On 11 June 2020, we were joined by Daniel Snowman and Charlie Taverner for our monthly IHR Fellows seminar. The session was chaired by Catherine Clarke, Director of the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community at the IHR.
Daniel Snowman, IHR Senior Fellow
‘What do you do when your theatre burns down?’ – The destruction of the Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden in 1856
On 5 March 1856, the 'Royal Italian Opera' at Covent Garden was destroyed by fire. The annual season was due to begin a few weeks later with artists booked, repertoire chosen, tickets sold. Could it go ahead? And what chance was there that the theatre might one day be rebuilt? Basing his research on the unpublished diaries of Frederick Gye, the man in charge, Daniel examines some of the political, economic and social considerations that had to be taken into account by this impresario in extremis.
Charlie Taverner, EHS Anniversary Fellow at the IHR
'The art of crying: London's hawkers and their sounds, c. 1600–1900'
Cries of ‘Four for six pence Mackrell!’ and ‘Come buy my watercresses!’ once rung through London's streets. Throughout the city's past, hawkers' advertising calls have inspired nostalgia and drawn complaints, but they were also an essential tool of street retail, demanding effort and skill. In this paper, I discuss how we might 'hear' these cries and, taking a long view, appreciate their enduring importance in the soundscape.