In Victorian times the performing space, be it stage, music hall platform, or circus ring could be as dangerous as mine, mill or factory. Behind the spectacle and splendour lurked disaster, destitution and death. Surprisingly, many stage hands were injured and killed during a performance. Flymen whose place of work was a narrow gallery high above the stage were in constant danger of falling to the stage far below. Many examples are recorded including 27 fatalities.
To attend a show in the audience was hazardous too, as stairs and balconies were prone to collapse in vastly overcrowded venues. Spectators falling from the gallery into the pit was by no means rare – 43 entries about those. Audiences were constantly afraid of fire and a single shout of “Fire!” could start a panic that resulted in many injuries and fatalities even when not a spark existed.
This book comprises a miscellany of accidents in two parts – those backstage and those within the auditorium.
Paperback 210 pages 105 illustrations
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