The Crouch End Hippodrome, Tottenham Lane, Crouch End
Formerly - The Athenaeum / The Queen's Opera House
Above Left - The Queen's Opera House, Crouch End, later the Hippodrome, from the book 'Images of Hornsey and Crouch End' by Ken Gay. And Right - The building in 2004 M.L. - Currently called 'Holmes Place.
The Crouch End Hippodrome originally opened as the Queen's Opera House on Tuesday the 27th of July 1897 with a production of 'The Geisha'. The Theatre was a reconstruction of the former Crouch End Athenaeum and was built for the owners and managers H. H. Morell and Frederick Mouillot who at the time owned another 17 Theatres between them.
The ERA reported on the new Theatre a few months before it opened in their 8th of May 1897 edition and amongst other things said: 'The principal entrance to the building is from the block of shops known as Topsfieid-parade, under a vestibule about 22ft. wide, which is continued out to the curb-line by a handsome iron and glass verandah.
The floor of this vestibule is on a level with the stalls. The entrance to the pit is at a slightly higher level, and that to the dress-circle and upper circle is by a handsome flight of marble steps. Each part of the house will be provided with two or more distinct exits. The theatre can also be approached from an entrance in the block of shops known as the Pavement. There is also a third exit in Elder-avenue.
The stage has an opening 26ft. square, fitted with a fireproof curtain; the size of the stage being 54ft. by 40ft., the height to the grid being about 50ft. There are a number of conveniently arranged dreesing rooms on the stage floor level, and a large chorus dressing-room under the stage. Smoking and lounge rooms are also provided, and suitable refreshment accommodation on both floors. The total seating capacity will be about 1,500. The seats of the orchestra stalls and pit stalls and dress-circle will be tip-up chairs, upholstered in Utrecht velvet, the remaining portion of the auditorium being fitted with chairs, so that each person will have a comfortable seat. The building will be heated by hot-water radiators, supplied with fresh-air inlets.'
The Daily News reported on the opening of the Theatre in their 27th of July 1897 edition saying: 'A Fine theatre has been built at Crouch-end. It is situated not very far from the spot where a year or two back occurred the pretty fish pond in the long garden of an old mansion. Pond, garden, and mansion are no more, and a line of large shops have taken the place of the trees. They represent an extension of the Broadway, and the conspicuous exterior of the Queen's Opera House is a feature of the new frontage.
Left - A sketch of the auditorium of the Queen's Opera House, Crouch End - From Lloyds Weekly, 1st August 1897.
This place of entertainment is as notable inside as out. Lobbies, corridors, and staircasesall are of generous dimensions. Just over one-third of an acre is covered by the building. The auditorium is 100 feet by 54, and the stage 54 feet by 30. There is accommodation for 1,500 persons, including 100 in the orchestra. stalls (5s.), 236 in the pit stalls (3s.), and 436 in the pit (1s.). Above there is a large balcony (2s). Four boxes add to the appearance of the house, which has been beautifully decorated by Messrs. Dean, of Birmingham. Mr. Tom Woolnough is the architect, and Mr. Frank Matcham, the consulting architect.
The saloon and lounge is 50 feet by 27, and thereby hangs a tale. Originally the building was to have bean an Athenaeum, with a stage at one end of the hall and a platform at the other. One day the property came under the notice of Mr. H. H. Morell, who saw how by a modification of the plans the structure might be made into a fine theatre. One result of the modification is that what was to have been a lecture hall has become a saloon and lounge...
It is intended that the Queen's Opera House should meet the requirements not only of the people of Hornsey and Crouch-end, but of those in more rural districts traversed by the Great Northern and Midland Railways. The theatre will open to-day with "The Geisha," which will be followed by "The Sign of the Gross," "Jim the Penman," "My Friend the Prince," "The Private Secretary," and "The School Girl."'
The above (edited) text in quotes was first published in the Daily News, 27th of July 1897.
In 1907, 3 years after his death in 1904, Arthur Lloyd's children, Lillie, Arthur, and Dulcie appeared at the Crouch End Hippodrome as The Arthur Lloyd Trio in the Drawing Room Entertainment 'Little Charlie or The Twin Sisters' written by their father.
The Theatre had been renamed the Crouch End Hippodrome by 1907 but the building was seriously damaged by enemy action during the second world war in the 1940s and subsequently demolished apart from some external walls.
The front of the building still bares the look of the original but internally nothing remains. In 2010 it was being used as a branch of a Virgin Active Health Club.
Right - A Google StreetView Image of the former Crouch End Hippodrome today - Click to Interact.
If you have any more information about this Theatre, especially in its later years, or have images you are willing to share please Contact me.
Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.
You may find the following pages from this site of interest: