The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas

1827

Theatre Royal, English Opera House.

This theatre occupies the site of a well-known building denominated the Lyceum, which was erected in , by James Payne, esq. a respectable architect, on ground formerly belonging to Exeter-house. For many years this house was the centre of speculation, and a great diversity of entertainments were offered to

335

public attention within its walls. It was originally constructed for the exhibitions of the

Society of Artists,

which was incorporated by his late majesty, in . Subsequently the premises were purchased by Mr. Lingham, breeches maker in , who at different periods let them for various exhibitions. About , the back part from was rebuilt as a theatre by the late Dr. Arnold, but after its completion he was unable to obtain a license, through the opposition of the patentees of the winter theatres. In and , it was occupied by Mr. Charles Dibdin for his

Sans Souci;

by Mr. Handy and Mr. P. Astley (on the destruction by fire of his amphitheatre in ) for

Feats of Horsemanship;

by Cartwright for his

Musical Glasses;

and by Philipstal for his

Phantasmagoria.

Afterwards Mr. Lonsdale had a highly interesting exhibition, entitled the

Aegyptiana,

which consisted of some beautiful scenery by Porter, Mulready, Pugh, &c.; this was unsuccessful. Mr. (now sir Robert) Ker Porter, also exhibited several large paintings of the siege of Seringapatam, siege of Acre, &c.

About , Mr. Arnold, son of Dr. Arnold, obtained a license from the lord chamberlain for opening the Lyceum as an English opera house. Shortly afterwards the company commenced performing here by permission, in consequence of their own house being destroyed by fire.

In , Mr. Arnold (who had obtained a new lease for years from the marquis of Exeter, at an annual ground-rent of ) erected the present edifice on an enlarged scale, and at an expense of nearly

The architect was S. Beazley, esq. The theatre, with the exception of the narrow division which forms the facade in , is almost enclosed by the neighbouring houses. In the centre of this front is a small stone portico, consisting of Ionic columns supporting a balcony, on which is a tablet inscribed with the word

Lyceum ;

and, above, on the front of the house, are the words

Theatre Royal.

The entrance to the boxes is by a passage from the portico in ; the approach to the pit and galleries is in Exeter court, on the west side of the theatre. The principal saloon is feet in length, and feet in width. The music saloon, which communicates with the tier of boxes, is feet in length by feet in width.

The form of the interior of the theatre, or auditory, is that of a lyre, the ends terminating at the stage. From the front of the centre boxes to the orchestra, is feet. The pit consists of lows of seats, and behind is a lobby with additional benches; it will hold persons. The interior is handsomely decorated, and from the ceiling depends a rich gas-lit chandelier. When full the house holds about

 
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 Title Page
 Dedication
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda
 Postscript