The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

About Ted Bottle


Photograph of Ted Bottle by Tim Bottle.Ted Bottle has kindly contributed much valuable information and many images to this site. A short biography and details of his book, Coventry's Forgotten Theatre, follows.

Right - A Photograph of Ted Bottle by Tim Bottle.

Born in Birmingham, Ted Bottle had his first introduction to the theatre via pre-war pantomimes at the Royal and Prince of Wales theatres. Educated at Aston Grammar School he was a frequenter at the local Hippodrome, part of F.J. Butterworth's Empire. National Service basic training followed at Aldershot with the Hippodrome a mere ten minutes walk away. He was posted to the NATO headquarters at Fontainbleau which provided an ideal opportunity to visit some of the Parisian theatres especially the Opera and Opera Comique. Teacher training at Chelsea was supplemented with visits to the local Palace, the Metropolitan, Collins, and the Empires at Chiswick and Finsbury Park. He regrets not taking the opportunity to visit the Brixton Empress before it closed. Fascinated more by the bricks and mortar of theatre buildings, he spent time investigating the histories of past and present structures throughout the provinces. This led to his reading copies of "The Stage" newspaper published between 1880 and 1908 in order to extract details of the buildings and the personnel who ran them. This information is stored on thousands of file cards.

Ted Bottle's fascinating book on the history of Coventry's Forgotten Theatre - Click to buy this book at the late 1970s he experimented with taking interior photographic slides of provincial theatres as so few had been recorded. First to be visited were those buildings being eyed by the developers including those which were derelict or used as struggling bingo halls and cinemas. Later functioning theatres were recorded. Over two hundred buildings have been 'snapped', a quarter of which have subsequently been demolished and it is likely he has the only records which show what some were like.

He is a member of the Society for Theatre Research, the British Music Hall Society, the Matcham Society and The Theatres Trust. He has had two articles published by the STR in their Theatre Notebook. After taking early retirement in 1991, he spent nearly four years researching the entire Midlands area to obtain material for the Theatres Trust publication "The British Theatre Guide 1750-1950" published in 2000. He is interested in railed transport and an increasing amount of his time is spent being a church organist and directing local adult and youth orchestras. He is also chairman of a local Arts Committee.

Ted Bottle is the author of 'Coventry's Forgotten Theatre, The Theatre Royal and Empire' published by Badger Press, in which he describes the Theatre's fascinating history in detail and includes glimpses of other Coventry Theatres and Music Halls, with an informative background of nineteenth Century English Provincial Theatre.

Click to buy this book at

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