Royal Victoria Theatre


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Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Royal Victoria Theatre
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: Waterloo Bridge Road, Lambeth. (at the connection of junction of Waterloo Road & the New Cut.) For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here, Here, and Here.

  • Alternate Names: the Cobourg, Victoria Theatre, The Old Vic

  • 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

  • Events at Royal Victoria Theatre

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Dramatic 28 February 1842 - 5 March 1842 London, London (city-county) Tom & Jerry Troupe (London-Vic, 42)
    Dramatic 1 March 1842 - 1 March 1842 London, London (city-county) Vincent, Miss
    Dramatic 2 March 1842 - 2 March 1842 London, London (city-county) Vincent, Miss, Tom & Jerry Troupe (London-Vic, 42)
    Dramatic 21 March 1842 - 21 March 1842 London, London (city-county) Cullen
    Dramatic 28 March 1842 - 2 April 1842 London, London (city-county) Paul
    Dramatic 12 May 1842 - 12 May 1842 London, London (city-county) Aldobrand and Sons
    Dramatic 11 July 1842 - 16 July 1842 London, London (city-county) Saville, E.F.
    Dramatic 29 July 1842 - 29 July 1842 London, London (city-county) Saville, E.F.
    Dramatic 12 December 1842 - 12 December 1842 London, London (city-county) Saville, E.F.
    Dramatic 26 March 1844 - 26 March 1844 London, London (city-county) Tom & Jerry Dance Troupe (London-Vic, 44)
    Dramatic 9 May 1844 - 9 May 1844 London, London (city-county) Vincent, Miss, Dunn, John, the British Jim Crow
    Minstrel Show 17 July 1844 - 17 July 1844 London, London (city-county) Dunn, John, the British Jim Crow
    Dramatic 28 September 1844 - 28 September 1844 London, London (city-county) Otway
    Dramatic 4 November 1844 - 4 November 1844 London, London (city-county) Graham, R.E.
    Dramatic 21 July 1845 - 26 July 1845 London, London (city-county) Africans Troupe (London-Vic, 45)
    Dramatic 24 July 1845 - 24 July 1845 London, London (city-county) Cherokee Chief Troupe (London-Victoria, 45)
    Dramatic 11 August 1845 - 16 August 1845 London, London (city-county) Edwards, E.
    Dramatic 14 September 1846 - 14 September 1846 London, London (city-county) Bird, C.J.
    Dramatic 18 January 1847 - 23 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Black Doctor Troupe (London-Victoria, 47)
    Dramatic 8 February 1847 - 13 February 1847 London, London (city-county) Black Doctor Troupe (London-Victoria, 47)
    Dramatic 9 August 1847 - 14 August 1847 London, London (city-county) Tremont Serenaders
    Dramatic 13 December 1847 - 13 December 1847 London, London (city-county) Hicks, T.
    Dramatic 20 March 1848 - 25 March 1848 London, London (city-county) Hicks, T.
    Dramatic 24 July 1848 - 29 July 1848 London, London (city-county) Ceda (1848), Virginian Harmonists (1848)
    Dramatic 26 May 1851 - 31 May 1851 London, London (city-county) Boatmen Ballet Troupe (London-Victoria, 51)
    Dramatic 9 June 1851 - 14 June 1851 London, London (city-county) Howard, J.
    Dramatic 16 February 1852 - 21 February 1852 London, London (city-county) Lion & the Unicorn Troupe (London-Victoria, 1852), Howard, J.
    Dramatic 8 March 1852 - 10 March 1852 London, London (city-county) Black Caesar Troupe (London-Vic, 52)

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Arthur Lloyd Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Black’s New Guide to London and its Environs. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1863.

      “VICTORIA THEATRE, Waterloo Bridge Road, Lambeth, originally styled ‘the Cobourg,’ from the first stone having been laid in the name of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg, 1817. Some of the stones from the old Savoy Palace was employed in its construction. The name was changed to its present form in 1833, and the Queen, then the Princess Victoria, visited the house. The gallery is very large” (215).
    • Clarke, Henry Green. London in All Its Glory. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      “VICTORIA THEATRE, New Cut, Lambeth, was commenced in 1816; the first stone having been laid by Alderman Goodbehere, as proxy for the Prince and Princess of Saxe-Cobourg; it was opened in 1818, and originally called the Cobourg Theatre. It is a large and commodious edifice without any architectural display” (128-9).
    • Cunningham, P. Modern London; or, London as it is. London: John Murray, 1851.

      ”The VICTORIA THEATRE is in WATERLOO BRIDGE ROAD, LAMBETH. It was originally The Coburg, and called The Victoria for the first time soon after the accession of William IV,. when her present Majesty was only heir presumptive to the crown. The gallery at the ‘Vic’ (for such is its brief cognomen about Lambeth) is one of the largest in London. It will hold from 1500 to 2000 people, and runs back to so great a distance, that the end of it is lost in shadow, excepting where the little gas-jets, against the wall, light up the two or three faces around them. When the gallery is well packed, it is usual to see piles of boys on each others’ shoulders at the back, while on the partition-boards dividing off the slips, lads will pitch themselves despite the spikes” (179).
    • 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 - Theatre & Shows - Theatres & Venues - The Vic)

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


    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      The information provided within this source is similar to that given within London in all its Glory, also published by H.G. Clarke, & Co.

      In addition, this source also contains the following:

      “It was at this theatre, in its earlier days, that the fine taste, and eminent talents of Clarkson Stanfield, were first introduced to public notice. The present lessee is Mr. Osbaldiston, and the pieces produced are melo-dramatic pieces of the lowest character. The gallery is the largest in London, and is well worth viewing from the slips, at the end of the first piece, if the theatre is well filled; the numbers occupying it, their state of undress, and varied occupation, forming a very striking picture, particularly when viewed for the first time. Lessee, Mr Osbaldiston. Doors open at six o’clock; performances commence at half-past six. Admission: boxes, one shilling; pit, sixpence; gallery, threepence. Second price at nine o clock: boxes, sixpence” (219).
    • Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor. Vol. 2. London: Griffin, Bohn & Co, 1861.
    • Senelick, Laurence et al. British Music-Hall 1840-1923. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1981.


    • Theatres in Victorian London Website. 05/22/2008 (
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.

      “VICTORIA THEATRE, New Cut, Lambeth, was originally named ‘the Cobourg,’ from the first stone having been laid by proxy for Prince Leopold of Sase-Cobourg, Oct. 15, 1817: it has in its foundation part of the stone of the old Savoy Palace. The theatre was designed by Cabanel, a carpenter from Liege, who also constructed the stage of old Drury-lanc Theatre, and invented a roof known by his name. The Cobourg Theatre was first opened May 13, 1818: for its repertoire, Clarkson Stanfield, subsequently R.A., painted scenery; and here was constructed a looking-glass curtain, of large plates of glass, enclosed in a gilt frame. The house was leased to Egerton and Abbott in 1833, when the name was changed to ‘Victoria,’ and the Princess (her present Majesty) visited the theatre” (788).

      Also gives the theatre’s capacity (in 1866) as 2000 (789)
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1855). London: David Bogue, 1855.


      The information provided within this source is much the same as that given within the 1868 edition of the book.
    • Walford, Edward. Old and New London Vol. 6 (1878). Reproduced at British History Online. 03/23/2008 (

      Chapter 30 ('Lambeth - Introduction and the transpontine theatres'.)

    • Weekly Chronicle (London) July 23, 1848: 8.