(East end of street formerly Chapel Street)
The name Tottenham Street has remained unchanged except for
the eastern portion, between Whitfield Street and Tottenham Court Road,
which was formerly known as Chapel Street. The numbering is from east
to west, the even numbers being on the north and the odd on the south.
There is nothing of architectural importance left in this street.
The whole frontage on the south between Whitfield Street and Charlotte
Street is occupied by the Scala Theatre (see below). Between Charlotte
Street and Goodge Place there are six old houses left. West of Goodge
Place, the corner house and its neighbour No. 43 appear to have been
refronted in the 19th-century. Nos. 45 and 47 are in their original condition,
the latter having an arched door with alternate brick and cement quoins and
voussoirs. No. 49 is of four storeys and its ground floor is rendered in
cement to imitate masonry.
On the north side, between Whitfield Street and Charlotte Street
the only original house is No. 28, of four storeys with a 19th-century shop
below. Nos. 20–26 have some original brickwork in the upper storeys.
West of Charlotte Street is a vacant site and then three two-storey buildings
with shops (Nos. 34, 36 and 38). No. 40 is rendered in cement and No. 42
rebuilt. To the latter house, then occupied by John Dixon, copper-plate
engraver, Richard Parker Bonington, the well-known painter, was brought
to die in 1828. Nos. 44 and 46 are of four storeys and retain their old brick
fronts; Nos. 48–52 have been re-faced and are three storeys high.
The old parish boundary crosses the street at the back of the houses
fronting Cleveland Street.
The Theatre, Tottenham Street
The little theatre in Tottenham Street which preceded the present
SCALA had a varied history and was known by a surprising number of
different names. It was built by Francis Pasquali as a concert room in 1772, (ref. 39)
apparently with the support of the Earl of Sandwich and others. In 1786
Pasquali and Michael Novosielski, architect of His Majesty's Theatre in
the Haymarket, leased the building to Lord Sandwich and his friends for
the "concerts of ancient music" which had been inaugurated elsewhere
in 1776. (fn. *)
The building was enlarged and fitted under the direction of James Wyatt
with a royal box for George III and Queen Charlotte, who were constant
patrons, and became known, as The King's Concert Rooms. In 1794 the concerts were removed to the King's Theatre, Haymarket, and thence to the
Hanover Rooms. In the meantime the Tottenham Street building was
re-opened in 1800 by a trumpeter, John Hyde, and became known as
Hyde's Rooms for Concerts. On his failure the Pic-Nic Society, a dramatic
club founded by Colonel Greville took the place in 1802 and occasioned the
Gillray cartoon: "Blowing up the Picnics." (Plate 12.) Six years later it
was opened by Master Saunders, the equestrain, who named it The Amphitheatre and gave performances of horsemanship, etc. It returned to drama
under a Mr. S. Paul (licence dated 23rd April, 1810) who improved the
building, added a portico and restored its old name, calling it The King's
Ancient Concert Rooms. He produced "The Village Fete" with his wife
taking the part of Rosetta but the venture was a failure. His successors,
Penley, Cobham (who altered the name to The Regency) and Brierly (who
called it The Theatre of Variety) had no better success until, in 1821, Brunton
secured the lease and opened his season on 9th September, 1822, with his
daughter, Elizabeth (later Mrs. Frederick Henry Yates) in the principal
parts. William Roxby Beverley (fn. *) followed Brunton as manager and Frederick
Lemaitre made his debut here, the theatre being then known as The Regency.
In 1829, Brunton again opened it as The West London Theatre. (fn. †) The next
year (1830) it was called The Queen's Theatre, in compliment to Queen Adelaide, under the management of Messrs. Chapman and Melrose. In 1831,
George Macfarren attempted its conversion into an English Opera House but
in spite of a notable performance of "Acis and Galatea" the project failed.
While he was manager, Madame Celeste performed from 7th March, 1831,
to 16th May of that year. In December, 1833, members of the Mayhew
family began the production of burlesques and French plays, calling it The
Fitzroy Theatre, and the following year (1834), Mrs. L.C. Nisbett opened it
as The Queen's Theatre. It retained this name under Colonel Addison,
George Wild and Charles James, the management of the last named continuing from 1839 to 1865. On 11th April, 1865, was inaugurated its most
famous period under the management of Marie Wilton, first in partnership
with H. J. Byron and later (from 1867 to 1880) with her husband (Sir)
Squire Bancroft. The theatre, now named The Prince of Wales, was remodelled
and transformed from dismal murkiness to tasteful charm and cheerfulness.
During their tenure the Bancrofts did much to reform the whole production
of plays on the English stage and the series of plays by Tom Robertson:
"Society," "Ours," "Caste," "School" and "M.P.," won the theatre a
deserved popularity. It was in an otherwise unsuccessful performance
here of "The Merchant of Venice" in 1875 that Ellen Terry met with her
first great success as Portia. From 1880 to 1882 the theatre was under the
management of Mr. Edgar Bruce and in the latter year it was closed. It was
occupied by the Salvation Army for a time and was sold for demolition in
1902. (ref. 40) The Scala Theatre, from the designs of Francis T. Verity, was built
on the site in 1904.