Back ...

The Playhouse - later Royal Hippodrome


 


(map courtesy of Dover Public Library)

The above map is a section taken from a series of large-scale Insurance Maps, produced in 1905.  The Theatre Royal, formerly the Playhouse, can be seen occupying a site between Snargate Street and Northampton Street.


 

"Dover's Playhouse has been at 33 and 34, Snargate Street since the year 1790.  It was founded by a local Company, the capital being subscribed in 50 shares.  From its being patronised by Royalty at different times, it was called the Theatre Royal.  For a little while, in 1844, its use as a theatre was abandoned, and an advertisement appeared in the local papers, signed by John Boyton, stating that 'the building recently used as as Theatre may be hired by the day or the week for any public purposes.'  On the occasion of the opening of the South Eastern Railway, the Inauguration Banquet was given there.  The re-occupation of the building as a Theatre was soon after resumed, and it has been a Theatre ever since.  In the year 1896 it was rebuilt on an improved plan, and in an extensive scale, by a Public Company.(J.B.J.)

 

"At No. 153, Snargate Street, or thereabouts, there was, previous to the year 1790, a private theatre mainly supported by the Fector family, which was given up when the new Theatre was built on its present site.(J.B.J. 1907)

 

The Theatre Royal was later renamed as the Royal Hippodrome; it was demolished in 1950 after suffering war damage when hit by a shell on 18th September 1944.

There is no trace left of any of the theatrical establishments in Snargate Street, as the whole area, with the exception of the northern side of Snargate Street, was completely wiped out to create the new A20 link to the Eastern Docks.  The only clue to the actual position of the Royal Hippodrome is this small plaque on a wall next to the Seaman's Mission