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The Royal Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, London

Also known as - The Globe Theatre

Also see - Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank - The Globe Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, today the Gielgud Theatre

See Theatreland MapsThe Royal Globe Theatre was situated on Newcastle Street in London, and opened on Saturday the 28th of November 1868 with a production of 'Cyril's Success'. The Builder reported on the newly constructed Theatre in their 5th of December 1868 edition, along with a nice image of the interior, saying:- 'On part of the site of Lyon's Inn, between Holywell-street and Wych-sreet, with a narrow frontage in Newcastle-street, a Theatre has been built, and, under the title of The Globe, was opened for public performances on Saturday evening, the 28th ult. In Lyon's Inn (formerly a hostelry, with the sign of the Lion, purchased by professors of the law in the reign of Henry VIII., and made an inn of Chancery), the Architectural Association, as many of our readers know, had its first home. The site was then taken by the luckless Strand Hotel Company, part of whose ruins, at the end of Newcastle-street, still disfigure the Strand.

The site having been excavated very considerably for the proposed hotel, the floor of the pit has been made many feet below the street-level, and is approached by a steep flight of steps from Wych-street, the pay-place being at the bottom,—a very undesirable, not to say dangerous, arrangement. A sad disaster at the Haymarket Theatre, some years ago, where a similar, but now improved, arrangement exists, will long be remembered, though the warning, it would seem, has had little effect. In Wych-street, also, are the entrance to the gallery-stairs, and that to the royal box. The ordinary boxes are entered from Newcastle-street, and are on a level with the street, so that stairs are avoided; here, too, enter the occupants of the stalls. The box-circle has five rows of seats, part being regarded as the dress-circle (at 4s. each seat), and the remainder as ordinary box seats, at 2s. 6d. The admission-money to the pit is 1s. 6d. Above the boxes is a large gallery, the front row of seats in it being treated as amphitheatre stalls. The front line of the boxes forms nearly a circle, cut off at about two-thirds of its extent by the proscenium. The ceiling is domical, with a Sun-light in the centre. The seats are all fairly commodious, and there would seem to be very few places in the house where what is passing on the stage cannot be seen and heard. The draught is disagreeable in some of the back seats of the boxes, and the want of a centre passage through the pit seats is obvious. The draughts in many of our theatres keep away hundreds who would otherwise be visitors.

The Globe has been built from the instructions of Mr. Sefton Parry, the proprietor, by Mr. Samuel Simpson, of Tottenham-court-road, who built the Holborn Theatre, the Queen's, the Royal Alfred, and is now engaged on the Gaiety, in the Strand. It will seat 1,500 persons, exclusive of the eight private boxes. Mr. W. Brown was the clerk of the works.

The Interior of the Royal Globe Theatre - From the Builder of December 12th 1868.The whole of the interior decorations in relief, comprising the dome and perforated rib round it, the proscenium, and the gallery and box fronts, were designed and executed by Messrs. White & Co., of Great Marylebone-street, in their papier mache and carton pierre. The view we give shows the character of the ornaments, and we may say that they are well drawn, and produced with sharpness and precision. The material offers great facilities for rapid work: thus the ceiling here was executed in the shops, and screwed up in compartments complete.

Right - The Interior of the Royal Globe Theatre - From the Builder of December 12th 1868.

White with gold is the prevailing colour, if colour it may be called, a little blue being introduced around the anthemion, along the bottom of the box-fronts. The crimson curtains of the private boxes, with gilded frames, are effective. The appearance of the whole, indeed, now the work is new, is bright and "smiling."

An act-drop representing Stratford-on-Avon, the birth-place of Shakspeare, was painted by the Messrs. Telbin, and is spoken of as having been one of the most successful results of their skill. Unfortunately, however, it was consumed by the fire that destroyed the painting-rooms in Charles-street, Drury-lane, mentioned in our last. Mr. Buckstone immediately offered Mr. Parry one that he had in store at the Haymarket, but Mr. Telbin and his son, with a numerous staff of assistants, went to work, and produced in time for the opening, an effective view of Ann Hathaway's Cottage, at Shottery; with two figures, doubtless intended to suggest the poet and his future wife. The scene shows Telbin "hath a way" as well as a representation of Ann.

