Friday, October 14, 2011

Hanover-square Rooms -- The place for concerts

In 1774 were built the concert rooms that were to dominate the Georgian musical scene, and continue to attract music lovers until nearly the end of the nineteenth century.
Hanover-square Rooms shown in blue
At the corner of Hanover Square and Hanover Street, was a piece of freehold property belonging to the Earl of Plymouth. He sold the freehold on June 28, 1774 and it was conveyed to Giovanni Gallini and his partners, among whom was John Christian Bach. On the site, they built a structure consisting of a principal room 95 ft by 35 ft on the first floor, with an arched ceiling decorated by Cipriani. It could house up to 500 people. There was also on this level a smaller room known for a time as the Queen's Tea Room. There was a large ground floor room as well.

The principal room originally had an orchestra 'stage' on a raised dais at the east end and an organ. In 1804, when the Concert of Ancient Music leased space for concerts the principal room was altered: the orchestra moved to the west end, and the east end held three boxes for the royal family and other notables. There was also a 'splendid refurbishment' to the thirty year old chambers.
The principal room in 1844
The Hanover-square Rooms, from their very earliest days, attracted the greatest performers of the time. John Christian Bach was among the first concert-givers. Haydn performed regularly in the 1790s and his Messiah was performed as a benefit for the Royal Society of Musicians for several decades. In 1798, Miss Linwood's celebrated needlework pictures were exhibited, perhaps in that ground floor room, and other events such as lectures, readings and meetings were held in the rooms.

In June 1808, the Cambrian Musical Prodigy, Miss Randles, age 8, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, performed with Catalani and Naldi.

Samuel Wesley played violin sonatas in the Hanover-square Rooms and in May of 1810, he hosted a Musical Morning-Party which, according to The Monthly Mirror, begins
at one o'clock, terminates about four, and in the present state of fashionable morning society, (rides, walks, calls, ennui, and idleness), we think it a very laudable institution.
According to one version of the story, Beau Brummell's break with the Prince Regent--when Brummell is reported to have said "Alvanley, who's your fat friend?"--took place at the Hanover-square Rooms.

One hundred years after they opened, the last concerts were held at the Rooms. In 1900 the building was demolished. We often hear of the Argyll Rooms, Almack's of course, Vauxhall and all the gentlemen's clubs; we need to add the Hanover-square Rooms to our list of locations for Regency social events.

This week I am celebrating the Fifth Birthday of my publisher Uncial Press! I am giving away to one lucky winner two CD-ROM's of my Uncial Press Regency Romance releases--one of "The Education of Portia", and one of "Love's Liberty". Please comment here on this blog post answering the question "What is your all-time favourite Regency or Jane Austen romance?". Enter from 10:00 AM CST Friday October 14 (today!) to 10:00 PM CST Thursday October 20, 2011 for a chance to win both e-books. I will do a random drawing and announce the winner in next Friday's blog post.

Do visit Uncial Press this month--they are giving away an ebook every day and having two draws--one for a Kobo and one for a Kindle.

Good Luck!

'Til next time,


Lady Síle Eversley said...

My favourite Regency hero? Oh where do I start - F Darcy has to be one, but I also like Heyer's Regency Buck.

Anonymous said...

I could not possibly choose between Jane Austen's novels.

Heyer Fan said...

Have been enjoying your blog for some time. It's hard to choose just one favorite regency, but I will say The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.

Anne Gallagher said...

I think my favorite Jane Austen romance would have to be "Emma". She's so much fun to watch at her less than stellar matchmaking skills.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Lesley-Anne,
I'd have to say I'm torn between Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. My favorite character has to be Elizabeth Bennett.


desitheblonde said...

i love the story i now what you mean
about wanted to destroy the older building i am form ohio and then
they wanted the Franklyn manor is haunted and old they try burn it down but now someone is going tog get it back to the house you can go to clevland ohio and look it up

peggy said...

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is my all time jane austin favorite.Mr.dracy

The Scarf Princess said...

Great post! My favorite Jane Austen book is definitely Pride & Prejudice. And I've been enjoying the anniversary party. Lots of great books being given away.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

orelukjp0 said...

I really like Pride and Prejudice.

SherryGLoag said...

Interesting post. Mt favourite Jane Austen is Pride and Prejudice, and at the moment my fabourite Hayer is Devil's Cub.

Roy said...

It would have to be Pride & Prejudice for me

katie said...

My favorite Jane Austen is Persuasion.It maybe because it's the first one I read before I saw it but more likely because its about second chances and following your heart no matter what others say.

Debby said...

Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy are my favorites. Congrats to Uncial on their birthday.
debby236 at

Anonymous said...

What a lovely building and such an impressive history. It really is a shame it was demolished. Curious why it hasn't been featured in more Regencies. It is the perfect venue for many scenes. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

I am a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE fan. Darcy is the perfect example of a reserved, stand-offish character who has unseen depths.

Thank you for the giveaway.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Hello, I really liked Miss Darcy Falls in Love, by Sharon Lathan. :) -laura

booklover0226 said...

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, hands down.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Rebekah E. said...

Northanger Abbey is my favorite Jane Austin. I just love how the girl of the story gets so lost in the books she reads.

Erica McFarland said...

I think my favorite Jane Austen would have to be Emma. It's the first one I read that really made me fall in love with the period.

Sharon said...

My favorite Regency author & hero are Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy. I fell in love with the book, author, character & time period in my teenage years. :)