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Front cover of The Illustrated Victorian Songbook.
Chorus of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay and cover of Daisy Bell.
A song sheet for Oh! Mr Porter and an illustration of a railway porter entitled The British Workman.
The music for The Lily of Laguna decorated with a poster and two song sheet covers.
Over a painting of a Covent Garden market scene, a text box explains character songs.
The music of The Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo is introduced by a short essay and illustrated by a song sheet cover and two cartoons.
The song sheet for Wot Cher! appears opposite an illustration of an enraptured audience watching from the gallery.
A text box introducing the Victorian ballad appears over a painting entitled The Village Wedding.
The music of When Summer Comes Again is decorated with a poster for The Bedford and a painting of a flower girl by John Temple.
The music for MacDermott’s War Song comes with illustrations of the charge of the Light Brigade and a bear retreating from a lion’s jaws.
The music for Rule Britannia is illustrated with a song sheet cover and a picture postcard.
The Illustrated Victorian Songbook is placed on the music rest of an Aeolian organ.
    “In addition to giving the words and music of practically every song anyone is likely to know, it is a pleasure to read, with splendid period illustrations and a text which tells us all we want to know about each song.”
    Auberon Waugh, Daily Mail

    The Illustrated Victorian Songbook

    By Robin Hunter & Aline Waites, Musical Director David Wykes, Foreword by David Jacobs


    This illustrated songbook brings together the most popular tunes that sent a generation of men and women flocking to the music hall. It paints in a social background of pubs, the seamy song and supper rooms, society drawing rooms and gas-lit music halls, and introduces the star artistes.

    Free delivery on orders over £20
    Dispatched next day with Royal Mail 2nd Class
    • RRP: £25.00
    • Format: 350 x 241 mm (13 x 9 1/2 in)
    • Pages: 356
    • Weight: 1.7 kg (4 lb)
    • Pictures: 200 b/w, 125 colour
    • Binding: Hardback with jacket
    • ISBN: 978-0-7181-2448-5
    • Publication: 1988

    Songs and Their Stories

    This unique and delightful songbook, compiled and presented by modern music hall artistes, is meant to be used. Each song is reproduced from the original Victorian song sheets, with piano accompaniment and words large enough to be read by a fair-sized gathering behind the piano stool. The book is illustrated and decorated in the elaborate style so beloved by the Victorians. It features more than 300 photographs, engravings, paintings and other period illustrations and a full accompanying text, as well as numerous text boxes, sidebars and captions, laid out in magazine style. The Illustrated Victorian Songbook revives in all its charm and vitality the first great age of popular entertainment.


    Foreword by David Jacobs



    In the Gloaming
    Come into the Garden Maud
    Come Home, Father
    Love’s Old Sweet Song
    The Baby on the Shore
    Abide With Me
    Eternal Father, Strong to
    The Holy City
    The Lost

    THE STRONG AND SUPPER ERA She Was Poor, But She Was Honest
    Sam Hall
    Villikins and his Dinah
    The Ratcatcher’s
    Polly Perkins of Paddington Green

    Beautiful Dreamer
    The Gipsy’s Warning
    Ring the Bell Softly
    Oh, Dem Golden Slippers!

    Dear Old Pals
    Two Lovely Black Eyes!
    Daisy Bell
    Oh! Mr Porter
    The Lily of

    The Man that Broke the Bank at Monte
    If It Wasn’t for the ’Ouses In Between
    It’s a Great Big Shame!
    She Was One of the Early Birds
    Wot Cher!
    My Old Dutch

    The Boy in the Gallery
    Are We to Part Like This?
    When the Summer Comes Again
    The Coster’s Serenade
    A Bird in a Gilded Cage
    Sweet Rosie O’Grady

    RAMPANT PATRIOTISM Macdermott’s War Song
    The Soldiers of the Queen
    Good-bye Dolly Gray

    EVERGREENS The Londonderry Air
    Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
    Annie Laurie
    The Ash Grove
    Heart of Oak
    Rule Britannia
    Sally in Our Alley

    SONGS FROM THE SHOWS I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls
    Then You’ll Remember Me
    The Moon Has Raised Her Lamp Above
    I Am the Ruler of the Queen’s
    A Wand’ring Minstrel I
    The Amorous Goldfish
    The Honeysuckle and the Bee


    Sources of Music in This Book

    Picture Credits




    Photograph of Aline Waites, co-author of The Illustrated Victorian SongbookAline Waites, actress, comic and playwright, has written or co-written at least 25 musical plays and revues. For many years she and her partner, Robin Hunter, collaborated on scripts for plays, revues and musical theatre of all kinds, and together they wrote The Illustrated Victorian Song Book.

    Photograph of Robin Hunter, author and presenter of The Illustrated Victorian Songbook
    Robin Hunter plays Rhett in Gone With The Wind.

    Robin Hunter(1929-2004) was a skilled and versatile performer and writer in the field of musicals, music hall and comedy. The son of the actor Ian Hunter, he appeared in many film and television roles such as Up Pompeii, the Carry On films, Sherlock Holmes and Poirot, and performed in several musicals including Damn Yankees. He was a talented playwright and wrote comedies such as Botome’s Dream in which Shakespeare is put on trial for plagiarism, and Aladdin & His Microsoft Compatible Floppy Drive Laptop.


    The Victorians brought in the mass-produced upright piano and the harmonium, the popular hymn and the sentimental ballad. And from the fairgrounds, the pubs and the music halls there came that other tradition, the popular sing-along of the Victorian working class.

    Victorian – what does that word conjure up today? To some people it means puritanical, prejudiced, stuffy, respectable; whereas mention Victorian music hall to those same people and they think of rude songs and Marie Lloyd. The patriot will think longingly of the glorious age of the British Empire, and the social historian will remember the enormous gap between rich and poor, the rise of the middle classes, the triumph of the factory system, the squalid social conditions as described by Dickens, Thackeray and Henry Mayhew.

    The extraordinary diversity of those quick changing times was mirrored in the music, and a book on popular Victorian songs has to spread its net wide in order to create a true picture.

    The Nineties certainly came in with a bang – perhaps we should say with a boom! A whole generation of people were bent on kicking over the traces and fighting to escape Victorian restraints and they adopted Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay! as their theme song. The song caused a sensation when Lottie Collins sang it in Dick Whittington at the Grand Theatre, Islington. With the chorus she did an “Abandon” dance “after the French Style” which consisted of a whole series of dramatic high kicks – not easy in a long skirt, tight stays and a large feathered hat. She was encored again and again, sometimes fainting in the wings from sheer exhaustion.