Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 2

Wilkinson, Robert
1819-1825

Strand Theatre, the Sans Pareil.

Strand Theatre, the Sans Pareil.

Interior of the Sans Pareil Theatre; Entrance in the Strand.

This Theatre commenced building in the year 1802, by removing eleven old ruinous houses, formerly part of the estate of the Earls of Bedford, near which their mansion was situated, with the Convent Garden behind it. There is an ancient well on the premises, as fine a spring as any in the county of Middlesex; and several silver coins of Elizabeth's reign were found in digging the foundation.

The estate was purchased, the land-tax redeemed, and the Theatre wholly built from its foundation by Mr. John Scott, resident in the neighbourhood, out of his own private fortune, unaided by subscription or loan, at an expense of £ 25,000; and was opened on the 27th of November, 1806, under an annual licence of the Lord Chamberlain, to commence and end in the month of October.

The entertainments during that season consisted of a mechanical and optical exhibition, with songs, recitations, imitations, and various interludes.

In 1807, Nov. 14, the House opened for its second season, with an address to Hope, written and spoken by Miss Scott, daughter of the proprietor, then a very young lady; but who possessed an uncommon taste and genius for dramatic poetry, music, and the stage.

Mr. Giroux, a dancing-master of celebrity, with part of his family, and about thirty of his pupils and apprentices, joined this concern, and several ballets were produced under their direction.

This season Miss Scott's dramatic genius produced a melo-drama, called Ulthona, the Sorceress, in which she performed herself; the music was composed by Mr. Holst, and it had a run of sixty nights. Her second production was a burletta, The Magistrate, equally prosperous.

During every succeeding season the concern has been well supported, with entire new and successful pieces, and a great influx of audience; the dramatic company also being enlarged the stage was found to be much too contracted for the business of the Theatre.

In 1814, immediately on its close in the month of April, the whole of the south end next the Strand, was taken down, all the interior removed, and 26 feet added to the length of the Theatre; of which 15 feet were given to the stage, and 11 feet to the audience part; twelve additional boxes were added; the front house next the Strand was purchased, and a new and handsome entrance made. This was completed in about seven months, at an expense of £ 5000, and the Theatre re-opened on Monday, December the 26th, in the same year.

The structure is most advantageously situated, either for a winter or summer Theatre, being in the best part of the Strand, nearly opposite the Adelphi.

The particulars of the house are as follow: from the front next the Strand to the back of the stage, depth 183 feet, 40 feet wide, and 55 feet high from the foundation. Under the pit, which is elevated 10 feet above the foundation, is a convenient range of six dressing-rooms; under the stage, a green or waiting room, and another for the band.

The pit ranges entirely under the boxes, and is rather out of proportion large; it holds upwards of 800 persons: there are twenty-nine boxes, in two tiers, which will contain, in sitting and standing room, 460 persons.

The building contains but one gallery, which will hold 560 persons. So that, by calculation, the house, at the present prices of boxes 4s., pit 2s., gallery 1s., on a very full night, will hold about £ 200.

There is a large and convenient room for scene-painting, 40 feet by 36, and five cisterns for water in the top, supplied by a hydraulic pump from the well in the bottom.

The foot-lights, now adopted in many of the other houses, were first introduced here. The advantage is, they light the stage without obstructing the sight of the audience from the pit.

In the summers of 1814 and 1815, in consequence of the alteration and enlargement of the stage, fifty new suits of scenery were painted.

The whole of this property, now in the possession of its original proprietor, is freehold, and unincumbered by renters or annuitants.

The following new and original dramas have been wholly written by Miss Scott, none of which having been published, of course remain stock pieces, the property of this Theatre, and cannot be performed elsewhere, unless by permission, viz.:

The Successful Cruise—Ulthona, the Sorceress—The Magistrate—The Red Robber—The Bashaw—Disappointments—Mary the Maid of the Inn—The Lowland Romp—Il Giorno Felice—The Ugly Woman of Bagdad—The Effigy—Asgard, the Demon Hunter—The Inscription—Rakishnah, the Outcast—The Forest Knight—Whackham and Windham; or, the Wrangling Lawyers—Eccentricities—The Old Oak Chest.

The following pieces translated, and others; the whole re-written and adapted to this stage:

Two Misers of Smyrna—Love, Honour, and Obey—The Conjuror—Two Savoyards—The Gipsy Girl—The Summer House—Lottery Ticket—Love in the City—Stratagems; or, the Lost Treasure.

And a very great variety of serious and comic pantomimes, and other spectacles and interludes.

 

This Theatre commenced building in the year , by removing old ruinous houses, formerly part of the estate of the Earls of Bedford, near which their mansion was situated, with the Convent Garden behind it. There is an ancient well on the premises, as fine a spring as any in the county of Middlesex; and several silver coins of Elizabeth's reign were found in digging the foundation.