The stage appears to possess all the necessary appliances for rapid and effective representation, so far as we have yet gone in that direction, but we cannot speak well of the accommodation behind. The dressing-rooms are insufficient in number, and not what they ought to be in arrangement; and, strange to say, there is no green-room, with a view, as we have been told, to avoid "noise." The performers engaged are, therefore, driven to the dressing-rooms, or to holes and corners, when not on the stage. A more certain way to degrade the profession than by inattention to the dignity, comfort, and requirements of its professors behind the scenes, we do not know.

The play with which the house opened, "Cyril's Success," by Mr. Byron, is itself a great success. It is exceedingly well written and admirably acted. Slight though the plot may be, the interest is unflaggingly maintained, and, as a literary production, it is entitled to very high praise. The third act especially is a masterly piece of construction. It falls especially within our province to note that all the troubles of the hero, Cyril, very well played by a new man. Mr. Vernon, result from his attending a supper given to present a testimonial to one Lincher, who has submitted a design for baths and washhouses, and failed to convince the committee that his design onght to be accepted. "Why are we giving him a testimonial?" replies Matthew Fincher, a literary hack, capitally presented by Mr. John Clarke; "why, because he has done nothing to deserve it." Mr. David Fisher, Mrs. Stephens, and Miss Henrade are other known performers who have parts, and contribute to the unmistakable success of the piece. Amongst those not known before is Miss Maggie Brennan, the representative of the Hon. Fred. Titeboy, a youngster of fashion, with more heart than head. The self possession without impudence, the naturalness without mawkishness, and the humour without vulgarity displayed by this young lady won for her a reputation in a night, But why Maggie? The designations now assumed by our young actresses are one of the bad signs of the times. We have Miss Milly this. Miss Polly that, Miss Nelly one thing and Miss Patty the other. Those of them who wish to maintain the dignity of their art and their own self-respect will give up this slang and endeavour to stand before the public like ladies.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the Builder, December 12th 1868.

The Building News and Engineering Journal also reported briefly on the opening of the Theatre in their 11th of December 1868 edition saying:- 'The Globe Theatre, in Newcastle-street, Strand, which has been erected on part of the site of the unfinished Strand Hotel, was opened on Saturday week. The lessee, Mr. Sefton Parry, has been his own architect in the matter, he feeling himself qualified so to act from his large experiences of theatre building, both in England and America. Construction may not suffer by such an arrangement, but aesthetics may. The theatre is a circular building, thus in a degree conforming to its name. The boxes are on a level with the street pavement, but the pit and stage are 12ft. below the surface of the ground. The new house is about equal to the Olympic in size, but the accommodation is said to be far superior, and the ornamentation more attractive. Nearly 2,000 spectators can be accommodated, all of whom will have a clear view of the stage. The works were executed by Mr. S. Simpson, who also built the new Holborn theatre.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the Building News and Engineering Journal, 11th of December 1868.

The Theatre was altered and redecorated in 1870 and reopened with a production of the farce 'Board and Residence' by Conway Edwards, and the romantic drama 'Marco Spada' by Palgrave Simpson. The ERA reported on the changes to the Theatre in their 9th of October 1870 edition saying:- 'Thoroughly redecorated, and partly reconstructed, this now very elegant and commodious Theatre opened last night for the season under the Management of Miss Alleyne, who for the first time occupies the important post of Theatrical Directress.

The improvements made in the interior are considerable, and are to be at once recognised. The closing in of the dress-circle not only enables the front of the house to assume a more elegant aspect, but removes that objectionable current of cold air which used to sweep round the corridor with the entrance of every box visitor.

