Once again The World of Interiors Magazine has furthered my education and it prompts me to ask "Where have Spiegeltents been all my life"? I read that these lavish mobile dance halls flourished in Belgium in the early half of the 20th century and spread throughout Europe.
Between 1920 and the Second World War dozens of Spiegeltents (or Mirror Tents) provided glamorous but temporary surroundings for drink, dance and general merrymaking. Who knew? Not me.
Spiegeltents were travelling pavilions of splendour playing host to cabaret, circus acts and musicians as well as providing the venue for foxtrot and flirtation. It seems that the wood and canvas frame of a Spiegeltent is erected around a central pole and features doors, decorative glass windows and intimate booths upholstered in brocade.
There is silk on the ceiling, velvet on the chairs and the dance floor is made from teak. All is surrounded by gazillions of mirrors. Music was supplied by a dance organ.
Once the Spiegeltent is built the central pole is removed and venue is open for business.
Sadly, the spiegeltents fell from favour during the advancement of rock n roll through Europe; it seems that the new teenagers did not want to be seen in such old fashioned places.
The subject of the World of Interiors feature is Robert and Bart van Rosmalen collectors, restorers and hirers of Spiegeltents. The photos are from their site. To see and read more pick up a copy of Aug 2014 World of Interiors Magazine or visit worldofinteriors.co.uk Following a quick web search I learn that the British city of Bristol hosts a Christmas Spiegeltent, Brighton has one in May and Edinburgh has one in August.
There are 'Spiegeltents' hosting cabaret in many far flung places including Melbourne, Australia and Hudson Valley, USA.
Is their one in your town? Have you been? Even better, have you hired one?
Photos 1 and 2 my own others from van Rosmalen