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56 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
by a staircase outside the house. Amongst those who used to attend them were Handel, Dr. Pepusch (who "arranged" the music of the Beggars Opera), John Banister, John Hughes, the poet, and Wollaston, the painter, whose portrait of Britton may be seen in the National Gallery.
Admission was free to begin with, but after a while it was agreed that all visitors were to pay a subscription of ten shillings a year. Of the performers Handel used to play the organ, Banister the violin, and Sir Roger L'Estrange, one of the earliest patrons of the club, the 'cello. Britton died in 1714, his death being caused, it is said, by a fright that was given him by a ventriloquist, from which he never recovered.
After his death the Academy of Ancient Music was founded, the meetings taking place at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, under the direction of Dr. Pepusch. It came to an end in 1792, after the death of the latter.
Meanwhile the Hanover Square Music Rooms had been built in 1775 for Gallini, the Italian dancing-master, who taught the children of George III dancing. For some time the rooms were used for occasional concerts, and from 1804 the "Concerts of Ancient Music" were given here. There is a story told of Lord North in connection with these concerts. His lordship, who was