The music-hall as we know it is a comparatively modern institution, dating from the middle of last century. The music-hall-the term “ variety theatre” is a better description-brought together many forms of entertainment which had previously kept to separate paths. Distinguished singers like Sims Reeves were brought into the same bill with notorious comedians from the old song-and supper-rooms or with tumblers from the fairs. The kaleidoscopic mixture of entertainments did not mature until about 18 50, but the Old Rotunda Assembly Rooms near Blackfriars Bridge and The Grapes in Southwark were pioneers of the variety programme, even though they cannot be called true music-halls. In the
’twenties and ’thirties of last century they were presenting varied entertainment. The Grapes actually later became The Surrey Music-Hall. Other assembly rooms were similarly transformed. One of the most popular of Victorian halls, the Middlesex Music-Hall (now The Winter Garden Theatre) derived its nickname “ The Old M o” from the name of the original rooms, The Great Mogul.