song-and-supper rooms



  • Small British venues that featured popular entertainment inthe early 19th century. They developed from earlier traditions oftavern entertainment, such as the 'sing-song' taproom concerts givenat Sadler's Wells, the Coal Hole, and the Cyder Cellars. When theLicensing Act of 1751 was passed (see licence), 'musick'or 'harmonic' clubs were formed to avoid the new restrictions. Thoseattending the song-and-supper rooms were served food and drink attheir tables while being entertained by 'free' programmes of varietythat included ballads and comic songs, jugglers, acrobats, and monologues.

    The most popular of these venues was Evans's in CoventGarden, London, which opened in about 1820 in the cellar of a tavern.Entertainers such as Sam Cowell and Charles Sloman performed thereand early minstrel shows were introduced. Like many othersong-and-supper rooms, Evans's eventually became a music hall.