Astley's Royal Amphitheatre

Other Images

Legend
map legend

Venue Type & Location

Circus

Site Name: Astley's Royal Amphitheatre
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Overview

  • Address: 6 & 7 Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth. For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here and Here.


  • Alternate Names: Batty's Royal Amphitheatre?, Batty's Hippodrome?


  • Performance Space Description: Information about this venue has not yet been compiled; however, some sense of the performance space may be gleaned by following the links at right. In particular:


  • See the 'Bibliographic Sources' link for a provisional list of venue-relevant resources (both primary and secondary). Wherever possible (i.e. when the pertinent text is relatively short and/or easily condensed) this material has been transcribed, and appears beneath the appropriate bibliographic citation.


  • See the 'Events at venue' link for a listing of blackface/minstrelsy-related events that took place in this performance space (with attached bibliographic references).


    Beth Marquis

  • Events at Astley's Royal Amphitheatre

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Circus 19 August 1844 - 24 August 1844 London, London (city-county) Carter, the American Lion King
    Circus 26 August 1844 - 31 August 1844 London, London (city-county) Carter, the American Lion King
    Circus 2 September 1844 - 7 September 1844 London, London (city-county) Tourniaire, Francois
    Circus 17 September 1844 - 17 September 1844 London, London (city-county) Ioway Indians
    Circus 21 October 1844 - 21 October 1844 London, London (city-county) American Southern Minstrels, Palmer, Master Hendrik Thompson
    Circus 4 November 1844 - 9 November 1844 London, London (city-county) Wells
    Circus 18 November 1844 - 23 November 1844 London, London (city-county) Stickney, The Popular American Horseman
    Variety 5 January 1845 - 5 January 1845 London, London (city-county) American Southern Minstrels
    Circus 27 January 1845 - 1 February 1845 London, London (city-county) American Southern Minstrels
    Variety 3 February 1845 - 8 February 1845 London, London (city-county) American Southern Minstrels
    Minstrel Show 10 February 1845 - 15 February 1845 London, London (city-county) American Southern Minstrels
    Circus 18 August 1845 - 23 August 1845 London, London (city-county) Francois, Mons.
    Dramatic 1 September 1845 - 6 September 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 8 September 1845 - 13 September 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 15 September 1845 - 20 September 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 22 September 1845 - 27 September 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 29 September 1845 - 4 October 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 6 October 1845 - 11 October 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45), Francois, Mons.
    Circus 13 October 1845 - 18 October 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 20 October 1845 - 25 October 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45), Rinaldo, Signor
    Circus 27 October 1845 - 27 October 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45), Sharp, J.W., Brown, W.
    Circus 28 October 1845 - 1 November 1845 London, London (city-county) Bride of the Nile Troupe (Astley's, 45)
    Circus 1 December 1845 - 6 December 1845 London, London (city-county) Cooke, Alfred
    Circus 19 January 1846 - 24 January 1846 London, London (city-county) Newsome
    Circus 1 June 1846 - 6 June 1846 London, London (city-county) Bridges, Selim
    Variety 15 June 1846 - 20 June 1846 London, London (city-county) General Tom Thumb
    Circus 13 July 1846 - 18 July 1846 London, London (city-county) Bridges, Selim
    Circus 20 July 1846 - 20 July 1846 London, London (city-county) Bridges, Selim
    Circus 1 March 1847 - 6 March 1847 London, London (city-county) Jumbo Jum Troupe (Astley's, 47)
    Minstrel Show 22 March 1847 - 22 March 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders
    Circus 6 March 1848 - 11 March 1848 London, London (city-county) Bell, R.
    Circus 13 March 1848 - 18 March 1848 London, London (city-county) Bell, R.
    Circus 11 September 1848 - 16 September 1848 London, London (city-county) Powell, J.
    Circus 8 January 1849 - 13 January 1849 London, London (city-county) Powell, J.
    Circus 9 April 1849 - 14 April 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 16 April 1849 - 21 April 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 23 April 1849 - 28 April 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 30 April 1849 - 5 May 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 7 May 1849 - 12 May 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 14 May 1849 - 19 May 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 21 May 1849 - 26 May 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 28 May 1849 - 2 June 1849 London, London (city-county) White Maiden Troupe (Astley's, 49)
    Circus 29 October 1849 - 3 November 1849 London, London (city-county) Powell, J.
    Dramatic 26 December 1849 - 29 December 1849 London, London (city-county) Harlequin Yankee Doodle Troupe (Astley's 49)
    Dramatic 31 December 1849 - 5 January 1850 London, London (city-county) Harlequin Yankee Doodle Troupe (Astley's 49)
    Dramatic 22 November 1852 - 27 November 1852 London, London (city-county) Uncle Tom's Cabin Troupe (London-Astley's, 52)

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Black’s New Guide to London and its Environs. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1863.




      “(ASTLEY'S) THE THEATRE ROYAL, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, recently repaired and adapted for a play house by Mr Boucicault. The present building is the fourth house erected on the site, the three previous houses having been destroyed by fire. Astley, after whom it was called was a cavalry soldier, whose first theatre was a structure of deal boards, put up in 1773. The place afterwards passed into the hands of Andrew Ducrow, and was called by his name. During his proprietorship it was burned down, and he died insane a few months subsequently” (212).
    • Clarke, Henry Green. London in All Its Glory. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.




