Canterbury Music Hall

143 Westminster Bridge Road,
London, SE1 7HJ

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gaumont-British-Picture Corp., Ltd., Hyams & Gale

Architects: Charles Long, Frank Matcham, Oswald Cane Wylson

Firms: Wylson & Long

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Canterbury Palace of Varieties, Canterbury Theatre of Varieties,

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Canterbury Music Hall

Originally the Canterbury Arms pub, it was in use as a small theatre in 1851, it was reconstructed in 1854, and again in 1876 by architect Albert Bridgman. The interior decoration was by E.W. Bradwell and the theatre had a sliding roof designed and patented by Frederick Villiers. It was a very popular (and famous) music hall. Further alterations were carried out by noted theatre architect Frank Matcham in 1890, and it was reconstructed again in 1902, to the plans of Wylson & Long.

The Canterbury Music Hall was equipped to screen films in 1902, when a bio-box was installed. From around 1914, films were becoming the main part of the programming and by 1921, two films were screened and there were three live acts on the stage. Taken over by the Hyams brothers in around 1924, it was converted into a cinema in the Hyams circuit from 1927. Hyams circuit was taken over by Denman Theatres chain, who become part of Gaumont British Theatres chain in 1928.

The Canterbury Music Hall was closed in September 1940, due to wartime conditions. It soon re-opened but was closed in 1942 by German bomb damage. It never re-opened and the wrecked auditorium was demolished in 1955 and became a car park.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 29, 2009 at 7:16 pm

A vintage photograph of the Canterbury Music Hall in 1910;
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm

More history, memorabilia and photographs of the Canterbury Music Hall:

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