Britannia Saloon


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Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Britannia Saloon
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: 188 High Street, Hoxton. For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here and Here.

  • Alternate Names: Britannia Theatre

  • Performance Space Description: Information about this venue has not yet been compiled; however, some sense of the performance space may be gleaned by following the links at right. In particular:

  • See the 'Bibliographic Sources' link for a provisional list of venue-relevant resources (both primary and secondary). Wherever possible (i.e. when the pertinent text is relatively short and/or easily condensed) this material has been transcribed, and appears beneath the appropriate bibliographic citation.

  • See the 'Events at venue' link for a listing of blackface/minstrelsy-related events that took place in this performance space (with attached bibliographic references).

    Beth Marquis

  • Troupes at Britannia Saloon

    Events at Britannia Saloon

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Dramatic 2 February 1850 - 2 February 1850 London, London (city-county) White Slave Troupe (London-Britannia,1850)
    Dramatic 8 March 1852 - 9 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Aldridge, Ira
    Dramatic 10 March 1852 - 11 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Aldridge, Ira
    Dramatic 12 March 1852 - 13 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Aldridge, Ira
    Dramatic 15 March 1852 - 20 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Aldridge, Ira
    Dramatic 22 March 1852 - 27 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Aldridge, Ira

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Arthur Lloyd Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Davis, Jim & Victor Emeljanow. Reflecting the Audience. London Theatregoing, 1840-1880. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001.
    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (

      (Under Entertainment and Recreation - Theatre - Music Hall - Halls - Britannia Theatre)

    • Howard, Diana. London Theatres and Music Halls 1850-1950. London: The Library Association, 1970.


    • London and its Environs. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1885.

      ”BRITANNIA THEATRE, Hoxton Street, in the N.E. of London, holding nearly 3400 persons. Melodramas” (140).
    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      “BRITANNIA SALOON, 188, High Street, Hoxton. The entertainments here, are a very inferior kind of melo-dramatic performance. Lessee, Mr. S. Lane. Doors open at six o’clock; performances commence at half-past six. Admission: stage boxes, one shilling and sixpence; boxes, one shilling; pit, sixpence; lower gallery, fourpence; upper gallery, threepence” (222).
    • London Theatres Website (Templeman Library, University of Kent at Canterbury). 05/22/2008 (
    • Public Record Office (now National Archives), Lord Chamberlain's Collection Police Rport, N. Division, July 12, 1847

      a Police Inspector Pascoe has reported “that a great many respectable Tradesman & Mechanics with their wives and children, generally frequented the Boxes there, the Galleries being frequented by the lower classes of both sexes from the age of 12 years an upwards; Children under the age of 12 years are generally accompanied by their parents or friends.

      Inspector Pascoe also states, that he never saw boys smoking short pipes in the Saloon, accompanied by girls of the lowest order, nor did he eve observe any of them intoxicated; Smoking is strictly prohibited in the Saloon, and any parties misconducting themselves are immediately expelled by the Officers belonging to the Establishment […] J. Johnston.- Superintendent”
    • Public Record Office (now National Archives), Lord Chamberlain's Collection Police Report, N. Division, Sept. 20, 1844

      There is still a worse place than this in that part of my Division, namely the Brittannia [sic] Saloon, Hoxton, Old Town, the price of admission to which is from 2 to 3 and 6 for the Boxes. This place is [?] by the very lowest grade of both sex, by water-cress girls, [?] Store and Watch Boys and Girls from about 10 to 16 years of age. There can be no doubt that this place is calculated to corrupt the morals of the growing youths in that low and thickly populated nieghbourhood to a great extent. (signed) J. Johnstone, Superintendent”.
    • Theatres in Victorian London Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.

      “BRITANNIA THEATRE, High-street, Hoxton, was commenced building soon after the destruction by fire, of the Rosemary Branch Equestrian Theatre, Islington Fields, July 27 1853, when seven horses and eleven dogs were burnt. The Britannia (Finch and Paraire, architects), is provided with promenades and refreshment saloons. The auditory is very spacious, and elegantly decorated. The pit is nearly 80 feet wide and [number obscured] feet deep. The stage is 76 feet wide by 50 feet deep; opening at proscenium [number obscured]4 feet wide by 37 feet high. The house is effectively ventilated by openings left in ornamental portions of the ceiling, in immediate communication with the internal area of the roof, and thence with the open air, by means of louvres extending from one extremity of the building to the other. The provisions against fire are well planned, and the extent of the theatre is considerable” (781).

      Also gives the theatre’s capacity (in 1866) as 2400 (789)