      “ASTLEY'S ROYAL AMPHITHEATRE, Westminster Bridge Road. First established about 1767, as an open riding-school, but in 1780 was covered in, and formed into a regular theatre. It has been since thrice destroyed by fire - in 1794, 1803, and 1841 - but has been rebuilt, and is now one of the best frequented theatres in London” (129).
    • Cunningham, P. Modern London; or, London as it is. London: John Murray, 1851.




      ”ASTLEY'S AMPHITHEATRE, WESTMINSTER BRIDGE ROAD, a theatre and circus, under the management of Mr. Batty, well conducted and well patronized, and the fourth building of the same nature on the same site. The first amphitheatre on this spot was a mere temporary erection of deal boards, built (1774) by Philip Astley, a light-horseman in the 15th or General Elliot's regiment. It stood on what was then an open piece of ground in St. George's Fields, through which the New Cut ran, and to which a halfpenny hatch led. The price of admission to the space without the railing of the ride was 6d, and Astley himself, said to have been the handsomest man in England, was the chief performer, assisted by a drum, two fifes, and a clown of the name of Porter. At first it was an open area. In 1780, it was converted into a covered amphitheatre, and divided into pit, boxes, and gallery. In 1786, it was newly fitted up, and called ‘The Royal Grove,’ and in 1792. ‘The Royal Saloon, or Astley's Amphitheatre.’ The entertainment, at first, was only a day exhibition of horsemanship. Transparent fireworks, slack rope vaulting, Egyptian Pyramids, tricks on chairs, tumbling, &c. were subsequently added, the ride enlarged, and the house opened in the evening. It is now both theatre and amphitheatre. Astley's amphitheatre has been thrice destroyed by fire - in 1794, in 1803, and in 1841. […] For the equestrian performances in the circus (the leading attraction) you need not go before 9 at night” (178-9).
    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/)




      (Under Entertainment and Recreation - Theatre and Shows - Theatres - Astleys)
    • Howard, Diana. London Theatres and Music Halls 1850-1950. London: The Library Association, 1970.

      p15.

    • London and its Environs. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1885.




      ”ASTLEY'S THEATRE (Sanger's Amphitheatre), Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, built in 1805 of the wood of an old man-of-war, burned down in 1841, and re-erected in 1850. Equestrian performances, spectacles, and farces” (40).
    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.




      The information provided within this source is similar to that given within London in all its Glory, also published by H.G. Clarke, & Co.


      In addition, this source also contains the following:

      “The exterior, which has no architectural pretensions; is ornamented with a portico, surmounted by the royal arms. The auditory is of an elliptical form, neatly ornamented. Between the pit and the stage, is the circular ride, in which are exhibited the extraordinary performances of the most talented male and female equestrians of the day, enlivened by the drolleries of Mr. Barry, the celebrated clown to the ring. Under the management of Ducrow. unrivalled for his fearless and graceful exploits in the circle, this house became distinguished in its way above all others in Europe. The stud of trained horses, all beautiful animals, exhibiting a wonderful degree of sagacity, and obedience to the riders’ will, exceeded fifty in number, and the stable now kept by Mr. Batty, the present proprietor and manager, is said to be in no way inferior. Besides the equestrian performances, pantomimes, burlettas, rope-dancing, feats of strength or agility are also exhibited. Manager, Mr. Batty. Doors open at half-past six o’clock; performances commence at seven. Admission: boxes, four shillings; pit, two shillings; gallery, one shilling; upper gallery, sixpence. Second price at nine o’clock” (220).
    • The London Stage 1800-1900 (University of Massachusetts). 03/23/2008 (http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~a0fs000/1800/1800.html)
    • London Theatres Website (Templeman Library, University of Kent at Canterbury). 05/22/2008 (http://library.kent.ac.uk/library/special/html/specoll/theindex.htm)
    • Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor. Vol. 2. London: Griffin, Bohn & Co, 1861.
    • Sherson, Erroll. London’s Lost Theatres of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1925.

      pp52-76.

    • Theatres in Victorian London Website. 05/22/2008 (http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/theaters/pva234.html)
    • Theatrical Journal (London) July 19, 1849: 225:2, 226:1 .
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.




      “ASTLEY'S AMPHITHEATRE, Bridge-road, Lambeth, is the fourth theatre erected upon this site. The first was one of the 19 theatres built by Philip Astley, and was opened in 1773, burnt in 1794; rebuilt 1795, burnt 1803; rebuilt 1804, burnt June 8 1841, within two hours from the house being principally constructed with old ship-timber. It was rebuilt, and opened April 17, 1843, and has since been enlarged. The theatre was built for equestrianism; and the stud of trained horses usually numbered from 50 to 60. It has since been cleverly remodelled by Mr Boucicault, for performances of the regular drama” (780).


      Also gives the theatre’s capacity (in 1866) as 2200 (789)
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1855). London: David Bogue, 1855.

      p714.


      The information provided within this source is much the same as that given within the 1868 edition of the book.
    • Walford, Edward. Old and New London Vol. 6 (1878). Reproduced at British History Online. 03/23/2008 (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=344)

      Chapter 30 ('Lambeth - Introduction and the transpontine theatres'.)