The Willoughbys passed on the Barn - by then named The Highbury Assembly House - to another father and son team, John and Archibald Hinton. Hosting dinners for the businesses and societies of London, their newspaper advertisements invited people to “take a carriage and pair from the City”
and come and “have a belly-full, and eat like an Englishman”.
Hinton upped the ante by booking the Grenadier Guards to play for the dancers. In 1841 the dinner for the Licensed Victuallers is said to have seated 3000 in a huge tent.
The tune is inspired by that of the comic song A Dark girl dressed in blue
, written in 1862 and performed at the Barn in the Giovanelli days.
Richard Rhys O’Brien
The Assembly House at Highbury, when Willoughby’s day was done
Passed to a Mr Hinton, and Archibald his son
All over London Town, a craze was afoot
For tea and pleasure gardens to get away from the soot
In a shady bower, among the flowers, pass time with someone pretty
Remove yourself from the smoke and crowds of the million-peopled city
Quench your thirst with beer of bass, or the choicest wines of Spain
If you want a belly-full, eat like an Englishman
You can get there in a carriage and pair, for the smallest of silver coins
And if your heart and heels are light, you’ll be dancing on the lawns
Mr Hinton put up a tent, everyone came for their big event
Toasting Queen Victoria and her handsome German gent
The Patent Leatherdressers had a ball in the Phoenix Room
And the Fancy Cabinetmakers dropped tools and had some fun
Wheelwrights and Jewellers all came to Highbury Barn
To have a fancy dinner, it had a certain charm