Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Marlborough Theatre, 383, Holloway Road, Islington

Later - The Marlborough Picture Theatre

See also in this area - The Islington Empire - Collins' Music Hall - The Parkhurst Theatre - The Angel Picture Theatre - The Royal Agricultural Hall and Islington Palace

The Marlborough Theatre, Holloway - From a Postcard

Above - The Marlborough Theatre, Holloway - From a Postcard

An advertisement carried in the ERA of the 10th of November 1900 on the proposed new Marlborough Theatre, Holloway.The Marlborough Theatre, which was situated at 383, Holloway Road, Islington, and next to the earlier Parkhurst Theatre, was first proposed in the last year of the 19th century, indeed the ERA were already reporting on it in their 20th of May 1899 edition saying:- 'The site of Mr F. W. Purcell's new Marlborough Theatre at Holloway is an exceptionally fine one, being very near the famous Nag's Head, and in close proximity to Finsbury-park Station. The building will be proceeded with immediately. The plans, which are by that eminent architect Mr Frank Matcham, are approved by the London County Council, and Mr Purcell evidently means to spare no expense, as the estimated cost of the new theatre is between £30,000 and £40,000. The Marlborough, Holloway, will be run in conjunction with the Alexandra, Stoke Newington.' - The ERA, 20th of May 1899.

Right - An advertisement carried in the ERA of the 10th of November 1900 on the proposed new Marlborough Theatre, Holloway.

The Theatre didn't actually open however, until well into the 20th century. It was built for F. W. Purcell by Messrs. Patman and Fatheringham, and was designed by the now renowned Theatre Architect, Frank Matcham. It opened on Monday the 5th of October, 1903 with a week of the Carla Rosa Opera Company. The auditorium of the Marlborough consisted of Stalls and Pit, Dress Circle, Upper Circle, and Gallery, with a capacity of 2,612.

A programme for 'Priscilla Runs Away' at the Marlborough Theatre, Holloway in March 1911.The Building News and Engineering Journal reported briefly on the opening in their 9th of October 1903 edition saying:- 'The new Marlborough Theatre, Holloway, was opened on Monday night. The new building, of which Mr. Frank Matcham is the architect, is spacious. A feature in the planning is the throwing back of the upper circle, so as not to project over the dress-circle, thus enabling the large gallery to be brought well forward. The stage measures 43ft. by 76ft.' - The Building News and Engineering Journal, 9th of October 1903.

Left - A programme for 'Priscilla Runs Away' at the Marlborough Theatre, Holloway in March 1911.

Sadly the Theatre only presented live theatre for a short period before it was converted for cinema use by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, reopening on the 28th of May 1918 as the Marlborough Picture Theatre. A Thomas Jones, 2 Manual straight organ was installed to accompany the silent movies shown there. In February 1929 the Theatre was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres who continued to run it as a Cinema until it closed in 1940 due to the war. In February 1942 the Theatre was taken over by Odeon Theatres Ltd., and reopened on the 9th of March the same year with a reduced capacity of 1,685.

The last films to be shown at the Marlborough were 'Hell Drivers' and 'The Heart Within' on the 31st of August 1957 and then the Theatre closed its doors for the last time, although it was used as a location for part of the film 'Gideon of Scotland Yard' which was released the following year. The Theatre then remained empty until it was eventually demolished in 1962 for the construction of an office building called Marlborough House, which is currently in use by the City and Islington College, see image below.

Some archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

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

 A Google StreetView Image of the site of the former Marlborough Theatre today - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the site of the former Marlborough Theatre today - Click to Interact

Other Pages that may be of Interest