Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival

By Paula Gabb

Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival

Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival

Old Bull Ring, Market day, Birmingham Bull Ring
THE COMET 5 High Street, Bull Ring, Birmingham. Manager; W.E. Nelson 1924 Closed Down 1944
“The Bull Ring Remembered” The above was extracted from a book by Victor J. Price

Photo of the Comet taken in 1895, when it was a beer house which states that it was a narrow little pub that was only one room wide for its
whole length

From 1880s the Comet Beer House had been located here but it seems it may have a troubled time keeping hold of its landlords the previous landlord left after just started in October 1885, left. Then in 1886 it hit the papers for all the wrong reasons not because of their customers but with the new landlord Josiah Clarke in 1886 was charged for drunk & disorderly at the Turks Head Inn, on Steelhouse Lane assaulting Mrs Clarke the landlady, her sister & servant, who may have been related and which may be why he was upset at the time. Josiah Clarke had only taken over the pub in a few months.  Not surprisingly, six weeks after this incident a new landlord took over the licence. And, if this was a warm dispute, what a hot one would entail

Records from Kelly’s Directory from 1900 licence for Comet Inn, 5 High street, George Durose, 1905/08, Alexander James Davis, 1915, Alfred Ogborn

It appears during the early 20th century the small beer house gained its full licence when Holt’s Brewery took over it, may be this is when works were done to extended backwards.  “Small four-storey Georgian frontage, but extended backwards for a depth of four rooms. For many years just a beer house, but got a full license when Holt’s Brewery took it over, it closed for business in 1944 probably because war damages.

In the distance stands St Matins Church, standing proudly in the Bull Ring rebuilt 1873 on it original site of the Christian church 1263.Designed by architect J. A. Chatwin, preserving the earlier tower and spire, during the building works they discovered medieval painted panels.  The stain glass windows are worth looking at designed by world famous artists take a look at the South Transept has a Burne-Jones window, made by William Morris in 1875.

The title of the painting is named after “Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival” was founded in 1784, was the longest-running classical music festival of its kind

The first music festival, over three days in September 1768, was to help raise funds to complete the new General Hospital on Summer Lane. It proved to be very popular and successful, but it took another event in 1778 to achieve the funds required. The hospital opened September 1779.
From September 1784, the performances became a permanent feature and ran every three years, becoming the Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival, still with the aim of raising funds for the hospital. It became so poplar the Birmingham Town Hall was built for this purpose, replacing St Philips Church

The grand opening of the festival at the Birmingham Town Hall in 1837 Felix Mendelssohn conducted a performance of his St. Paul oratorio, playing his first Piano Concerto, the organ which at the time to became renowned throughout the world.  For the 1846 festival he composed and conducted the premiere of his oratorio Elijah, another new work commissioned by the Festival. For each successive year after Mendelssohn death Elijah was played at every successive festival. Mendelssohn died a year later. Elijah is now played all over the world but for Birmingham it was first. The Festival came to an end in 1912.

Our Lady grandmother like so many brummies’ is looking around the market, she has listened to the speakers around Nelson statue and been entertained by the street entertainers making her visit enjoyable.

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Acrylic on Box Canvas
11 Months ago

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Paula Gabb


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Solihull United Kingdom
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