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Royal Alhambra Palace (1858 - 1936) (London)



  • Existence: 1858 - 1936


The Alhambra was originally built by T. Hayter Lewis in Leicester Square, London in 1854 as the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art, an educational institution for the delivery of the latest scientific demonstrations and lectures, which also showcased works of art. The Panopticon operated for two years before the building closed down and later re-opened as the Alhambra in 1858.

The Alhambra was built in the Moorish style, loosely resembling the Alhambra in Spain, which gave it its name. This type of architecture became popular at the time with music halls across the county adopting it and using the name.

The building was remodelled in various occasions between 1866 and 1912, changing its function and architecture over time. From its inception as a music hall, The Alhambra presented music hall acts, circus, light opera, ballet, films and patriotic demonstrations celebrating the British Empire and its military success. Among its most significant shows were Jules Léotard’s début on the trapeze in 1861 and Robert W. Paul’s film shows in 1896.

After the First World War, the advent of cinema and radio marked a shift in popular taste, which plunged music hall entertainments into decline. The Alhambra closed its doors in 1936 and was demolished to make room for a cinema.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Alhambra Theatre of Varieties Programme, 5 July 1897

Reference code: 178K53.43
Scope and Contents

Leicester Square, London, Emmy's Trained Toy Terriers, The Tzigane, Musical Dale, Dagmar and De Celle, Mlle La Tostia, May and Flora Hengler, The Frank Bonhair Troupe of Acrobats, Miss Cissie Loftus, Victoria and Merrie England, Sells and Young. Colour illustration of chrubs and two women floating in the air holding wreaths of flowers and a banner with the theatre's name on it on a golden background on the front, on the reverse programme, 1p.

Dates: 5 July 1897

Alhambra Theatre of Varieties Programme, 10 August 1896

Reference code: 178K53.122
Scope and Contents

Leiscetes Square, London. Three fold programme containing colour illustration of women and Pierrots dancing on the outside, inside commercial advertising and programme listing The Musical Korries, Emmy's Troupe of Trained Toy Terriers, The Luppus, The Newsky Roussotine Troupe, The Animatographe, Mr Morris Cronin, Rip Van Winkle dramatic ballet and Les Minstrels Dumond.

Dates: 10 August 1896

Alhambra Theatre Programme, 19 November 1900

Reference code: 178K53.100
Scope and Contents

Red type on off white background and a crescent moon and a star on front cover, inside black and white illustrations of the teatre building, introduction to The Handy Man, commercial advertising, programme of sporting events, programme in the centre listing Du Cane Trio, The Animatograph, A Patriotic Military Ballet, Mr Edward Lauri, M & Mlle. theresa, The Hills, Mlle. Helene Gerard, The Marvellous Craggs, Cincinatti Juggler, The Handy Man, Webb & Hassan and Huline Bros. 5p.p.

Dates: 19 November 1900

Bill Barnes Collection

Reference code: NFA0172
Scope and Contents

Programmes, posters and photographs mainly related to the Poole family's travelling Myriorama show.

Dates: 1881 - 2017

National Sunday League, Alhambra Programme, 7 April 1901

Reference code: 178K53.101
Scope and Contents

Black type on off white background on front cover listing the Band of His Majesty's Coldstream Guards, inside programme of musical repertoire with lyrics of songs, historical information and Scenes of Queen Victoria's Funeral, 3p.p.

Dates: 7 April 1901

Programmes , 1881 - 2016

Reference code: 178K53
Scope and Contents

Pre-Film and variety and music hall programmes mainly related to the travelling shows of Joseph Poole and Harry Poole, Harry H. Hamilton, Mapleston Brothers and Adams but it also includes other showmen.

Dates: 1881 - 2016