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The Royal Queen's Theatre, Paragon Street, Hull

Formerly - The Royal Ampitheatre - Later The Theatre Royal / Tivoli Theatre

Hull Theatres Index

The Royal Queen's Theatre, Hull showing the Gallery, Pit, and Boxes entrances.

Above - The Royal Queen's Theatre, Hull showing the Gallery, Pit, and Boxes entrances.

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An Advertisement for the Queen's Theatre, Hull in March 1850 - From the Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette, 1st March 1850.The Royal Queen's Theatre, Paragon Street, Hull was built by Stephen Kirkwood to the designs of the architect Mr. Barlow, for Mr. Cooke (senior), a veteran Circus performer, at a cost of nearly £13,000, and first opened as the Royal Amphitheatre in September 1846, changing its name to the Royal Queen's Theatre the following year.

The Theatre, which was actually more of a Hippodrome style building for Equestrian Acts, is said to have been able to hold 4,000 people and was in its early days generally just open for the summer season beginning in March.

Right - An Advertisement for the Queen's Theatre, Hull in March 1850 - From the Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette, 1st March 1850.

The Theatre was 207 feet long by 57 feet wide, enlarging to 75 feet wide at the South Street end. It had a stage 94 feet deep from the orchestra, and 65 feet wide, with a proscenium height of 34 feet, and an amphitheatre 42 feet in diameter. There were two tiers of boxes, and above were slips on the third tier which joined a spacious gallery. This massive building also had nine saloons, ten dressing rooms, numerous wardrobes, painting and property rooms, and carpenter's and tailors' shops, with stabling for fifty horses under the stage.

An Advertisement for the Hull Fair at the Queen's Theatre, Hull under the Management of Wolfenden and Melbourne in 1857 - From The Hull Packet, 2nd October 1857.The Theatre had been Managed by a Mr. Egerton from its opening in 1846 but was later taken up by John Caple who ran it until 1850 when it was taken over by Messrs Munro and Rignold.

The Actor James Fernandez began his acting career at the Queen's Theatre, Hull in October 1853.

Left - An Advertisement for the Hull Fair at the Queen's Theatre, Hull under the Management of Wolfenden and Melbourne in 1857 - From The Hull Packet, 2nd October 1857.

From 1854 the Theatre was Managed by Robert Rivers Melbourne who had previously been running the Theatre Royal, Belfast since 1848. Melbourne, with his partner Mr. Wolfenden, began by redecorating the Theatre and then opening it up for the Autumn and Winter season, something which hadn't been done there before.

An Advertisement for Charles Kean and his wife appearing at the Queen's Theatre, Hull in October 1861 - From The Hull Packet, 18th October 1861.Although mostly used for Equestrian acts, Circus, and massive displays the Theatre was occasional used for theatrical performances, most notably in May 1861 when Charles Kean and his wife appeared there for five days in a season of plays including 'Hamlet', 'Richard III', 'A New Way to Pay Old Debts', 'Henry VIII', and 'The Wonder'. Charles Kean and his wife appeared there again in October 1861 in performances of 'Richard III' and 'Good for Nothing', see advertisement shown right.

Right - An Advertisement for Charles Kean and his wife appearing at the Queen's Theatre, Hull in October 1861 - From The Hull Packet, 18th October 1861.

Sadly Mr. Wolfenden died after an accident involving his horse in October 1861, his wife then took over the Management with Melbourne.

In July 1865 part of the plasterwork and planks over the stage of the Theatre gave way and crashed onto the stage causing a mass panic in the audience who all rushed to the exits thinking the building was about to collapse. Luckily nobody was badly hurt but this was perhaps a taste of things to come for the Queen's Theatre as it would be closed down five years later in 1869 due to it being declared unsafe.

Despite all the successes at the Queen's Theatre over the years Robert Rivers Melbourne had declared himself Bankrupt by 1867, and the Management was subsequently taken over by Morton Price and C. Lucette.

An Advertisement for the sale of the fixtures and fittings of the Queen's Theatre, Hull in May 1869 - From the Era, 16th of May 1869.But they had only limited success, and when an accident occurred during a Trapeze act at the Theatre in March 1869 in which a gymnast fell 30 feet to the ring below injuring himself severely, and another artiste fell from his horse and dislocated his arm, it seemed to be an ominous sign that the end was nigh for this Theatre, and by May the same year it had been closed down completely and advertisements for the sale of its fixtures and fittings were appearing in the press. The sale itself took place in June that year.

Left - An Advertisement for the sale of the fixtures and fittings of the Queen's Theatre, Hull in May 1869 - From the Era, 16th of May 1869.

The building was demolished in 1870 and the site of the auditorium later became an Hotel, which it still is today. The stage end of the site was used to build the Theatre Royal, Hull a year later in 1871, this would later be renamed the Tivoli Theatre. When that Theatre was demolished in 1959 an office building with shops below was constructed on the site called Tivoli House, which was still there at the time of writing in 2021.

A Google StreetView image from 2008 showing the site of the former Royal Queen's Theatre, Paragon Street, Hull - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView image from 2008 showing the site of the former Royal Queen's Theatre, Paragon Street, Hull. The former Theatre Royal, later Tivoli Theatre, was built on the end of the site joining South Street where Tivoli House is now situated after the Queen's Theatre was demolished in 1870, this was previously the stage end of the Queen's Theatre - Click to Interact.

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