Apollo Victoria Theatre

Theatre in/near Queen’s Park, existing between 1929 and now

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Theatre · * · SW1V ·
July
12
2015

The Apollo Victoria Theatre is a West End theatre, across from London Victoria Station.

The theatre was built by architects Ernest Wamsley Lewis and William Edward Trent in 1929 for Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, a part of the Gaumont British chain. The theatre was built with two identical facades on Wilton and Vauxhall Bridge Roads. Construction is principally of concrete, with strong horizontal banding along the exterior sides of the auditorium. By contrast the entrances feature a cantilevered canopy, and are framed by vertical channelling, with two black marble columns rising to the roof line. The entrance is simple, making use of chrome trimmings, this leads to a nautical themed interior in the original Art Deco style that makes extensive use of concealed lighting, decorated with scallop shells and columns that burst into sculptured fountains at the ceiling.

The theatre had a 74 feet by 24 feet stage and was equipped with 10 dressing rooms and two suites for principals. The theatre was Grade II* listed on 28 June 1972.

The theatre opened as the New Victoria Cinema on 15 October 1930 with a film starring George Arlis in Old English, based on a stage play by John Galsworthy. It was equipped with a Compton 3 manual 15 rank theatre organ, played on the opening night by Reginald Foort and the theatre also staged variety shows. The first show played also during the opening was Hoop-La.

Variety quickly gave way to a specialisation in film performances, with occasional performances by big bands. In June 1939, the cinema was one of the three London sites chosen to present a live relay of The Epsom Derby from the pre-war BBC experimental transmissions, utilising Baird equipment to project onto a screen 15 feet by 12 in sepia. From September 1940 to May 1941, the theatre was closed due to World War II, but no serious damage was sustained and it reopened quickly. Plans were made for demolition in the 1950s, but it was saved and presented a mixture of ballet, live shows and films. The last films were shown in November 1975, a double bill of Peter Cushing in Legend of the Werewolf (1975) and Adrienne Corri in Vampire Circus (1972), though the theatre remained open until 1976, after which it closed for five years.

Led Zeppelin rehearsed there, on May Day, 1980. It reopened in 1981 as the Apollo Victoria Theatre with a Shirley Bassey concert.

Musicals, including The Sound of Music, Camelot and Fiddler on the Roof played at the theatre in the early 1980s. In 1984, the interior was extensively modified by the introduction of a ’race track’ that ran through the audience, for the show Starlight Express with performers on roller skates. The show premiered on 27 March, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Trevor Nunn and ran for 7,406 performances, over 18 years. With the removal of the ’tracks’, the interior was extensively restored by architects Jaques Muir and Partners. This included the removal of 3,500 incandescent lamps that had become difficult to maintain and consumed a considerable amount of power. These were replaced by 88,000 low power LEDs specially designed for the theatre, creating the first auditorium completely lit in this way. Another Lloyd Webber production followed, Bombay Dreams premièred on 19 June 2002. It was created by A. R. Rahman with lyrics by Don Black and was directed by Steven Pimlott, closing after 1,500 performances on 13 June 2004. This was followed by the return to the West End of the Bee Gee’s musical Saturday Night Fever on 6 July 2004, closing 22 October 2005 to tour. This was followed on 10 April 2006 by the jukebox musical Movin’ Out, featuring the music of Billy Joel. This starred James Fox but ran for only two months.

The Broadway musical Wicked received its London premiere at the venue on 27 September 2006 with a cast featuring Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Helen Dallimore as Glinda, Nigel Planer as The Wizard, Adam Garcia as Fiyero and Miriam Margolyes as Madame Morrible. Wicked has been seen by over 7 million people in London.

The show claimed a record-breaking £761,000 taken at the box office, during its first eight performances and to date has grossed £150 million in London alone.

On 10 October 2010 the theatre celebrated its 80th birthday with a Gala Performance, featuring stars of productions past and present, including a reunion of Starlight Express performers.

