Smithford Street 1939
|ADDRESS||17 SMITHFORD STREET|
|THIS PREMISES WAS KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY||FROM||TO||KNOWN AS|
There is an 1861 transfer of license showing a liqour vaults at the bottom of Theatre Yard was transferred from M.A. Wittem to William Morris. Buchanan lists it as BOARD VAULTS in 1868, a license having been granted to John Dell in 1866, but by 1874 the establishment was known as the SPIRIT VAULTS and seven years later in 1881 was called the OLD VAULTS. That remained until 1886 when the name changed again to the THEATRE VAULTS. In 1889 the THEATRE ROYAL became the EMPIRE PALACE OF VARIETIES accesible through the THEATRE VAULTS.
Although this was a period of music hall boom, audiences gradually dwindled to the point where the theatre became uneconomic to run. Competition from two pub music halls did not help. Ellen Terry played there in November 1880. Even stars like Charles Coborn and Arthur Lloyd in 1895 could not reverse the financial state and the Empire closed permanently at Christmas 1895 and was demolished in 1903 - but not the THEATRE VAULTS which remained trading until destroyed by enemy action in 1940.
|Known Licensees are;
? M.A. Wittem wine/spirit merchant
1861 - 1868 William Morris Liquor merchant
1866 J. Dell
1874 William Morris, Wine & Spirit Merchant
1881 J. Wade
1886 - 1896 H. W. Thomas
1903 - 1905 G. Lawford
1909 - 1912 William Frederick Hodgkins
1912 - 1913 C. H. Scattergood
1919 Fred Wooton
1921 - 1924 J. Revitt
1929 - 1940 S. Marston
Smithford Street after bomb damage only one year later
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