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Silk programme

Silk programme

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    1895 (Printed)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This silk programme with its decorative panels and finely printed lithographic images of the theatre and a dancing and trapeze act, was made to be folded in three like a paper programme. It was produced to commemorate the opening night of The New Sheffield Empire Palace, on 4th November 1895. This was one of the music halls built by Horace Edward Moss (1852-1912) in the late 19th century. Later the group became known as the Moss Empires Variety Theatres, and at its peak comprised thirty-three theatres, the largest chain known in the world.

Physical description

Silk programme for the opening night of the New Sheffield Empire Palace Theatre - Monday 4th November1897, made to fold into three and printed in blue on both sides of the cream silk with 3 panels. The centre front panel has a picture of the exterior front façade of the theatre with horse-drawn carriages drawing up to the canopied entrance, with an inset image of the entrance vestibule below.

The right hand panel shows a view of the interior of the auditorium with the information: 'DOORS OPEN EVERY EVENING at 7 O'CLOCK' above an image of a violin, tambourine, pan pipes, opera glasses and fan, and above an image of three girls doing skirt dances.

The left hand panel features an image of three female trapeze artists above the banner headline ‘High Class Music and Varieties’which is above a roundel image of theatre patrons in two boxes.

The reverse of the programme is again in three panels, the left hand side: ‘Grand Opening Night Monday November 4, 1895’ with a line drawing of a boy in 18th century costume above, and the same information on the right hand panel, with a line drawing of a girl with a tennis raquet. The centre panel gives the title ‘Sheffield Empire Palace, Charles Street’, the name of the Proprietors The Sheffield Empire Palace Ltd., the managers' names - Mr. H.E. Moss, Mr. Frank Allen, and the name of the Acting Manager Mr. John Pellow, the stage manager Mr. Fred Wardropper, the Treasurer Mr. John Whittle, and the names of the acts, with the note: 'Owing to the extreme length of the programme, the public are respectfully rrequested not to indulge in indiscriminate encores, otherwise part of it must necessarily be omitted.'

Place of Origin

Great Britain (printed)


1895 (Printed)



Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Height: 27.2 cm excluding fringe, Width: 42.7 cm, Height: 28.8 cm approximately, including fringe

Object history note

This silk programme was printed for the Grand Opening Night of the New Sheffield Empire Palace Theatre, Charles Street, 4 November 1894. The proprietor then was credited as The Sheffield Empire Palace Ltd. It was one of the chain of Moss Empires Variety Theatres that opened around the country between 1890 and 1912 when Moss died.

The programme consisted of 13 items beginning with God Save The Queen, an overture from The Merry Wives of Windsor, followed by Lottie Lynne, Descriptive Vocalist; Bernard Armstrong, Comedian and Dancer; Salerno, Juggler and Equilibrist; Oakland and Thompson, Operatic Duettists; F. W. Millis, Australian Ventriloquist; Cora Stuart and Company presenting The Fair Equestrienne; Nellie Christie 'Dandy Coloured Coon'; Frantz Family, Famous Acrobats; Will Evans, Musical Grotesque; and Spry and Austin, Amusing Comedy Act. The Empire Orchestra was conducted by Mr. Ralph Booth and a note added that 'The above Variety Theatre is one of the Finest in the Country, with all the Latest Improvements; Sliding Roof, Electric Light, Fire-Proof Curtain, etc. A Programme replete with all that is Excellent, REFINED and ENTERTAINING is always Guaranteed.'

Descriptive line

Silk programme printed for the 'Grand Opening Night' of the New Sheffield Empire Palace Theatre, 4 November 1895, featuring a Variety programme with amongst others Salerno, the Frantz Family, Will Evans, and Spry & Austin.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Northern Music Hall by Frank Graham and G. J. Mellor


Printing ink; Silk; Silk (textile); Ink




Entertainment & Leisure; Variety


Theatre and Performance Collection

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