Although not a theatre, the Tower Ballroom makes use of the repertoire of theatre architecture and is one of Frank Matcham’s most important works. The Tower buildings were designed by Maxwell & Tuke in 1894. Matcham was called upon to redesign the original ballroom in 1899. This and the simultaneous remodelling of the circus was the Tower Company’s immediate response to competition from the Alhambra complex (q.v.).
The interior conveys an impression of quite staggering opulence. Two tiers of shallow balconies run round three sides of the hall, divided into broad bays by square piers. The upper balcony takes the form of slightly bowed boxes, each of one bay’s width. The end facing the stage has three balconies. The proscenium frame to the orchestra platform is flanked by onion-domed boxes, stylistically related to some Matcham theatres designed about this time but, as always with this architect, given an individuality which belongs to this particular building, rather than to an habitual style. The richly ornamented, segmentally arched ceiling is divided into framed painted panels rising from a false-galleried cornice, bowed forward in each bay and supported on winged female terms. The dance floor has been reduced in size by a broad strip of carpet to mark the sitting out areas on three sides (but it is still vast). The stage has a Wurlitzer organ and a modern Yamaha 130X.
The Ballroom suffered a seriously damaging fire in 1956. Remarkably for that time, when appreciation of this kind of architecture was at its lowest ebb, a careful restoration was carried out by Andrew Mazzei. As now seen, it is comparable with the finest late Victorian rooms in Britain.
- : continuing - as ballroom
- Use: continuing - as ballroom
- 1899 Design/Construction:Frank Matcham- Architect
- 1956 Alteration: reconstructed after fireAndrew Mazzei- Architect
- CapacityCurrentDescriptionup to 3000