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Shepherds Bush Empire

2026

An unusual Matcham design; an interesting example of the Arts and Crafts spirit leaking into his later work. Roughcast with terra cotta dressings. Asymmetrical front, the centre with four-bay arched entrance; to the right, a taller bay with segmental gable and, beyond that, a broad, splayed return; to the left, a stocky round tower with little windows and a lively Baroque top stage, lantern and cupola, now lacking some ornament.

Side additions were made and the interior was radically altered to adapt it for use as a BBC TV studio (1953-91) when substantial parts of the ornament were removed or obscured. The auditorium was of some magnificence, only two years later than the Hackney Empire (q.v.), but quite different in architectural treatment. The ornament has been extensively restored for its present use but a full restoration would require a complete ensemble of Matcham-style decorations. Nevertheless, it is more complete than would have seemed feasible 25 years ago.

Built / Converted
1903
Dates of use
  • 1903 - 1953
Current state
Extant
Current use
Dark (for repairs - music and comedy venue)
Address
56 Shepherds Bush Green, London, Hammersmith & Fulham, W12 8TT, England
Further details
Other names
-
Events
  • 1903 Design/Construction:
    Frank Matcham
    - Architect
    Patman & Fotheringham
    - Contractor
  • 1903 - 1953 Use:
  • 1953 Alteration: converted to television studio (architect unknown).
  • 1953 - 1991 Owner/Management: BBC
  • 1993 Owner/Management: Turner Page Music Ltd
  • 1995 Owner/Management: Break for the Border
  • 1995 Alteration: converted to live music venue; part architectural restoration.
    Torres Design Associates
    - Architect
    Dean & Bowes
    - Contractor
  • 1998 Owner/Management: The McKenzie Group, owners
  • 2004 Owner/Management: AMG (Academy Music Group), owners
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    2332
  • Capacity
    Later
    Description
    1946: 1638
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    1,098 or 2,000 standing
Listings
  • Listing
    II
Stage type
Proscenium Flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: 9.15m (31ft)
Height to grid: 7.62m (25ft, but 48ft in 1946)
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -