Sir: With reference to Alison Leakey's letter (11 February) following on your report 'Last post for the Proms queue jumpers' (9 February), about pre-war theatre-goers paying for a stool in the queue for pit and gallery (11 February), I read somewhere that the scheme for hiring out stools for seats in the gallery was devised by an enterprising girl who had been severely injured in an explosion while working in a munitions factory in 1917.
The system then spread to most theatres, and for those of us working in London it was a godsend. In 1937 my friends and I took it in turns to catch the first Tube train running (about 5.15am) in order to be near the front of the queue. The man issuing the dwarf-sized stools would arrive about 6am to fix our names on them.
We would return after work (about 6pm), and after the ticket office opened there would be a mad scramble up the stairs to get to the front benches (not seats) of the gallery. I saw several operas in that way which I would never have been able to see otherwise.
11 FebruaryReuse content