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Keep the Home Fires Burning: Songs of the First World War

Thursday 19 March 2015 £10Book now

Starts  7.30pm. Doors open 7pm. 

Join us for an evening of the songs which bought communities together at home and in the trenches.

During the war Music Hall still enjoyed success and its performers rallied to support the war effort by singing patriotic and sentimental songs to boost morale and promote recruitment.  Songs such as ‘We Don't Want to Lose You, but We Think You Ought to Go’ proved popular and songs about home resonated throughout. ‘A Long Way to Tipperary’ was the first hit - a lively tune with fond thoughts of returning home and ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning, released in 1914, remained popular throughout and made a name for its young composer Ivor Novello.

As war continued, upbeat messages about staying cheerful and carrying on, such as ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’, played a vital role in keeping spirits up. However, there began to emerge a note of cynicism, brought home from the front, most notoriously expressed in 1917 by ‘Oh! It’s a lovely war’.

If Music Hall in WW1 had an anthem, it was Harry Lauder’s Keep right on to the end of the road. Lauder’s only son was killed in action and the song written by his grieving father remains one of the most enduring songs of the conflict. The chorus epitomises the sacrifice and stoicism of a nation confronted with the calamity of The Great War. Keep right on to the end of the road - Keep right on to the end - With the help of Music Hall people did exactly that, united in a shared experience whether they were at home, on the Western Front or stationed further afield.

Sinead O'Kelly: Soprano
Mark Nathan: Baritone

Paul Mckenzie: Piano

‘That Wondrous Child’:  A talk by Janet Snowman

Thursday 23 April 2015 £7Book now

Starts at  7.30pm. Doors open 7pm. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE IS THURSDAY 23 APRIL not as stated on the events flyer. 

Kissed by Emma Hamilton, feted by the great and the good and portrayed in paint, print, pottery, caricature and commemorative art such as medals by some of the most popular artists of the day, the young actor William Henry West Betty, born in 1791, caused both chaos and a sensation when he made his first appearances in London at Covent Garden in 1804.  The great actors of the day are said to have thought that their own careers were in peril owing to the child’s popularity.

How did British artists depict famous child musicians and actors in a period in which such a culture of celebrity flourished, and childhood itself was celebrated? 

This evening’s talk will consider the work of artists from c.1770s-1810, such as John Russell, Sir William Beechey, George Romney, John Opie and many others, in their depictions of the British infant performer.

Master Betty, known also as the Infant Roscius, is buried on the East Side of Highgate Cemetery. 

Janet Snowman is Curator of art and Iconography at The Royal academy of Music Museum

Eleanor Marx - Life, Love, Legacy : a talk by Rachel Holmes

Wednesday 20 May 2015 £10Book now

The Marx Memorial Lecture 2015

Starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm. 

In 1954 the remains of Karl and Jenny Marx, their grandson and housekeeper Helen Demuth in Highgate Cemetery was exhumed and re-interred in a monumental new tomb and the urn containing the ashes of their youngest daughter finally buried with them. 

Revolutionary, internationalist, socialist, feminist, trade unionist, translator, educator -- Eleanor Marx is one of British history's great change makers.  Rachel Holmes introduces Eleanor Marx and how she changed the world.

Rachel Holmes is the author of Eleanor Marx: A Life (Bloomsbury, May 2014), which was serialised on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and rated one of the best reads of 2014 by The Telegraph.  Holmes is also the author of The Hottentot Venus: The life and death of Saartjie Baartman (Bloomsbury) and The Secret Life of Dr James Barry (Viking & Tempus Books).  She writes regularly for the UK national press and international publications and regularly features across the cultural and political media.

Please note change of date: this event was originally advertised for 13 May 2015.