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Collins' Music Hall


The music hall active at the rear of the pub since 1863 and associated until its destruction 95 years later with the name of Sam Collins was actually only licensed to him for the two and a half years before his death in 1865. The site backed on to a former burial ground (New Bunhill Fields) which restricted development so that no major improvement was possible after the 1897 reconstruction. Following a destructive fire in 1958, the hall itself was demolished. The pub façade in its late nineteenth century form survives, somewhat modified, but the rooms behind have been radically altered to form a bookshop and the space formerly occupied by the theatre itself is now a timber store, open at the rear. The side walls and some traces of escape staircases serve to identify it but (contrary to popular belief) there is nothing else left to be seen of the music hall. The façade carries a blue commemorative plaque. There has been some discussion of the possibility of building a new theatre on the site of the hall and this might very well be successful in the ‘Little Theatreland’ between Sadler’s Wells and Highbury Corner.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1863 - 1958
Current state
Façade only
Current use
Converted to other use (bookshop in front of building/timber yard at rear)
10-11 Islington Green, London, Islington, N1, England
Further details
Other names
Red Lion , Lansdown Arms , Lansdown Arms Music Hall , Sam Collins' Music Hall , Collins' Theatre of Varieties , briefly & World War I: Islington Hippodrome
  • Owner/Management:
  • Owner/Management: For subsequent listing, see Diana Howard op. cit.
  • 1862 Design/Construction:
    - Architect
  • 1863 Owner/Management: Samuel Vagg (Sam Collins)
  • 1863 - 1958 Use:
  • 1865 Owner/Management: Anna Vagg (his widow)
  • 1868 Owner/Management: Henry Watts (married Anna)
  • 1881 - 1897 Owner/Management: Herbert Sprake
  • 1885 Alteration: adjoining house taken to provide new entrance and hall largely rebuilt
    Edward Clarke
    - Architect
  • 1897 Alteration: new auditorium and other improvements
    E A E Woodrow
    - Architect
  • 1898 Alteration: electric light installed
    - Architect
  • 1908 Alteration: repaired and altered after fire; six circle boxes removed
    - Architect
  • 1911 Alteration: balcony reseated and other renovation works
    Lovegrove & Papworth
    - Architect
  • 1931 Alteration: Bowler & Clay, new heating and ventilation installed
    - Architect
  • Capacity
    1862: 600 ‘packed to suffocation’ (JM)
  • Capacity
    1897: 1800
    later: 1444
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -