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Theatre Royal


Built in 1791 by Mrs Baker (who died in 1815) for her Company, the theatre was altered in 1842, in 1846 when it was acquired by Henry Thornton and again, apparently, in 1851 after his death in that year. It continued as a theatre under the name of The Lyceum until 1894.

The theatre originally had a plain five-bay façade with simple cornice and parapet and a Classical porch extending over the full depth of the public footway. What is seen today is the red brick and stone, late nineteenth century façade of the Conservative Club, flanked by Georgian houses. The club lost part of the depth of its own porch in the widening of Star Hill.

Behind the façade there is an altered fabric, whose joinery details suggest that substantial parts of the dwelling-house attached to the theatre may still remain.

The rectangular brick extension at the rear looks, in external views, very like the shell of an eighteenth century theatre, but there is nothing visible internally of a date earlier than the late nineteenth century and many alterations clearly date from the 1980s. There is a small auditorium with stage, but it has more of the character of a church hall than a theatre. A modern suspended ceiling conceals the roof construction.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1791 - 1884
Current state
Fragmental remains
Current use
Converted to other use (Incorporated into Conservative Club)
Star Hill, Rochester, Kent, England
Further details
Other names
Lyceum Theatre
  • 1791 Design/Construction:
    - Architect
  • 1791 Owner/Management: Mrs Baker, owner (d.1815)
  • 1791 - 1884 Use:
  • 1839 Owner/Management: Downton & his Company, lessees?
  • 1842 Alteration: unspecified improvements
    - Architect
  • 1842 Owner/Management: Henry Wallck, owner
  • 1845 Alteration: new ceiling; refurbished
    - Architect
  • 1846 Owner/Management: Thornton, owner? (d.1851)
  • 1849 Owner/Management: C Gill of Theatre Royal Natwich, lessees?
  • 1851 Owner/Management: Mr Angel, lessee
  • 1851 Alteration: possible internal reconstruction
    - Architect
  • 1853 Owner/Management: Alfred Davis, lessee
  • 1854 Owner/Management: E Blanchard, lessee
  • 1855 Owner/Management: Mr C A Clarke
  • 1859 Owner/Management: W H Swanbkirsch, lessee
  • 1862 Owner/Management: Richard Thorne, lessee
  • 1862 Owner/Management: Clarke-Austen, lessees
  • 1879 Owner/Management: T E Evans, owner
  • Listing
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -