London Theatre

The Vaudeville

The Strand W.C.2

London Theatres do seem to have a strange beginning and the Vaudeville is no exception as it stands on the site of a failed billiards club that belonged to William Robertson. Built by C J Phipps in 1870 it originally stood behind two houses that fronted the Strand and was accessible by the means of a long narrow passageway that lead to the various levels of the theatre. It opened on the 16th April 1870 with the production of For Love or Money.

By the year 1889, the leaseholder Thomas Thorne demolished numbers 403 and 404 The Strand in order to expand the theatre onto the front of The Strand. Built in a Portland stone façade, with Adams style foyer and marble flooring with centre arch and two side entrances. The theatre underwent large renovations in 1891 and on the 13th January reopened with the foyer of the same period still surviving today.

Over several years in the 1900’s alterations were made and in 1968 the theatre was threatened with closure. Under a plan of the Greater London Council (GLC) the Vaudeville, Adelphi, Garrick, Lyceum and Duchess theatres were all be demolished to make way for the redevelopment of the Covent Garden area. A vigorous committee was set up made of musicians and actors to fight these closures, and through their determination to save these theatres very existence we must thank them today.

London Time

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