History of the UK Entertainment Industry

The History of the UK Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry allows people to amuse themselves in terms of leisure time. In history the more advanced a society becomes the more time is set aside for the pursuits of leisure. In the earliest times there was little to entertain the people except for the odd execution and life was pretty mundane on a day to day basis. The only real exception was the annual fairs that would be held in most towns and villages each year. This gave the local people to opportunities to buy various goods and also enjoy certain entertainments that that would not usually be available. Small theatre companies, dance troupes and musicians would perform giving the local population the opportunity to enjoy their acts

Canterbury Hall one of the first music hall venues

Prior to industrialization and urbanization people had little time to enjoy leisure activities. Subsistence life styles would mean that people would go to bed and get up with the light. In the UK there would be few times when people would enjoy activities away from working on the fields. There was no television and radio and the only creative activities that were really enjoyed were based around the tavern. Taverns were bawdy hostelries where the main entertainment involved people getting very drunk. The early plays produced by Shakespeare were performed in the Globe and the Blackfriars Theatres from end of the 16th century. These theatres were small, and the price of admission was expensive which meant that the majority of the population simply couldn’t afford to attend the performances.

The taverns soon became the centre for entertainment as the public houses started to support music hall acts from the 1830s onwards. It wasn’t long until the music halls started to move into their own theatre type premises such as the Canterbury Music Hall in Lambeth which was established in 1849. The 19th century became the era when other entertainments became available for the working population. The creation of professional sports meant that people could spectate certain games of cricket, rugby and football. The creation of large stadiums specializing in certain sports enabled the grounds to hold many people. As industrialization gathered pace more people were now paid higher wages and given more free time which enabled them to spend their income. Tourism started to flourish, and certain towns grew as seaside resorts.

Blackpool has been attracting tourists for 200 years

One of the most popular towns was Blackpool which is situated on the North-West Coast just above Liverpool. Its seven-mile beach, tower and pier made it popular to the working-class population of the north-west especially after the railway line was constructed in 1840. This linked it to the nearby industrial cities and families would spend a week enjoying the entertainments provided by the area. This growth in the tertiary sector gathered pace at the start of the 20th century especially with technological advancements. The radio, television and film industries were created and soon people would be able to sit at home after a hard day’s work, being able to relax by listening to, or watching, a program. The entertainment industry really took off as it became fuelled by populations wanting to become entertained, with more people having the income to afford it. Today the entertainments industry is a massive business with certain areas relying exclusively on it to support the local population.

The United Kingdom’s capital City London is a great example of a city that relies heavily on the entertainments industry. Some of its most expensive locations house theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums and even Royal Parks. The money that these entertainments bring in are essential for the economic welfare of the region.

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