Prince of Wales, 21 Tottenham-street; managers, Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft. Comedy, drama, farce &c.
Routledge's Popular Guide to London, [c.1873]
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Prince of Wales’s Theatre, Tottenham-street, Tottenham-court-road, formerly undistinguished as the Queen’s, has for years been one of the most fashionable theatres in London. Its specialty lies not so much in the nature of the performance, which, however, is usually restricted to modern comedy, as in the high character of the acting and the general finish of the ensemble. The theatre, though a mere nutshell of a place, is luxuriously fitted up, and no one who cares for a really artistic entertainment, to be enjoyed under exceptionally pleasant conditions, should miss going to the Prince of Wales’s. Evening dress is not de rigeur in the stalls, but it is usual here. NEAREST Railway Station, Gower-street; Omnibus Routes, Tottenham-court-road, Oxford-street, and Euston-road.
Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879
People nowadays would hardly realise that
theatre-goers in those long-ago days could wade through alleys and side streets
by no means safe after dark to visit the (then) Prince of Wales's in a slum off
the Tottenham Court Road. With an excellent company, however, and with houris
since translated to the peerage and knightage, the little house was nightly
crammed and white ties by the score blocked the thoroughfare in the vicinity of
the modesty stage door as resolutely as in later years they beseiged the
Philharmonic and the Gaiety.
Valentine Baker at the time was running the show, or a material portion of it, and much of the profits of his wife's soap-boiling industry, it was said, found their way into the coffers of the unpretentious little temple in the slum. A wealthy cabinet maker, also in the vicinity, whose profits permitted the luxury of a four-in-hand, might usually be seen worshipping at the shrine, and a tag-rag and bobtail of less wealthy but aspiring young bloods fought and hustled for one glance, one sign of recognition from the bevy beyond the footlights.
'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908
see also A.R.Bennett in London and Londoners - click here