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The theatre at Crown Hill, Croydon, has been through various iterations. A venue known as The Theatre opened on 23 April 1849. It closed 19 years later and was rebuilt, reopening on 29 August 1868 as the Theatre Royal. This theatre was closed and extensively redecorated in 1883, and again in 1897 to the designs of Bertie Crewe. It reopened on 20 September 1897, redecorated in a Louis XV style with a cream and gold colour scheme. At this time it was renamed the Empire Theatre of Varieties. This theatre only lasted a year as it was forced to close in 1898 when the company running it went in to liquidation. The theatre was subsequently bought by Ronald Graham, who remodelled and redecorated the theatre in the Italian Renaissance Style. The auditorium was remodelled to seat 1600 on three levels and could also hold 400 standing patrons if required. The stage was also enlarged at this time. The theatre reopened as the New Theatre Royal on 30 July 1899. In 1908 the theatre was again renamed, becoming the Hippodrome, a twice nightly variety theatre. In 1910 the theatre was again rebuilt, this time to the designs of Frank Matcham by J Smith & Sons of South Norwood. A this time access to the stalls and circle was through the main entrance and up two wide staircases, whilst the pit and gallery were reached by entrances down a private road to the side of the building. The auditorium was designed without columns and the seating capacity was reduced slightly to 1500. Ten emergency exits lead directly on to the street. By 1942 the theatre had moved over to cinema use and in 1946 it was renamed the Hippodrome Picture Theatre. Ten years later the cinema closed and the building was sold to British Home Stores which demolished all but the facade to extend their adjacent store.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1849 - 1942: Theatre
  • 1942 - 1956: Cinema
Current state
Current use
12-18 Church Street, Crown Hill, London, Croydon, England
Further details
Other names
The Theatre , Theatre Royal , Empire Theatre of Varieties , New Theatre Royal , Hippodrome Picture Theatre
  • 1849 Design/Construction: as The Theatre
  • 1849 - 1942 Use: Theatre
  • 1868 Design/Construction: Rebuilt and reopened as Theatre Royal
  • 1883 Alteration: Closed for two months for redecoration
  • 1897 Alteration: Redecorated in Louis XV style
    Bertie Crewe
    - Designer
  • 1899 Owner/Management: Ronald Graham, owner
  • 1899 Alteration: Remodelled and redecorated in Italian Renaissance Style
  • 1910 Design/Construction: Rebuilt
    J Smith & Sons (South Norwood)
    - Builder
    Frank Matcham
    - Architect
  • 1942 - 1956 Use: Cinema
  • 1956 Demolition: facade incorporated in shop extension
  • Capacity
    plus 400 standing; 1899
  • Capacity
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -