Meet Me At The Aggie showcases Islington Local History Centre’s collection of Royal Agricultural Hall posters, promoting the amusement fairs held in the 1870s and 1880s. The once World-famous hall is now the Business Design Centre on Upper Street, Islington.
These fairs were aimed at a growing middle class who enjoyed increased amounts of leisure time and disposable income. From the 1860s, the pictorial poster became an artistic form in its own right as the development of affordable colour lithography became increasingly widespread.
While posters for legitimate theatre remained text based, circus, burlesque and pantomime featured all manner of flamboyant imagery in order to convey excitement and novelty. As this online presentation shows, the posters selected set high expectations in their promotion of events, providing a raucous yet respectable experience filled with multi-sensory thrills for the entire family, and especially at Christmas! Find out more about Islington’s Christmas in our seasonal blog: Pantos, Pageants and Puddings: Islington’s Christmas Past
- View Meet Me at the Aggie online presentation
Researched and written by Julia Rank
Islington Local History Centre | Islington Museum
Learn more about the Royal Agricultural Hall (now the Business Design Centre), Islington:
The building that lived twice by Alec Forshaw (Business Design Centre, 2011)
The building that would not go away by Tadeusz Grajewski (Royal Agricultural Hall Ltd, 1989)
Consuming Pleasures: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain by Judith Flanders (Harper
Fun Without Vulgarity: Victorian and Edwardian Popular Entertainment Posters by Catherine Haill
(The Stationery Office/Public Record Office, 1996)
Palaces of Pleasure: From Music Halls to the Seaside, How the Victorians Invented Mass
Entertainment by Lee Jackson (Yale University Press, 2019)
The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age by John Woolf
(Michael O’Mara Books, 2019)
Archives and online sources
British Newspaper Archive (acc. Dec. 2020)
Business Design Centre (formerly the Royal Agricultural Hall) website: A brief history (acc. Dec.
Royal Agricultural Hall Ltd Archive at Islington Local History Centre (acc. Dec. 2020)
Royal Agricultural Hall during the First World War: The British Postal Museum & Archive blog (acc.