On Tuesday 27 September 2011, Wicked celebrated its fifth anniversary in the West End with a curtain call reunion of former cast members.


Main source: Wikipedia
Further citations and sources


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


Lived here
Richard Roques   
Added: 21 Jan 2021 16:53 GMT   

Buckingham Street residents
Here in Buckingham Street lived Samuel Pepys the diarist, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling

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Comment
Pauline jones   
Added: 16 Oct 2017 19:04 GMT   

Bessborough Place, SW1V
I grew up in bessborough place at the back of our house and Grosvenor road and bessborough gardens was a fantastic playground called trinity mews it had a paddling pool sandpit football area and various things to climb on, such as a train , slide also as Wendy house. There were plants surrounding this wonderful play area, two playground attendants ,also a shelter for when it rained. The children were constantly told off by the playground keepers for touching the plants or kicking the ball out of the permitted area, there was hopscotch as well, all these play items were brick apart from the slide. Pollock was the centre of my universe and I felt sorry and still do for anyone not being born there. To this day I miss it and constantly look for images of the streets around there, my sister and me often go back to take a clumped of our beloved London. The stucco houses were a feature and the backs of the houses enabled parents to see thier children playing.

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Justin Russ   
Added: 15 Feb 2021 20:25 GMT   

Binney Street, W1K
Binney St was previously named Thomas Street before the 1950’s. Before the 1840’s (approx.) it was named Bird St both above and below Oxford St.

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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Jessie Doring   
Added: 22 Feb 2021 04:33 GMT   

Tisbury Court Jazz Bar
Jazz Bar opened in Tisbury Court by 2 Australians. Situated in underground basement. Can not remember how long it opened for.

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The Underground Map   
Added: 8 Dec 2020 00:24 GMT   

Othello takes a bow
On 1 November 1604, William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello was presented for the first time, at The Palace of Whitehall. The palace was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698. Seven years to the day, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Tempest was also presented for the first time, and also at the Palace of Whitehall.

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Born here
www.violettrefusis.com   
Added: 17 Feb 2021 15:05 GMT   

Birth place
Violet Trefusis, writer, cosmopolitan intellectual and patron of the Arts was born at 2 Wilton Crescent SW1X.

Source: www.violettrefusis.com

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Born here
Ron Shepherd   
Added: 18 Sep 2021 17:28 GMT   

More Wisdom
Norman Joseph Wisdom was born in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, West London.

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Jonathan Penner   
Added: 11 Sep 2021 16:03 GMT   

Pennard Road, W12
My wife and I, young Canadians, lodged at 65 (?) Pennard Road with a fellow named Clive and his girlfriend, Melanie, for about 6 months in 1985. We loved the area and found it extremely convenient.

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Comment
   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 16:58 GMT   

Prefabs!
The "post-war detached houses" mentioned in the description were "prefabs" - self-contained single-storey pre-fabricated dwellings. Demolition of houses on the part that became Senegal Fields was complete by 1964 or 1965.

Source: Prefabs in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

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Matthew Moggridge ([email protected])   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 10:38 GMT   

Lord Chatham’s Ride (does it even exist?)
Just to say that I cycled from my home in Sanderstead to Knockholt Pound at the weekend hoping to ride Lord Chatham’s Ride, but could I find it? No. I rode up Chevening Lane, just past the Three Horseshoes pub and when I reached the end of the road there was a gate and a sign reading "Private, No Entry". I assumed this was the back entrance to Chevening House, country retreat of the Foreign Secretary, and that Lord Chatham’s Ride was inside the grounds. At least that’s what I’m assuming as I ended up following a footpath that led me into some woods with loads of rooted pathways, all very annoying. Does Lord Chatham’s Ride exist and if so, can I ride it, or is it within the grounds of Chevening House and, therefore, out of bounds? Here’s an account of my weekend ride with images, see URL below.

