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About Charles John Phipps, Theatre Architect 1835 - 1897

From his Obituary in the ERA, 29th of May 1897

Index to C. J. Phipps Theatres featured on this site

A photograph of C. J. Phipps - From 'Gaiety Chronicles' by John Hollingshead 1898

Above - A photograph of C. J. Phipps - From 'Gaiety Chronicles' by John Hollingshead 1898


Her Majesty's Theatre, London - From a period postcard.It is with regret we record the death of Mr Charles John Phipps, the well-known theatrical architect, whose latest completed work in the metropolis was Her Majesty's Theatre. Mr Phipps died on Tuesday morning, somewhat suddenly, at his residence, 26, Mecklenburgh-square. On Saturday he went to Dover, where he was building a theatre, and, contracting a chill on the return journey, took to his bed on Sunday. He had been suffering from a heart affection for some time.

Right - Her Majesty's Theatre, London - From a period postcard.

Mr Phipps was born in the year 1835, at Bath, and practiced in that city before he came to London. While at Bath he competed for the design for the erection of the new theatre there, and it was in consequence of the success of this building that he was employed to build others, and therefore settled in London in order to attend to the large practice which awaited him.

He transformed the Strand Music Hall into the Gaiety Theatre, and since then has been engaged in the construction of a large number of theatres in all parts of the kingdom.

The London theatres erected or reconstructed from his designs and under his directions include the Queen's, in Long-acre (formerly St. Martin's Hall; the Prince of Wales's, the New Princess's, the New Strand, the Savoy, the Lyric, the Vaudeville, Sadler's Wells, the Haymarket ; the Varieties, Hoxton ; the Shaftesbury, 1888 ; the Lyric, 1889 ; Hengler's Cirque (now known as the National Skating Palace) ; the theatre of the Lyric Club, the internal reconstruction of the Lyceum, Comedy, St. James's, and Globe Theatres ; the superintendence of the Garrick Theatre, 1889 ; and the Tivoli Theatre, 1890 ; the Queen's Hall (jointly with Mr Knightley) ; and Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket.


The Prince's Theatre, Bristol from a period postcard.The provincial list includes the Theatre Royal, Bath ; Prince's Theatre, Bristol ; Theatres Royal, Plymouth, Torquay, Brighton, Eastbourne, Swansea, Worcester, Nottingham, and Portsmouth; the Empire Palace, Portsmouth ; Theatres Royal, Sheffield, South Shields, and Darlington ; the Gaiety Theatre, Hastings ; the Opera House, Leicester; the Opera House, Northampton ; the Opera House, Leamington ; the Rotunda, Liverpool ; the Alexandra (reconstructed), Liverpool ; the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton; and the Tivoli, Dover.

Left -The Prince's Theatre, Bristol from a period postcard.

In Scotland :— The Theatre Royal, Edinburgh ; the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh ; Theatre Royal, Glasgow ; Theatre Royal, Dumfries ; Her Majesty's Opera House, Aberdeen.

In Ireland :— The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin ; the Leinster Hall, Dublin ; Theatre Royal, Belfast ; Theatre Royal, Londonderry ; the Royal and Opera House, Cork.

Mr Phipps held the appointment of architect to the proprietors of Drury-lane Theatre for fifteen years, and has acted as consulting architect to the Government at Cape Town for the improvement of the acoustics in the House of Assembly and for the theatre there, and also to the proprietors of the Theatre at Kimberley, S.A. Some of the other important public buildings erected from the designs of Mr C. J. Phipps included the Devonshire Club, the Lyric Club, the Gaiety Restaurant, and the hotel in Pall-mall and the Haymarket now being erected on the site of Her Majesty's Opera House.

We understand that the late Mr Phipps's partner, Mr Arthur Blomfield Jackson, will carry on the various works with which they have been associated, and will continue the practice at 26, Mecklenburgh-square.

The funeral took place on Friday. The first part of the Burial Service was solemnised at the Church of St. Alban the Martyr, Holborn; and the remains were afterwards interred in Highgate Cemetery.

The above text on the death of C. J. Phipps is from the ERA, 29th of May 1897.


C. J. Phipps Carlton Hotel under construction.

Above - C. J. Phipps' Carlton Hotel under construction, but only completed after his death by Isaacs and Florence. The Hotel was a companion to Her Majesty's Theatre, also shown in the photograph, and also designed by Phipps. The Carlton Hotel was eventually demolished to make way for the present and rather obtrusive New Zealand House next door.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.