Lyceum Theatre

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Lyceum Theatre
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: Wellington Street, Strand. For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here, Here and Here.

  • Alternate Names: Royal Lyceum Theatre, English Opera House, Palais de Dance, Mecca Ballroom.

  • 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 Lyceum Theatre

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Variety 16 January 1843 - 21 January 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Circus 23 January 1843 - 28 January 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Circus 30 January 1843 - 4 February 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Circus 6 February 1843 - 11 February 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Circus 20 February 1843 - 25 February 1843 London, London (city-county) Mungo Park Troupe (London-Lyceum, 43), Sweeney, J.W., Buckley
    Circus 27 February 1843 - 4 March 1843 London, London (city-county) Mungo Park Troupe (London-Lyceum, 43), Buckley
    Circus 6 March 1843 - 11 March 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W., Mungo Park Troupe (London-Lyceum, 43)
    Circus 27 March 1843 - 1 April 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Circus 3 April 1843 - 8 April 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Dramatic 15 May 1843 - 20 May 1843 London, London (city-county) Sweeney, J.W.
    Dramatic 25 January 1847 - 25 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 1 February 1847 - 3 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 8 February 1847 - 12 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Concert 9 February 1847 - 9 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Lantum Serenaders, Russell, Henry
    Dramatic 15 February 1847 - 15 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 22 February 1847 - 22 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 23 February 1847 - 27 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 1 March 1847 - 1 March 1847 London, London (city-county) Wigwam Troupe (Lyceum, 47)
    Dramatic 8 April 1847 - 8 April 1847 London, London (city-county) Emery
    Dramatic 3 May 1847 - 4 May 1847 London, London (city-county) Emery
    Dramatic 28 June 1847 - 28 June 1847 London, London (city-county) Emery
    Dramatic 16 August 1847 - 21 August 1847 London, London (city-county) Emery
    Dramatic 25 August 1847 - 28 August 1847 London, London (city-county) Ethiopian Delineators (Pelham's, 1847)
    Variety 27 December 1847 - 1 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Vestris, Madame
    Variety 3 January 1848 - 8 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Vestris, Madame
    Minstrel Show 25 March 1850 - 30 March 1850 London, London (city-county) Russell, Henry
    Dramatic 22 December 1851 - 27 December 1851 London, London (city-county) Pell, G.W., Grove, Miss
    Dramatic 29 December 1851 - 3 January 1852 London, London (city-county) Grove, Miss, Pell, G.W.

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Arthur Lloyd Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Black’s New Guide to London and its Environs. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1863.

      “THE LYCEUM THEATRE, Wellington Street, Strand, is so called from a former house having been erected (1795) as a lyceum or academy for a society of artists. Garrick afterwards bought the lease with the view of preventing its being converted into a rival theatre. After this time it was enlarged and English operas were performed in it. In 1816 it was pulled down and rebuilt; the new edifice having been destroyed by fire, the present house was built from Beazley's designs in 1830 at a cost of £35,000. The much admired decorations of the interior were executed in 1847 in Madame Vestris’ management” (214).
    • Carthalia - Theatres on Postcards Website. 09/14/2008 (
    • Clarke, Henry Green. London in All Its Glory. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      “THE ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE, Wellington Street, North Strand. Erected on the site of the old theatre, which was destroyed by fire, February 16th, 1839, from the designs of Mr. S. Beazley. It has a handsome Corinthian portico of six columns, the whole surmounted by a dome and balustrade; the interior, which is light and elegant, is decorated in a chaste yet beautiful manner. The present lessee is Mr. Charles Mathews; and under the excellent management of Madame Vestris, it is a deservedly popular place of amusement” (125-6).
    • Cunningham, P. Modern London; or, London as it is. London: John Murray, 1851.

