Max Miller says goodbye

[I]t is hard to believe now but once, and I’m afraid you will have to take my word for this, once Leicester Square was a rather splendid public space. But in 1936 town planners decided to steal a march on Hitler and start destroying London first.

The old Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square was a prime site for ‘redevelopment’. Max Miller who at the time was probably the most famous entertainer in England, heard it was being demolished and went along for a last look at the theatre he’d performed at on many occasions.

When he arrived at lunchtime on hearing that the famous stage was about to be taken down he climbed on the boards and gave the workmen a hilarious one hour performance. Ten minutes after he’d finished, the stage was gone for ever.

Near the end of his life he confessed that his proudest professional moment was; as he put it “closing the old Alhambra”.

With the prospect of strikes by public service workers imminent I will leave you with a picture of Leicester Square the last time there was industrial action by dustmen.

Leicester Square

3 thoughts on “Max Miller says goodbye”

  1. As an expat Londoner living in Canada I used to stand back aghast and say to myself, “Don’t these idiots know what they are destroying”? Now in my aged wisdom I know that I and expats all over are responsible for leaving the beloved city to those who actually do not know what they are destroying. I am sorry, London, forgive me.

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  2. Very interesting site thanks, I remember the early ’60s as I was one of those printers working around Clerkenwell. I would deliver to the small shipping offices in Leadenhall Street that were there at the time. Also at that time the Barbican was the largest bomb site I have ever seen.

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