In 1870 following the acquisition of the White Bear Inn site, and adjoining properties between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly Circus, caterers Spiers and Pond commissioned
Thomas Verity to design a new development consisting of a large restaurant, dining
rooms, ballroom, and galleried concert hall. Having commenced building work it was decided to alter the proposed concert hall, (though retaining the composers names which still line the tiled staircases to this day), to a theatre which opened in 1874.
In the 1970's the whole of the Criterion site was proposed for redevelopment, which caused much protest as people feared the theatre would be lost. In the end the theatre closed from 1989, until it reopened in October 1992. Having undergone major refurbishment both back, and front of house, The Criterion retains an almost perfectly preserved Victorian auditorium, with all the intimacy and atmosphere that make the building a pleasure to both visit and work in.