A LARGE AND BEAUTIFUL MEMENTO of the lost theatre of Dalston Lane has been found in the seaside resort of Ostend in Belgium.
The vivaciously drawn poster for the theatre has been imported to London by its finder, Jean Field and her husband David. The Hackney couple want to lend the art nouveau drawing, which measures 2.75m by 1.95m to Hackney council archives.
Mrs Field, who took part in the campaign, told Loving Dalston that she had been “in love with Ostend “ever since her father took her there as a child in the 1950s”.
She added: “David and I now try to go three times a year. We love art and there used to be an Ostend art prize, so they had art coming out of their ears.
“The art there was way in advance of anything over here and Ostend, very much a Protestant area, is very English. It was fashionable for a long time.” See poster below right.
For several years the couple had stayed in the same hotel, the Andromeda, “overlooking the fabulous beach”. Mrs Field said: “The owner was an art collector and hanging on the stairs was a huge poster. When we first saw it we noticed the words ‘Dalston Theatre’ on it. We thought it must be Dalston in Cumbria.”
A closer look showed the poster was indeed for the Hackney venue and had been created more than a century before the theatre, or what was left of it, was felled by Mayor Jules Pipe’s Hackney regime. She photographed the poster, left, despite its being in an awkward position.
“It was purely publicising the theatre, “Mrs Field said. “We started to covet the poster. Even when we weren’t staying at the Andromeda, we’d go to say Hello to it.”
In 2014 the hotel was sold after the death of the owner. Mrs Field made an offer for the picture, and recently it was accepted.
She would like the poster to go on public show at the Dalston Lane archives which is, paradoxically where the theatre stood before Hackney council let it fall to its apocalyptic fate.
David Altheer 071116
* The Fields’s help with illustrations is gratefully acknowledged. Another poster can be seen at this site. All pictures on this page © David Altheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.