The Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London was originally commissioned by William Bullock as a museum to house his collection (which included curiosities brought back from the South Seas by Captain Cook). It was one of the first buildings in England to be influenced by the Egyptian style, inspired by the growth of awareness in Europe of the various temples on the Nile, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. The Hall was completed in 1812 at a cost of £16,000. The museum was variously referred to as the London Museum, the Egyptian Hall or Museum, or Bullock's Museum.
By the end of the 19th century, the Hall was also associated with magic and spiritualism as a number of performers had hired it for shows. It was also the venue chosen for the showing of some of the first ever films (or animated photographs) to be shown. The hall was used principally for popular entertainments and lectures.
John Nevil Maskelyne and George Alfred Cooke, took a three month lease on the "small" auditorium or room located one flight upstairs They were running competition against another magician Dr. Lynn, who was showing in the larger 300 seat room on the ground floor. After a few weeks Lynn left and Maskelyne remained on for 32 years As the hall came under the control of the Maskelyne family, it grew famous as England's Home of Mystery. All sorts of clever illusions were staged including the exposition of fraudulent spiritualistic manifestations then being practiced by various charlatans who were imposing on a credulous public.
When in 1903 the hall was demolished to make room for blocks of flats and offices, the Maskelynes transferred their entertainment to the St. George's Hall, Langham Place - now known as Maskelyne's Theatre.
Some of the magicians that performed at the Egyptian Hall were:
- ↑ "The Egyptian Hall in London Center of A Magical Universe" By John Booth, Genii 1979 February
- ↑ Egyptian Hall and the Maskelynes by David Price in Genii 1960 January to Genii 1960 July.
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