The estate was purchased, the land-tax redeemed, and the Theatre wholly built from its foundation by Mr. John Scott, resident in the neighbourhood, out of his own private fortune, unaided by subscription or loan, at an expense of ; and was opened on the , under an annual licence of the Lord Chamberlain, to commence and end in the month of October.

The entertainments during that season consisted of a mechanical and optical exhibition, with songs, recitations, imitations, and various interludes.

In , , the House opened for its season, with an address to Hope, written and spoken by Miss Scott, daughter of the proprietor, then a very young lady; but who possessed an uncommon taste and genius for dramatic poetry, music, and the stage.

Mr. Giroux, a dancing-master of celebrity, with part of his family, and about of his pupils and apprentices, joined this concern, and several ballets were produced under their direction.

This season Miss Scott's dramatic genius produced a melo-drama, called Ulthona, the Sorceress, in which she performed herself; the music was composed by Mr. Holst, and it had a run of nights. Her production was a burletta, The Magistrate, equally prosperous.

During every succeeding season the concern has been well supported, with entire new and successful pieces, and a great influx of audience; the dramatic company also being enlarged the stage was found to be much too contracted for the business of the Theatre.

In , immediately on its close in the month of April, the whole of the south end next , was taken down, all the interior removed, and feet added to the length of the Theatre; of which feet were given to the stage, and feet to the audience part; additional boxes were added; the front house next was purchased, and a new and handsome entrance made. This was completed in about months, at an expense of , and the Theatre re-opened on Monday, , in the same year.

The structure is most advantageously situated, either for a winter or summer Theatre, being in the best part of , nearly opposite the .

The particulars of the house are as follow: from the front next to the back of the stage, depth feet, feet wide, and feet high from the foundation. Under the pit, which is elevated feet above the foundation, is a convenient range of dressing-rooms; under the stage, a green or waiting room, and another for the band.

The pit ranges entirely under the boxes, and is rather out of proportion large; it holds upwards of persons: there are boxes, in tiers, which will contain, in sitting and standing room, persons.

The building contains but gallery, which will hold persons. So that, by calculation, the house, at the present prices of boxes , pit , gallery , on a very full night, will hold about .

There is a large and convenient room for scene-painting, feet by , and cisterns for water in the top, supplied by a hydraulic pump from the well in the bottom.

The foot-lights, now adopted in many of the other houses, were introduced here. The advantage is, they light the stage without obstructing the sight of the audience from the pit.

182

 

In the summers of and , in consequence of the alteration and enlargement of the stage, new suits of scenery were painted.

The whole of this property, now in the possession of its original proprietor, is freehold, and unincumbered by renters or annuitants.

The following new and original dramas have been wholly written by Miss Scott, none of which having been published, of course remain stock pieces, the property of this Theatre, and cannot be performed elsewhere, unless by permission, viz.:

The following pieces translated, and others; the whole re-written and adapted to this stage:

And a very great variety of serious and comic pantomimes, and other spectacles and interludes.

 
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 Title Page
collapseCourts, Halls, and Public Buildings
collapseSchools
collapseAlms-Houses, Hospitals, &c.
collapsePlaces of Amusement
collapseMiscellaneous Objects of Antiquity
collapseAncient and Modern Theatres
collapseTheatres
The Bull and the Bear Baiting,
The Red Bull Playhouse, Clerkenwell.
Fortune Theatre
Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre
D'Avenant's Theatre Otherwise the Duke's Theatre, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Destruction of Drury Lane Theatre by Fire
Opening of Drury Lane New Theatre
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
The New Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Theatre Royal, Haymarket
New Theatre Royal, Haymarket
The King's Theatre, or the Italian Opera, Haymarket
Theatre in Goodman's Fields. The whole of Goodman's Fields was formerly a farm belonging to the Abbey of Nuns, of the Order of St. Clare, called the Minories or Minoresses, from certain poor ladies of that order; and so late as the time of Stow, when he wrote his Survey in 1598, was let out in gardens, and for grazing horses. One Trolop, and afterwards Goodman, were the farmers there. But Goodman's son being heir by his father's purchase, let the grounds in parcels, and lived like a gentleman on its produce. He lies buried in St. Botolph's church, Aldgate.
The Royalty Theatre, Wellclose Square
The Tennis Court Theatre, Bear Yard, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Olympic Theatre, Newcastle Street, Strand
Sadler's Wells.
The Pantheon Theatre, Oxford Street
Strand Theatre, the Sans Pareil
Astley's Amphitheatre, Westminster Road
The Regency Theatre. Tottenham Street Tottenham Court Road
The Cobourg Theatre
Royal Circus or Surrey Theatre
Lyceum Theatre, or English Opera, Strand.
Theatre in Tankard Street, Ipswich
Checks and Tickets of Admission to the public Theatres and other Places of Amusement.

Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.

This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--Antiquities
London (England)--Description and Travel
Wilkinson, Robert, d. ca. 1825
Bolles, Edwin Courtlandt
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/53839
ID: tufts:MS004.002.057.001.00001
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights