The Lives of Stanley Halls Go Live

Phillippa Heath comes up for air as she and her team puts the finishing touches to an astounding exhibition. The past shapes the future, so as we get ready for the future of Stanley Halls, it seems the perfect time to delve into the past…   

In terms of blogs, you will be forgiven for thinking that The Lives of Stanley Halls project has been a tad quiet of late. Far from it! Over the last few weeks volunteers and project staff have been busier than ever.

Drawing on the copious amount of research and oral history interviews that have been carried out of late by our project volunteers, the exhibition has had to be written, edited and images had to be selected and, in the meantime, volunteers continued their research and conducting interviews. The final exhibition, The Lives of Stanley Halls: Theatricals, Community and Entertainment which will be revealed on Wednesday, 4th December (6.30 pm), is bold, vibrant and celebrates the history and heritage of Stanley Halls and the community’s enjoyment of it since its opening in 1903.

During the project we have learned so much about the variety of ways that the Halls have been used, such as the opening ceremony in 1903, meetings of suffragettes in 1912 and pantomimes and performances. Some uses have been quite surprising such as aquarist exhibitions, psychic festivals, shoe sales, dog shows and baby welfare clinics. But what all these various events and activities demonstrate is how central Stanley Halls has been to life in, and reflective of, the interests of the South Norwood community.

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A poster advertising The North Wood Morris performance of A Christmas Carol which was remembered fondly by one of our interviewees, Susan Abigail. Read more about her experience (and the experiences of many others) in the exhibition The Lives of Stanley Halls: Theatricals, Community and Entertainment.

If you are not attending Wednesday’s viewing of the exhibition, do not despair! From the New Year, we are organising for the exhibition to tour community venues across the locality. A full schedule will be revealed in due course but, in the meantime, if you have any suggestions about venues which might like to host the exhibition, please let us know on

Phillippa Heath

The Lives of Stanley Halls Project Coordinator 

HLF logo


One comment

  1. Roy SHEPARD

    This is superb. How wonderful that this iconic and lovely building , redolent with the social history of generations of South Londoners, should have this new lease of life.

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