Source: No Visible Lycra: Lord Chatham’s ride: a big disappointmen

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norma brown   
Added: 20 Aug 2021 21:12 GMT   

my grandparents lived there as well as 2 further generations
my home

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Comment
Ruth   
Added: 6 Aug 2021 13:31 GMT   

Cheltenham Road, SE15
Harris Girls’ Academy, in Homestall Road, just off Cheltenham Road, was formerly Waverley School. Before that it was built as Honor Oak Girls’ Grammar School. It was also the South London Emergency School during WW2,taking girls from various schools in the vicinity, including those returning from being evacuated.

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

Reply
Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 09:12 GMT   

Dunloe Avenue, N17
I was born in 1951,my grandparents lived at 5 Dunloe Avenue.I had photos of the coronation decorations in the area for 1953.The houses were rented out by Rowleys,their ’workers yard’ was at the top of Dunloe Avenue.The house was fairly big 3 bedroom with bath and toilet upstairs,and kitchenette downstairs -a fairly big garden.My Grandmother died 1980 and the house was taken back to be rented again

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Ebury Street, SW1W Ebury Street runs from the Grosvenor Gardens junction south-westwards to Pimlico Road.
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Queen’s Park

Queen’s Park lies between Kilburn and Kensal Green, developed from 1875 onwards and named to honour Queen Victoria.

The north of Queen’s Park formed part of the parish of Willesden and the southern section formed an exclave of the parish of Chelsea, both in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In 1889 the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works that included the southern section of Queen’s Park was transferred from Middlesex to the County of London, and in 1900 the anomaly of being administered from Chelsea was removed when the exclave was united with the parish of Paddington. In 1965 both parts of Queen’s Park became part of Greater London: the northern section - Queen’s Park ’proper’ formed part of Brent and the southern section - the Queen’s Park Estate - joined the City of Westminster.

Queen’s Park, like much of Kilburn, was developed by Solomon Barnett. The two-storey terraced houses east of the park, built between 1895 and 1900, typically have clean, classical lines. Those west of the park, built 1900–05, tend to be more Gothic in style. Barnett’s wife was from the West Country, and many of the roads he developed are named either for places she knew (e.g. Torbay, Tiverton, Honiton) or for popular poets of the time (e.g. Tennyson). The first occupants of the area in late Victorian times were typically lower middle class, such as clerks and teachers. Queen’s Park is both demographically and architecturally diverse. The streets around the park at the heart of Queen’s Park are a conservation area.

There is hardly any social housing in the streets around Queens Park itself, and the area was zoned as not suitable for social housing in the 1970s and 1980s as even then house prices were above average for the borough of Brent, which made them unaffordable for local Housing Associations. The main shopping streets of Salusbury Road and Chamberlayne Road have fewer convenience stores and more high-value shops and restaurants. Local schools – some of which struggled to attract the children of wealthier local families in the past – are now over-subscribed. House prices have risen accordingly.

Queen’s Park station was first opened by the London and North Western Railway on 2 June 1879 on the main line from London to Birmingham.

Services on the Bakerloo line were extended from Kilburn Park to Queen’s Park on 11 February 1915. On 10 May 1915 Bakerloo services began to operate north of Queen’s Park as far as Willesden Junction over the recently built Watford DC Line tracks shared with the LNWR.


LOCAL PHOTOS
The 52 bus
TUM image id: 1556876554
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Boscobel Oaks, 1804
TUM image id: 1487173198
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Broadway SW1
TUM image id: 1530117235
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Grosvenor Gardens Mews East
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Entrance to Pickering Place
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In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Wood engraving showing mothers, with their children, exercising at Tothill Fields Prison, London. Shelfmark: Crime 9 (64)
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9228986
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

The Lillington Gardens estate
Credit: Ewan Munro
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The 52 bus
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To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

Boscobel Oaks, 1804
Licence: CC BY 2.0
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The sign for the "Stage Door", formerly a pub in Allington Street, SW1
Credit: GoArt/The Underground Map
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Grosvenor Gardens Mews East
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The Monster Tea Gardens (1820)
Credit: Old and New London
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