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Circus of Varieties, Park Row, Bristol

Also known as the Coliseum Cinema

Bristol Index


Poster for Arthur Lloyd and Katty King at the Circus of Varieties, Bristol - Click to EnlargeThe Coliseum was a casualty of the Second World War along with the Prince's Theatre opposite it, when it was destroyed by enemy aircraft on the 24th of November 1940.

Arthur Lloyd and his wife Katty King are known to have performed here, probably in 1898.

Right - A Poster for Arthur Lloyd and Katty King at the Circus of Varieties, Bristol - Click to Enlarge. Because of the Whit Monday date of May 30th the poster above can be dated as either 1887 or 1898 with the later being the most likely. Many thanks to John Rowe for his help with this.

I haven't been able to find out much about this venue but a visitor to the website has recently given some thought to it, as follows:

'You asked about the "Circus of Varieties" in Park Row, Bristol on the theatre posters page. As the poster dates it as Whit Monday 30 May, I think that the year is 1898 since in that year Easter day was 10 April, and I think that if I am correct Whitsunday would be 29 May.

At that date there was a building on Park Row at the corner of Woodlands Road opposite the Prince's Theatre which had a variety of uses over the years - it was a roller skating rink, an exhibition hall, a cinema called the Coliseum, and during WW1 an aircraft factory. I think that this building could have been the "Circus of Varieties" in one of its many incarnations.

The building was mostly destroyed by enemy action in WW2 (at the same time that the Prince's opposite was destroyed), although the facade remains, albeit with a new building behind it, which I believe is now used by the Bristol University School of Engineering.

As most of the old buildings in Park Row still remain I cannot think of anywhere else that could have been used as a theatre. I don't think that the Prince's Theatre at that period would have been used for variety. Hope this helps.' John Rowe. 2005.

For a present day image of the remains of the Coliseum see the BBC's Bristol City Views: Park Row here...

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.


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