Panoramas, Dress Circles and Tubes

In 1787 Robert Barker put a patent on a way of seeing: ‘panorama’. It is said that he came upon the term when surveying the city of Edinburgh from the top of Calton Hill. Moving to London, Barker reconstructed 360 degree views in a Leicester Square art gallery; an initiative mimicked by his son on the Strand in 1801. In 1830 the Strand panorama became a dissenting chapel; in 1832 an unpatented theatre – audiences were admitted free provided that they bought sweets from local shops: rose lozenges for the stalls and peppermint drops for the pit. From circles to tubes: Aldwych underground station, built in 1905, now stands on the site of the demolished theatre and gallery.

Thanks to for some of these details; also to the linked site on the history of London’s underground.

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