Camille Jullien (1810-1860)

Dick Sullivan

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Camille Jullien (1810-1860), a flamboyant ringletted French showman and conductor, brought orchestral music (dance and classical) to poor people in south London in a series of Monster Concerts he staged throughout the 1840s in the Royal Surrey Gardens. As a boy he served at the Battle of Navarino. Investments in the Surrey Gardens and the Covent Garden Theatre seem to have gone wrong for him. He died in an establishment for the insane in Paris.

The Royal Surrey Gardens had a brief flowering from the 1830s to 1861. First as a zoo, then as a music hall (it greeted the Guards Regiments returning from the Crimea). At one time they staged spectacles such Vesuvius erupting and Napoleon's Army crossing the Alps. The music mall burned down in 1861; for a time the site was occupied by St Thomas's Hospital (until the present one was built across the river from the Houses of Parliament.) Today the site is covered by south London housing near the Oval cricket ground.

Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor. Vol 1, 1851

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Last modified 20 February 2006