      ”The ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE, or ENGLISH OPERA HOUSE, is in the STRAND, at the corner of Upper Wellington-street; it was built, in 1834, by Mr. S. Beazley. The interior decorations were made in Madame Vestris's time (1847), and are very beautiful. The theatre derives its name from an academy or exhibition room, built in 1765, for the Society of Arts, by Mr. James Payne, the architect. It was first converted into a theatre in 1790, and into an English Opera House by Mr. Arnold in 1809. The preceding theatre (also the work of Mr. Beazley) was destroyed by fire, Feb. 16th, 1830. This theatre is under the management of Madame Vestris and Mr. Charles Mathews and during the season never fails to produce attractive pieces” (177-8).
    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (

      (Under Entertainment - Theatre & Shows - Theatres & Venues - Lyceum Theatre)

    • Era (London) February 12, 1843: 6:2.
    • Howard, Diana. London Theatres and Music Halls 1850-1950. London: The Library Association, 1970.


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

      ”LYCEUM THEATRE, Strand, corner of Wellington Street. Shakspearian pieces, comedies, etc”. (38).
    • 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 theatre ”was re-decorated in a chaste, yet very beautiful manner, in 1847, when it was opened under the present management, with papier mache ornaments, of many diversified subjects, beautifully executed, on raised lozenges of white, forming a good contrast with the body of the boxes; the draperies arc also very elegant, exhibiting the well-known taste of Madame Vestris. […] The performances consist principally of comediettas, or two-act comedies, farces, and burlesques; the latter from the prolific, and highly amusing pen of Mr. J.R. Planche, are produced in a style unapproached by any other theatre. The chief female performers are Miss Julia St. George, Miss Fanny Baker, Mrs. Frank Mathews, and Madame Vestris; whilst the weight of the male performances fall upon the shoulders and the abilities of Messrs. Frank Mathews, Charles Mathews, Granby, George Vining, Robert Hoxby, and Suter. Doors open at half-past six o’clock; performances commence at seven. Admission: dress circle, five shillings; upper boxes, four shillings; pit, two shillings; gallery, one shilling. No half price to any part of the house. The entrance to Her Majesty's box is in Burleigh Street, Strand” (213)
    • The London Stage 1800-1900 (University of Massachusetts). 03/23/2008 (
    • London Theatre Direct Website. 09/04/2008 (
    • Sala, G.A. London Up to Date. Reproduced at Victorian London Online.. 09/14/2008 (

      (Under A First Night at the Lyceum)
    • Theatres in Victorian London Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1855). London: David Bogue, 1855.


      The information provided within this source is much the same as that given within the 1868 edition of the book.
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.

      “LYCEUM THEATRE, Wellington-street, Strand, was originally built by James Payne, architect, in 1765, as an academy (or lyceum) for a society of artists; of whom on the re-establishment of the Royal Academy, Garrick bought the lease of the premises, to prevent their becoming a theatre. They were next purchased by Mr. Lingham, a breeches maker, in the Strand, and opened about 1790 for musical performances; in 1794 or 1795 Lingham leased the adjoining ground to Dr. Arnold, who built here a theatre, the licence for which was suppressed, and it was let for music, dancing, and horsemanship, exhibition of paintings, &c. […] In 1809, the theatre was enlarged by Mr. S.A. Arnold, and opened as the English Opera-house: it was rebuilt, in 1816, by Beazley; was destroyed by fire, Feb. 16, 1830; and again rebuilt by Beazley somewhat further west, the site of the former theatre being included in Wellington-street, then formed from the Strand northward. The new theatre cost 35,000l.; it has an elegant Corinthian portico: it was opened with English opera, July 14, 1834; and was re-decorated in rich Italian taste, for Madame Vestris, in 1847. Here were given the best performances of the Keeleys; and the admirable Shakcsperean and melodramatic impersonations of Mr Charles Fechter” (785).

      Also gives the theatre’s capacity (in 1866) as 1700 (789)
    • "A Tour Among the Theatres". Metropolitan Magazine January, 1847: 25-33.