The Theatres selected as part of this virtual trail were all chosen either because of their impact of London’s cultural scene or because of their part in the story of popular entertainment in London. Many have been erased, but some remain - not necessarily as a theatre, or even a place of entertainment, but they are still in-situ reminding us of a golden past, before the age of television and radio and live Theatre and Music Hall was the very real form of popular entertainment of this time.
The trail purposely ignores the theatre land of Shaftesbury Avenue, but concentrates on those which existed in the wider London area, so as to help understand the scale of the theatre industry during the turn of the 20th Century. Theatre was not concentrated in a single area of London, but was seen in every neighbourhood and community, all vying with each other to attract patrons from all parts of London.
The trail also demonstrates how London has changed - how the demographics of the early twentieth century and the associated concentration of people have moved. Certainly this is clear on the fringes of the City - where once there were people and dwellings, all you find now is the glass and steel of the ubiquitous office block which both recognises the impact of economic development and the changes wrought by the destruction of the Blitz, which in itself, would see many theatres and Music Hall’s lost for ever.
This marks the beginning of an ongoing project to expand a growing interest in the development of London theatre and popular entertainment; and the trail will reflect this as further theatres and places of entertainment are added.
In the meantime, hover over the map of our great city below and explore the wonderful history of the London Theatre Heritage Trail.
Theatre Heritage Trail