The stalls are furnished with large lobbies, the seats in the pit have been advantageously re-arranged, and the ten new private boxes, which have been added, afford the moat luxurious comfort to the occupants. The ceiling has been raised, the "sunlight" placed in a much more desirable position, and new staircases constructed to lead to the upper boxes, which command an excellent view of the stage.

The plans, remarkable for their ingenuity, have been carried out under the entire direction of Mr. Walter Emden, architect; and with the elegant decorations by Mr. E. W. Bradwell, of Great Portland-street, most brilliantly and tastefully executed, the general effect is admirable, redounding greatly to the credit of both the gentlemen thus associated.

A most encouraging sign of the judgement of the new Manageress is the selection of Mr. Walter Lacy for the important post of Stage-Manager, and of Mr. W. S. Emden for the equally responsible position of Acting-Manager. Their long experience, and the high esteem in which they are respectively held by the public, will be of direct value to the new undertaking.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 9th of October 1870.

A Programme for 'Bootles' Baby' at the Globe Theatre on May the 8th 1888 - Click for details.

Above - A Programme for 'Bootles' Baby' at the Globe Theatre on May the 8th 1888 - Cast details below.

The Theatre was again altered in 1890, this time to the designs of the well known Theatre Architect C. J. Phipps. The Theatre's owner at the time, George Paget, had the Theatre altered in the interest of safety. The changes were chiefly about adding additional exits, and a new and larger approach to the stalls, but a display of old china was also added in the main entrance, and a tapestry was installed at the back of the dress circle.

Programme for 'The Glass Of Fashion' at The Royal Globe Theatre - Monday 26th November, 1883.In the book 'Old and New London', published in 1897, they carried a piece on the Globe Theatre which read:- 'The property of "Lyons Inn" was sold about the Year 1863, and on its site now stand two theatres, the Globe," as if in memory of Shakespeare's theatre and the "Opera Comique."

Right - A Programme for 'The Glass Of Fashion' at The Royal Globe Theatre on Monday the 26th of November, 1883.

The Globe Theatre which covers its western portion, was built and opened in 1868. It has a narrow frontage in Newcastle Street. On this site the Architectural Association had its first home. The theatre was built from the instructions of Mr. Sefton Parry, the proprietor, and will seat 1,500 persons. The auditorium is effectively decorated in relief, and has a domed ceiling, with a sunlight in the centre.

Programme for 'The Pickpocket' at The Royal Globe Theatre - Sunday 27th November, 1886.The site having been excavated very considerably for the proposed hotel, the floor of the pit has been made many feet below the line of the street, and is approached by a steep flight of steps from Wych Street. In Wych Street also are the entrances to the gallery stairs, and that to the "royal box".

Left - A Programme for 'The Pickpocket' at The Royal Globe Theatre on Sunday the 27th of November, 1886.

The ordinary boxes are entered from Newcastle Street, and are on a level with the street, so that stairs are avoided. Here, too, enter the occupants of the stalls. The seats are all fairly commodious, and conveniently placed, so that all that is passing on the stage can be distinctly seen and heard from any part of the house. The house opened with Mr. H. J. Byron's comedy of "Cyril's Success," which in itself proved a great success from a financial point of view.'

The above textual extract in quotes was first published in 'Old And New London' in 1897.

Whych Street 1901 - Click to enlargeSee Theatreland MapsThe Globe Theatre was demolished when London's Aldwych, named after the Old Wych Street, was constructed.This vast operation began in the last years of the nineteenth century and was not finally completed until after the First World War. Four theatres were demolished during the early stages of the work. The Olympic Theatre in Wych Street and the Opera Comique in the Strand were closed in 1899, the Globe Theatre in Newcastle Street shut its doors in 1902. This was followed by the closure of the Gaiety Theatre in the Strand in June of the same year.

The Royal Globe Theatre should not be confused with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank, or the previously named Globe Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, which is now called the Gielgud Theatre.

Detail from a Programme for 'Bootles' Baby' at the Globe Theatre on May the 8th 1888

Above - A page from a Programme for 'Bootles' Baby' at the Globe Theatre on May the 8th 1888

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