There were entertainments of various kinds on this site from 1828 onward. In that year the Royal Bazaar opened, including a diorama, exhibition rooms and concert rooms. Rebuilt after a fire in 1830 it continued on similar lines featuring, for example, concerts on the Euterpeon (one of the mechanical instruments then popular, producing orchestral musical effects). An attempt made to convert the building to a theatre in 1836 failed, but the architect T Marsh Nelson eventually made an effective conversion and the Princess’s Theatre opened in 1840, retaining the old concert rooms. It had three tiers of boxes around a rectangular pit, plus a gallery. In this form it saw many of Charles Kean’s most celebrated productions.
After various limited campaigns of improvement the theatre was rebuilt, retaining some of the old fabric, by C J Phipps. The works were so radical that an adjoining building occupied by a jeweller fell down.
By the end of the century the theatre was failing and it closed permanently in 1902. Plans for major improvements were prepared by three separate theatre architects in 1905, 1907 and 1908, but none was carried out. The theatre had been dark for twenty-nine years when it was finally demolished in 1931.
- 1840 - 1902
- Owner/Management: see Diana Howard, op cit, for a full list of licensees
- 1828 Design/Construction: as the Royal Bazaar, British Diorama & Exhibition of Works of ArtUnknown- Architect
- 1830 Alteration: rebuilt after fireUnknown- Architect
- 1836 Alteration: conversion to theatre (not completed)Charles Stewart Duncan- Architect
- 1840 Design/Construction:Crace & Sons- Consultantdecorators
- 1840 Alteration: completed conversion to theatreT Marsh Nelson- Architect
- 1840 - 1902 Use:
- 1857 Alteration: improvements to auditoriumUnknown- Architect
- 1869 Design/Construction:J Macintosh- Consultantredecorated
- 1869 Alteration: major works of renovationUnknown- Architect
- 1880 Alteration: rebuilt theatre, incorporating parts of old fabricC J Phipps- Architect
- 1883 Alteration: safety worksJ G Buckle- Architect
- 1897 Alteration: alterationsA Blomfield Johnson & T Moore- Architect
- 1905 Alteration: improvements and part reconstruction (unexecuted)William Hunt- Architect
- 1907 Alteration: extensive reconstruction (unexecuted)W G R Sprague- Architect
- 1908 Alteration: extensive reconstruction (unexecuted)Frank Verity- Architect
- ListingNot listed