Mathematical Water Magic

An exotic London theatre funded the building of the first Eddystone lighthouse. Alison Barnes has discovered what kind of shows it staged.

Between 1696 and 1720, London’s most exciting shows were to be seen at the Mathematical Water Theatre in Piccadilly, where the owner, Henry Winstanley, and his wife Elizabeth put on spectacular water- and fire-work displays. On the day that it opened, however, Saturday June 6th, 1696, Mr Winstanley was not in London but off the coast of Devon, starting work on a lighthouse.

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