone knows?

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