The Operetta House and old Town Hall, Station Road and Rosemary Road, Clacton-On-Sea
Later - The Tivoli Theatre / Savoy
Cinema / Vice Versa Nightclub
Above - Part of an early photograph showing the Operetta House, Clacton - Courtesy Maurice Friedman, British Music hall Society - See full photograph below.
The Operetta House, Clacton-On-Sea was built in 1894 by J. W. Chapman on the first floor of the original Town Hall and adjoining a branch of Barclays Bank. The Theatre had a stage depth of 23 foot and width of 40 foot with a proscenium width of 22 foot 6 inches.
Far Right - An early photograph showing Barclays Bank and the former Town Hall and the Operetta House, Clacton - Courtesy Maurice Friedman, British Music hall Society.
On the 23rd of September 1899 the ERA published a small article which will be of interest to anyone who wondered how Arthur Lloyd and his family may have traveled from Clacton on Sea to his next date, which in this case was in Brightlingsea. Well it seems that Arthur was one of the first Music Hall artistes to use the new fangled invention, the motor car. The ERA found this interesting enough to print an article about it saying:-
'Mr Arthur Lloyd and his company, after his three nights at the Operetta House, Clacton-on-Sea, went by road on a motor car to Brightlingsea, traveling thirteen miles in about fifty minutes, another car following with the baggage. It being a fine day, and the road being excellent, the trip was most enjoyable.' - The ERA Sep 23 1899.
Early Biograph Animated Pictures began to be shown at the Operetta House as early as 1905 and the Theatre was later converted for Cinema use, reopening in April 1911. The Theatre was refurbished and reopened as the Tivoli in 1924. At the outbreak of the Second World War the Theatre was closed, and it suffered some damage from air raids during the war, but after repair work was carried out on the building it reopened with the new name of the Savoy in 1951.
The Town Hall and Operetta House building is still standing today although much altered. Part of the adjoining building which was then a Branch of Barclays Bank has been reconstructed but is still a Barclays Bank today, and the original Theatre auditorium above the old Town Hall is still in existence today albeit much altered and now in use as a Nightclub called Vice Versa.
Right - A Google StreetView image showing what remains of the former Town Hall and Operetta House, Clacton - Click to Interact.
The Theatres Trust says of the building today: 'In spite of all these changes, the outline of the theatre clearly remains. In particular, the circle is still in use, albeit as a bar and drinks area and this is now linked by parallel walkways to the main staircase to the dance floor, which is now accessed from the middle of what was the proscenium. Little of the original decoration remains but the stairway is very reminiscent of 1930s cinema architecture.' The Theatres Trust.
The posters on this page are from a large collection of original Lloyd / King Posters collected since the mid 1800s by members of the family and found recently after being lost for 50 years. To see all these posters click the Poster Index here.
Archive newspaper reports on this page were kindly collated and sent in for inclusion by BF.
You may find the following pages from this site of interest: