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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, printed)

  • Date:

    1899 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    David Allen & Sons Ltd. (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This poster illustrates various scenes from the popular melodrama The Great World of London, set in Norfolk and London, and in railway carriages in between. It was originally produced at The Standard Theatre in Shoreditch High Street in October 1898, and revived the following Easter. There was a fashion for action-packed melodramas in the late 1890s and early 1900s, their popularity enhanced by the advances in stage design, lighting and stage effects. Posters illustrating the scenic delights of melodramas were eye-catching and successful in making people want to see the action for themselves.

Melodrama went down especially well at The Standard Theatre owned by Andrew Melville or Andrew Melville Robbins (1853-1896), who by 1894 also owned The Grand Theatre Birmingham and The New Theatre Swansea. His wife Alice ran The Standard after his death until 1904 when it was taken over by their sons Walter (b.1875) and Frederick (b.1877), who with their younger brother Andrew (b.1882) also became well-known for their productions of spectacular melodramas and pantomimes, some of which were written by them.

Physical description

Full-colour pictorial poster advertising The Great World of London, headed in black typeface: 'Standard Theatre Bishopsgate and Shoreditch Easter Monday April 3rd at 2 and 7.45' 'During the week.' Grand Revival'. Featuring 9 scenes from the melodrama, one entitled 'Shadowed' showing a man at a railways station in Norfolk, standing next to posters for events in Cromer and Yarmouth; one showing a lady dreaming of a prisoner; another showing the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Bridge and the Thames at night; another entitled 'The Railway Murder' showing a man lying dead on a railway platform; one showing a Flower Girl on a London Bridge being ordered away from a shoe black by a police officer; one showing a man shooting another in a railway carriage; one entitled 'Cornered' showing a man in a room being held at gunpoint; one entitled 'The Verdict' showing a woman lying senseless outside a Courtroom scene, and one showing a seated prisoner telling his story to a young boy on his left. 'THE GREAT WORLD OF LONDON’ is in large yellow typeface superimposed on the image of the Thames at night, with the names of the authors ‘George Lander’ and ‘Walter Melville’ in a yellow text box below.

Place of Origin

London (probably, printed)


1899 (printed)


David Allen & Sons Ltd. (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper


Height: 75.5 cm, Width: 58.7 cm

Object history note

The Great World of London was originally produced at The Standard Theatre 30 October 1898. It was written by Walter Melville and George Lander and the theatre was run at this point by Walter's mother, Alice Melville, the widow of Andrew Melville (1853-1896) who bought the lease of the theatre in April 1889.

Descriptive line

Poster advertising The Great World of London by George Lander and Walter Melville, Standard Theatre 3 April 1899. Colour lithograph printed by David Allen & Sons. Enthoven Collection.


Printing ink; Paper

Subjects depicted

Railway carriage; Court-room; St. Paul's Cathedral; Judge; Policeman; Shoe-black; Westminster Bridge; Houses of Parliament; River Thames; Railway station; Flower seller


Advertising; Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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