There has been a theatre on this site since 1832, originally known as Moy’s Music Hall, well before the coming of the railways. This was then renamed in 1863 and became The Royal Standard Music Hall. In 1886, when Victoria Street and Victoria Station were built, the theatre was demolished and the rebuilt Royal Standard Music Hall became "the most comfortable Hall of entertainment in London... no expense has been spared."
The arrival of electricity and other early 20th century theatrical technology meant that drastic changes were needed. The oldest licensed music hall in London was demolished. Again in 1910, no expense was spared and Frank Matcham's Victoria Palace cost the huge sum of £12,000 to build.
The theatre retains much of its original character, even more so since the auditorium, front of house and dressing rooms have recently been refurbished.
The grey marble foyer with its gold mosaic and white Sicilian marble pillars is much as it was in 1911. Outside, the facade, canopy and cupola have recently been restored to their former glory.
The auditorium holds 1550 seats and is fully air-conditioned. It features a magnificent sliding roof, a simple precursor of air-conditioning. Originally the Stalls, Dress Circle and Grand Circle each had their own entrance and their own box office selling pre-printed tickets from a paper plan.
From 1911, the year after its rebuilding to its present design by Frank Matcham, the Victoria Palace had a gilded statue of prima ballerina Anna Pavlova poised above it. This was owner Alfred Butt's homage to the dancer he had spectacularly introduced to London.
The tribute was not appreciated by the superstitious ballerina, who would never look at her image as she passed the theatre, drawing the blinds in her car. The original statue was taken down for safety reasons in 1939 before the blitz and has completely disappeared. It is not known whether it is in someone's garden or was turned to wartime military use, such as bullets.
The Victoria Palace moved into the new millennium with an adventurous building programme; enlarging the Foyer, WC facilities and increasing the dressing room space, whilst maintaining all the feel and character of a historic building.
In 2006, a replica of the original statue of Pavlova was reinstated to its original place above the cupola of the Victoria Palace and her gold-leafed figure once again gleams above us.
Members of Mandy who have worked for Victoria Palace Theatre