Lost Empires.

By Nigel Fountain

Printed: 2005

Publisher: Cassell Illustrated. London

Dimensions 21 × 23 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 21 x 23 x 3

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In the original dustsheet. Blue cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

The story of the music halls that once lit up townscapes, and those that still won’t die – the tales of the stars, stooges, crooks, novelty acts, demolition gangs, runaways and diehards who never gave up. Music hall was the first mass medium of an industrial age that was dominated by empires. This meant that in every city that was part of an empire, there were Empire and imperial music halls, vaudevilles, opera houses, theatres or fledgling cinemas filled with prestige, glamour and dreams. Two world wars later, the empires crumbled, and the Empires and imperials in these cities were fighting dry rot and television. Many lost the fight. But some did not. “Lost Empires’ ‘ explores the fates of these fallen Empires and Imperials around the world, as well as the stories of the survivors, such as the splendid St Petersburg Imperial Theatre of the 1870s and the restored Hackney Empire in east London. From Leiden’s Theater-imperium to Toowoomba Queensland’s Empire, we see what links these places of entertainment, and what divides them. Some were saved because activists would not let them die; some were converted to other uses or became symbols of local or national pride.Some simply went up in smoke or collapsed when fraudsters became involved. Some remain derelict, haunted long after the last act walked off their stages. “Lost Empires’ ‘ encompasses high art, low life, burlesque, ragtime, rock and roll and Hamlet across the world – from Great Britain to the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Colombia, Japan, Brazil and Holland. Their Empires appear as fascinating pictures, gripping true-life stories or holes in both the ground and in time.


  • “…Unusual and handsomely illustrated book” — The Guardian

  • “…full story of theatres similar to the Empire, up and down the country, is told in a fascinating new book…” — Bristol Evening Post

  • A must for nostalgia freaks and then those with just a passing interest in the glorious world of crafts and stays — Torquay Herald Express

  • Nigel Fountain’s wonderful ‘Lost Empires’ is a nostalgic history of Empire theatres.. — Time Out

The Author, Nigel Fountain is a historian, broadcaster, journalist and writer. He can frequently be heard on Radio 4’s ‘The Archive Hour’, writes for The Guardian and also wrote the bestselling and award-winning World War 2: The People’s Story (Reader’s Digest 2003). He is a Hackney Empire Board member and has been passionately interested in the lost Empires since the 1970s, when he discovered Hackney masquerading as a bingo hall.

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