Theatre Royal, Marylebone

Photo:Exterior view of the Royal West London Theatre, Church Street shortly before its closure 1945

Exterior view of the Royal West London Theatre, Church Street shortly before its closure 1945

City of Westminster Archives

1832 - 1932: 100 years of theatre on Church Street

By Alison Clarke

The theatre on Church Street stood for 100 years on the site of what is now the library at number 67.  Launched as the Royal Pavilion West in 1832, the theatre rapidly changed hands and was renamed many times throughout its history.  In its first few years it was a cheap venue or "penny gaffe" and in 1835 it was raided by the police and threatened with closure by the local magistrates.

The theatre's fortunes improved in the 1840s when it was reopened as the Theatre Royal, Marlylebone.  High quality shows at this time included Richard III and Dickens' "Cricket on the hearth".  Dickens was living a few streets away in Devonshire Terrace at this time. 

Subsequent incarnations of the theatre saw it revert to pantomime and melodrama, earning it the description of "the home of East London theatre in the West".  By 1893 the theatre was reinvented again as a Music Hall in an attempt to cash in on the Victorian vaudeville boom.

In 1932 the theatre became the West London Cinema, owned by the New Biograph Trading Company, and known locally as the Bug Hole.



1832 Opened as the Royal Pavilion West.

1835 Renamed the Portman Theatre

1836 Renamed the Royal West London Theatre

1837 Rebuilt as the Marylebone Theatre

1842 Remodelled as the Theatre Royal, Marylebone

1864 Rebuilt and enlarged.

1868 Renamed the Royal Alfred Theatre

1870 Reverted to the name Marylebone Theatre

1893 Renovated as the West London Music Hall

1895 Renamed the West London Theatre

1932 Converted to a cinema

1941 Damaged by bombs. Closed and used as a warehouse.

1962 The remains of the building destroyed by fire.


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