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Victorian Leisure; a spotlight on entertainment and science

18 MAY - 4 DEC

To pre-book your free, Victorian Leisure entrance tickets during half term from 1st to 4th June, and to pre-book your Saturday open ticket on 5th June please follow this link:

Explore an era of wondrous scientific discoveries, theatre and entertainment in our Victorian Leisure exhibition.  

Fascinating objects on display include examples of early motion picture such as the zoetrope and magic lantern, to an architectural model of a Victorian theatre, Victorian outfits and an extravagant, green fringed, theatre handbill.

The exhibition is inspired by the 150th anniversary of The Royal Albert Hall, London, and indeed its precursor, The Great Exhibition of 1851.  Not forgetting of course Daventry’s very own Assembly Hall, built in 1871, (also 150 years ago this year), for meetings and entertainment including spelling bees, concerts and in the late 1880s becoming the regular venue for the Pytchley Hunt Ball.

The Victorian era was one of rapid change and growth, especially in the field of science with advancements in technology and industrialisation.  The Great Exhibition celebrated the world’s industry, arts and culture, however, it also acted as a showcase for Britain and its Empire, demonstrating they were the forerunners in innovation and design.

After the huge success of the Great Exhibition in 1851, Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, envisioned the building of a Royal Music Hall. The foundation stone was laid by Queen Victoria in 1867, six years after the death of Prince Albert.  The hall’s intended name was originally ‘The Central Hall of Arts and Science’, however the name was changed to the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Science by Queen Victoria in memory of her late husband.

Our Victorian Leisure exhibition seeks to capture the spirit and ethos behind such institutions as the Royal Albert Hall, sharing a selection of awe-inspiring Victorian inventions and too, the magic of theatre and entertainment; something we have all missed this past year or so.  We hope the exhibition brings you joy, and we look forward to seeing you soon.