© Miss Patricia Philpott ARPS
WHITEHALL THEATRE, WHITEHALL SW1 (west side)
WESTMINSTER, CITY OF WESTMINSTER, GREATER LONDON
Miss Patricia Philpott ARPS
31 March 2006
20 December 1996
Date of last amendment:
20 December 1996
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TQ3080SW WHITEHALL, SW1
1900-/83/10153 Whitehall Theatre
Theatre. 1929-30 by Edward A Stone. Steel and reinforced concrete clad in brick and with Portland stone facades to front and rear. Rectangular plan, but with angle between entrance hall and foyers and auditorium which is concealed in the arrangement of the foyers and stairs. Symmetrical facade with bronze windows to first and second floors linked by panels set back in chamfered surrounds. Stepped parapet. Rear elevation with arcaded mouldings.
Interior. Foyer and stairs lead to auditorium with gallery and stage with fly tower. Angled and ribbed proscenium arch with tympanum containing stylised mermaid appearing from a shell and scrolled foliage decoration. Similar motifs are the centrepiece of the octagonal concave ceiling. These curved and moulded surfaces in stippled silver act as reflectors in the ceiling light. Stalls box set back from proscenium, with box over set in ribbed surround, and with two further boxes to either side at back of circle, all with masques and cartouches on box fronts, and those at rear with dentil mouldings. Foliage decoration and dentil mouldings to balcony fronts. Silver cornices. The decoration of black, red, gold and silver was designed to be reflective and is an important part of the composition.
With only 650 seats the Whitehall Theatre was a novel departure for West End theatres, intended according to the Architect and Building News for light comedies rather than the melodramas of earlier years or for big musicals. It was among the first theatres in Britain to champion `an architecture of light', pioneered in German theatres and cinemas during the 1920s but not found in British cinema architecture until the mid-1930s. The auditorium has a decorative cohesion and prettiness rare in theatres of its day, and has the best surviving original fabric of this type of theatre.
Building, October 1930;
Architecture Illustrated, November 1930;
Architecture and Building News, 9 January 1931.