Opened in 1848 as a first floor room in the Wheatsheaf pub. Advertisements refer to the Royal Music Saloon in 1859 and the Wheatsheaf Music Hall in 1864, which may confirm a rebuilding as a purpose-designed hall about 1862, which is the date given for the present façade in the Curtains !!! (1982) account. It was the Oxford Music Hall, ‘late Balmbra’s’ by 1865. Advertisements ceased to appear in 1879. A later plan shows a stage only five feet deep. The gallery was removed about 1883 but the music hall continued to be listed in directories until 1895.
The building, which had become the Oxford Restaurant and Public Hall in 1891, was largely destroyed by fire in 1899, by which time the former music hall was a billiards room. The new building, the Carlton Hotel, opened in 1901 and this, too, included a billiards room which was converted in 1962 into ‘Balmbra’s’, a pastiche music hall with a balcony at one end, but this was quite different from the old hall in dimensions and nothing, in fact, survives from the famous mid-Victorian Balmbra’s.
- 1848 - 1879: (or 1894?)
- 1848 - 1879 Use: (or 1894?)
- 1859 Owner/Management: John Balmbra, proprietor
- 1862 Design/Construction: first purpose-built hallUnknown- Architect
- 1864 Owner/Management: T Handford, proprietor
- 1865 - 1879 Owner/Management: Joshua J Bagnall & Walter William Blakey, proprietors
- 1883 Alteration: gallery floor converted to showroomLamb & Armstrong- Architect
- 1885 Alteration: music hall and bar alteredLamb & Armstrong- Architect
- 1890 Owner/Management: Harry Mould & John Moralee, proprietors
- 1891 Alteration: converted to restaurant and pubJ E Stout- Architect
- 1891 - 1892 Owner/Management: John Moralee, proprietor
- 1893 - 1894 Owner/Management: Peter Nelson, proprietor
- 1900 Alteration: hotel rebuiltArthur Stockwell- Architect