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Large Theatre

The Matchgirls worked hard, and played hard and they loved nothing more than a good old sing song and a night out at the Music Hall.


Match girls come out very strong on a Saturday night, when any number of them may be found at the Paragon Music Hall, in the Mile End Road; the Foresters’ Music Hall, in Cambridge Road; and the Sebright, at Hackney; The Eagle, in the City Road, used to be a favourite resort of these girls, and in bygone summers dancing on the crystal platform was their nightly amusement. They continue to be very fond of dancing, but they are even more attached to singing. They seem to know by heart the words of all the popular music hall songs of the day, and their homeward journey on Bank holidays from Hampstead Heath and Ching­ford, though musical, is decidedly noisy.

The police are as a rule extremely good to the match girls, and a constable will rarely interfere with them unless positively compelled to do so. It must be admitted, however, that to have half-a-dozen of these girls marching down the Bow Road singing at the top of their voices the chorus of “Ta-ra-ra ­Boom-de-ay,” or “Knocked ‘em in the Old Kent Road “ - these are at the present moment their favourites - is a little irritating to quiet-loving citizens.

'Down East and Up West', Montagu  Williams 1894

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