By the late 1860s penny gaffs were giving way to more respectable, and comfortable, music halls and theatres. There you could sing along to your favourite popular songs, or watch entertainment as diverse as acrobats, trapeze artists, ‘operatic selections’ or can-can dancers. Image: At a Music Hall, The Graphic, April 5th 1873.
Just one penny admitted you to the back room of a public house thick with tobacco smoke. There a raucous singer delighted the audience with a repertoire of crude ballads, competing with shouts for more gin. An evening at a penny gaff made a pleasant change from their crowded slum rooms. Image: Description of a Penny Gaff by Henry Mayhew, 1851.