124 Blackfriars Road,
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Previously operated by: MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit
Architects: John Ellis
Firms: Kirk & Kirk
Previous Names: New Surrey Theatre, Surrey Theatre of Varieties
Located on the southern end of Blackfriars Road at St. George’s Circus, just south of the River Thames in Southwark, southeast London. This was the third theatre built on the site. The first opened in 1782 as the Royal Circus, which burnt down in 1805. The second theatre was opened in 1805 as the Royal Surrey Theatre, and burnt down on 30th January 1865.
The third theatre opened as the New Surrey Theatre on 26th December 1865. Designed by architect John Ellis, it had seating provided for 30 in the stalls, 601 in the pit, 176 in the dress circle, the boxes seated 264 and the gallery 1,090. The stage was 60 feet deep.
It staged dramas and pantomimes, and it was at one of these that Dan Leno made his first London appearance. In September 1902, it was taken over by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit. In 1904, it was re-modeled by architects Kirk & Kirk and became the Surrey Theatre of Varieties.
Known as the Surrey Theatre in the early-1920’s, it was converted into a full-time cinema. This use only lasted a couple of years and the Surrey Theatre closed in 1924. The building stood empty and unused for several years. In September 1932, it was purchased by a new owner and proposals were made for it to re-open, but this never happened. In July 1934, it was ‘For Sale’ again, and was purchased by the Royal Eye Hospital. It was demolished in 1934 to build an extension to the hospital. This too has now been demolished and today a modern block of flats stands on the site.
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