List entry

List entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: OLD VIC THEATRE

List entry Number: 1068710

Location

OLD VIC THEATRE, WATERLOO ROAD, SE1

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County District District Type Parish
Greater London AuthorityLambethLondon Borough

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 19-Oct-1951

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 204779

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

History

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Details

TQ 3179 WATERLOO ROAD, SE1 (East side) 963/3/1051 Old Vic Theatre

GV 19.10.51 II*

Built in 1816-18, architect Rudolph Cabanel of Aachen. Remodelled 1871 by J T Robinson; in 1880 and 1902 by Elijah Hoole as the Royal Victoria Coffee Music Hall for Emma Cons; in 1922-3 and 1927-9 by Frank Matcham and Company (F G M Chancellor); in 1933-8 by F Green and Co; in 1950 by Pierre Sonrel; in 1960 by Sean Kenny; major restoration in 1983 by Renton, Howard, Wood and Levine. Brick, with rendered facade to The Cut remodelled in 1983 with open pediment based on c.1818 engraving, of three storeys and five bays with projecting five-bay colonnade. Elevation to Waterloo Road of eleven bays is clearly that of 1818 with giant order of brick pilasters incorporating rendered roundels under contrasting brick arcading, and with blocked first-floor windows. At stage end large round-headed openings created in the late C19 when the building was adapted for shared use with Morley College. Memorial plaque to Emma Cons on north-west angle. Webber Street elevation similar but with projecting four-bay front with small paned windows housing dressing rooms. Asphalted roof with flats of 1927-8, projecting `haystack' over stage. The interior is remarkable as Robinson's horseshoe balconies on iron columns essentially survive, with convex moulded fronts, cartouches and much moulded decoration; although the boxes are restorations by RHWL after the originals were removed by Frank Matcham and Co. By RHWL, too, is the proscenium arch, after this was remodelled in 1950 and 1960. The ceiling, with its thick leaf decoration concealing ventilation ducts, is probably by Robinson, while above it Cabanel's complex system of timber roof trusses survives. The front of house was remodelled to a much simplified plan by RHWL in 1983 so that all parts of the theatre can be reached from a common entrance. Stage with flytower, fly floors and grid, with carpenters' bay to rear; above which are two rooms shown on old plans as the `museum' and thought to have been the `library' of Morley College opened here in 1894. These are top-lit, with timber truss roofs. The Old Vic is one of the oldest theatres to survive in England. The auditorium is recognisably that of J T Robinson, one of the first theatre architects, first consultant architect to the Lord Chamberlain and Frank Matcham's father-in-law. A pre-1890s theatre in this condition is an exceptional rarity in England, and this with the Theatre Royal, Margate, is his principal surviving work. The Old Vic is significant too as the progenitor of the modern subsidised theatre, since it was acquired in 1879-80 by Emma Cons, first woman Alderman of the London County Council, social reformer and principal of the coffee tavern movement. She endeavoured to bring `a purified entertainment' to the working and lower middle classes, a policy expanded after 1912 by her niece Lilian Baylis, who introduced opera, operetta and - most successfully - Shakespeare to a wider audience. Her work was continued in the 1930s by Tyrone Guthrie and in 1963 it became the first home of the National Theatre Company under Laurence Olivier. The historical significance of the Old Vic as a leading centre of opera, ballet and serious theatre in the twentieth century is exceptional in English theatre, though it is in recognition of its architectural quality and rarity that it is listed in a high grade.

Sources London Metropolitan Archives, theatre plans GLC/AR/BR/19/291 Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson, The Theatres of London, London, 1963, pp.237-43 D F Cheshire, Sean McCarthy and Hilary Norris, The Old Vic refurbished, London, 1983



Listing NGR: TQ3132779813

Selected Sources

  1. Book  Reference - Author: Cheshire, D F and McCarthy, S and Norris, H - Title: The Old Vic Refurbished - Date: 1983
  2. Book  Reference - Author: Mander and Mitchenson - Title: The Theatres of London - Date: 1975 - Page References: 237-43

National Grid Reference: TQ 31327 79813

Map


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This copy shows the entry on 20-Aug-2014 at 09:27:47.