Royal Opera Arcade

From: Historic England entry:

“The arcade links Charles II Street to Pall Mall. It is the earliest London arcade on the Parisian late C18/earlyC19 model of “passages” and “galleries”. The fronts to Charles II Street and Pall Mall have One and half storey archivolt arched entrances with imposts and scroll keystones and have moulded cornices below balustraded parapets; wrought iron gates. The arcade proper is formed of 18 square bays each ceiled with a plain groin vault pierced by a circular lantern light. The bays are separated by plain soffit arches rising from plain shafted Doric pilasters; the east wall is, since the 1896 rebuilding of Her Majesty’s Theatre (Opera House), a blind arcade but the west side retains its original shop fronts, one to each bay. These have flat bowed windows and panelled and glazed doorways, generally to right hand, under entablature fascias. The mezzanine floor above each shop has an archivolt arched tripartite lunette window in the tympanum of the vault. Iron cased C19 lanterns suspended between every two shops.

The blind east arcade has been broken through at south end for mid C20 shops in keeping. Nash and Repton’s arcade, although the first, was not a new idea as Thomas Leverton and John Fordyce had both promoted the provision of an arcade on the west side of Novosielski’s theatre to improve and complete the ensemble since the latter’s death in 1795.”


“…After Queen Anne died Her Majesty’s Theatre was renamed the King’s Theatre, in 1714. The interior was remodeled in 1778 by the infamous Robert Adam, and then again in 1782, but less successfully, by Michael Novosielski. The Theatre burnt to the ground on the 17th of June 1789. The Theatre was then rebuilt, now on an enlarged site, but retained the former’s name of King’s Theatre. This Theatre was built by Michael Novosielski and opened on the 26th of March 1791 with a song and dance entertainment…”

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