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© Ms Emma Skeldon

IoE Number: 479582
Location: THE THEATRE ROYAL THE COLONNADE PUBLIC HOUSE (NUMBER 10) AND ATTACHED COLONNADE, 8,9 AND 10 NEW ROAD (west side)
  BRIGHTON, BRIGHTON AND HOVE, EAST SUSSEX
Photographer: Ms Emma Skeldon
Date Photographed: 01 October 2004
Date listed: 20 August 1971
Date of last amendment: 26 August 1999
Grade II

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BRIGHTON TQ3104SW NEW ROAD 577-1/40/573 (West side) 20/08/71 Nos.8, 9 AND 10 The Theatre Royal, The Colonnade Public House (No.10) and attached colonnade (Formerly Listed as: NEW ROAD (West side) Nos.8 AND 9 The Theatre Royal and attached colonnade) (Formerly Listed as: NEW ROAD (West side) Nos.1-7 (Consecutive) (including colonnade in front) and 10 (The Colonnade Public House)) II Formerly known as: Nos 3-8 (consec) & No 10 Colonnade Hotel (incl. colonnade in front) NEW ROAD. Formerly known as: The Theatre Royal (incl. colonnade in front) NEW ROAD. Includes: No.35 Stage Entrance to the Theatre Royal BOND STREET. Theatre and public house. 1807, altered 1866, 1894, 1926/7. First theatre on site built in 1807 to designs approved by the Prince of Wales; the Messrs Hides, who designed the Worthing Theatre in the same year, may have been the architects. Auditorium and stage rebuilt and facade extended in 1866 by CJ Phipps, when Henry John Nye Chart purchased the theatre; the builder was David Bland of London, and the Clerk of the Works George Tasker. Reconstruction of exterior and extension into Nos 8 and 9 New Road (as well as into No.35 Bond Street) in 1894 by CE Clayton of Clayton and Black, North Street, Brighton; Clayton remained the theatre architect until 3 years before his death in 1923. The auditorium redecorated by Sprague and Barton in 1926/7. MATERIALS: brick in Flemish bond with stucco cement dressing; the late C19 extension is brick in mixed bonds, with cement dressings. Parapeted roofs. EXTERIOR: Nos 8 and 9 are part of the early C19 scheme which includes Nos 1-7 (consecutive) New Road and Nos 159-161 (consecutive) North Street (qv) and date to the early C19; these have 3 storeys and attic over basement; 3-window range between the pair. The late C19 extension has 4 storeys with dormer over basement and a 7-window range. The original structure, built just after the opening of New Road, had a neo-Classical facade with a colonnade of 5 bays. The only visible remnant of this first phase is the geometrical stair from the ground to first floors in the east wall. In the 1866 remodelling a tall top storey was added for a new gallery as well as the "Conservatory", which was built out over the colonnade and contained the dress circle bar. In 1894, the original entrances under the colonnade were closed off; the theatre was refronted, heightened and extended into Nos 8 and 9 to provide added room for offices, a bar, and broad staircases. For the most part, the present facade dates to this time. Nos 8 and 9 are fronted by a late C19 colonnade with balcony above. On the upper floors these houses preserve their early C19 aspect and are comparable with Nos 1-7 New Road (consecutive) (qv). The ground floors of Nos 8 and 9 date to 1894 and designed in Clayton's free interpretation of "Jacobethan" and Italianate forms. The current elevation of the theatre itself (which also incorporates No.10) has a centre projecting range of 5 windows, while the end window ranges are slightly set back and treated as attached towers topped by an ogee cap metal roof; the towers and centre range are linked on the second and third floors by arches, the latter enclosed. The first-floor windows in the centre range are set in an elaborate aedicule surmounted by a round-arched tympanum filled with a shell motif; the pair of flanking windows have architraves and are topped by a floral entablature frieze. These and many other forms in the elevation are taken from the Flemish Renaissance. The centre window on the second floor is set in an elaborate aedicule with a scrolled pediment; sill band to side windows each of which has a flared lintel. All the third-floor windows are round arched. Those in the centre section treated as an arcade with a section of balustrade filling each spandrel, while each side window has a projecting balcony enclosed by railings. In this stage shallow corbel shafts rise to frame the centre windows of the 4th floor, where they support pilaster brackets, each terminating in an obelisk; there are remains of scrolled gable to be found above this upper floor. There are keyed elliptical windows in the 4th floor of the attached towers; attic, framed in wood, glazed and dating to c1915, replaced a scrolled parapet. Ground floor has a colonnade of paired Ionic columns with deep cornice incorporating pierced balustrade. INTERIOR: ticket booth and entrance lobby in No.8: panelled walls and kiosk; 2 flat-arched openings give way to broad open well stairs. The Colonnade public house has much glazed terracotta. The auditorium has a flat proscenium arch with early Royal Arms of an early C19 date in the centre; above proscenium is a frieze of Jacobean-style strapwork, a remnant of the Phipps scheme, as are the first- and second-level omnibus boxes near the stage, along with their flanking, double giant pilasters. Phipps added a 3-tier gallery supported on cast-iron columns; its plan was bell-shaped; the centre chandelier in the ceiling also dates to Phipps' scheme. A spiral stair of mid C19 date survives to the rear of No.9. The 1866 colour scheme was purple, cream and buff. Clayton seems to have left most of Phipps' scheme in place; the frieze above the proscenium arch may date to 1894. In 1927, however, the interior assumed its current appearance, with plaster decoration in a late Louis Seize manner. At the same time, reinforced concrete lintels were added to strengthen the rear of the galleries. Barton and Sprague also transformed the plan of Phipps' galleries adding a reverse curve near the stage and, in so doing, removed one cast-iron column on each side of the dress and upper circles. On the first floor of Nos 8 and 9, and the bar in the ground floor of No.9, the 1894 scheme, with its mix of Renaissance, Jacobean, Flemish and Arts and Crafts detailing, dominates. Important features include: panelled doors with stained glass to conveniences just outside bar and the bar itself. Of note is the provision by Clayton of a scenery door at the rear of the site, set in the facade of an early C19 cottage in Bond Street, No.35, which is included in this listing. HISTORICAL NOTE: the Theatre Royal's first productions, "Hamlet" and "The Weather-Cock" featured Mr and Mrs Charles Kemble. If reports that the structure was lit by gas in 1819 are true, the building would be the first theatre in Britain to be so illuminated; the Drury Lane was lit by gas in 1820. In 1854, after a period of decline, Henry "Nye" Chart, an actor in the theatre's company, became manager. He removed the Royal box and added some seats. In 1866 he formed a syndicate to buy the theatre, which was extensively rebuilt over the summer and autumn of that year, increasing its accommodation to 1,900. It was at this time that he started to lease No.9 New Road as a property and scenery store. His widow, Elizabeth Chart, inherited the theatre in 1876. In 1883 she purchased No.8 New Road for use as her own residence. In 1894 the Corporation architect, May, demanded alterations to satisfy safety regulations. At this time the Brighton Theatre Royal Company, as it had been known since 1889, purchased Nos 35-38 Bond Street; Nos 36-38 were relet as shops (not included). All but No.35 were resold in 1934. In 1894 electric lights were installed. Small-scale redecorations undertaken in 1904, 1909 and 1912, when individual seats and a new heating system were installed. (Carder T: The Encyclopaedia of Brighton: Lewes: 1990-: 182; Cheshire DF & Brereton C: Curtains!: 97, 98; Dale A: The Theatre Royal, Brighton: 1980-).

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