London Pavilion Ltd /Theatres Consolidated, theatre management companies: records

Scope and Content

Records of shares and transfers London Pavilion Ltd; Journals and minute books; Engagement books - Chelsea, Euston, S. London, Walthamstow, East Ham, Tottenham; Salary records / takings records; Other business records

Administrative / Biographical History

The history of London Pavilion Ltd and Variety Theatres Consolidated is complex and the relationships between the two companies and the theatres that they controlled is not entirely known. Following the demolition of the first London Pavilion theatre in Tichborne Street in 1885 to make way for the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue, the proprietor, Robert Edwin Villiers built a new London Pavilion on a triangular plot at the heart of Picadilly Circus.

Shortly thereafter, Villiers sold the theatre to a limited company, London Pavilion Limited, in which a key player was the accountant and entrepreneur Henry Newson-Smith. Although ill-health limited his active involvement to less than a decade, Newson-Smith, in partnership with George Adney Payne and others, brought financial prudence and business acumen to the music-halls. He established a syndicate of London theatres, including the Tivoli and Oxford halls, and left Payne in charge of a virtual monopoly of West End music-halls during their most successful period.

After 1900 Payne, along with Henry Gros, took control of the suburban music-halls 'Palaces' of Euston (later the Regent Theatre), South London, Chelsea, Walthamstow, Tottenham, and East Ham. After his death he was succeeded by his son, Walter Payne.

In 1923 the Tivoli was was converted to a cinema, and in 1934 the Pavilion followed suit. In 1946 the latter came under the control of United Artists. In 1925 many of the suburban halls became part of the circuit operated by Variety Theatres Consolidated. Eventually most were demolished or converted to other uses.


These records have been arranged chronologically in the following series:

  • THM/171/SHA - Records of shares and transfers London Pavilion Ltd
  • THM/171/MIN - Journals and minute books
  • THM/171/ENG - Engagement books - Chelsea, Euston, S. London, Walthamstow, East Ham, Tottenham
  • THM/171/SAL - Salary records / takings records
  • THM/171/BUS - Other business records

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Friends of the Theatre Museum, 1981

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also V&A Department of Theatre & Performance Core Collections: material relating to the theatres managed by these companies may be found in several collections, including Theatre and Performance production files and theatre buildings files. Please ask for details.

See also THM/261 Walter Payne Archive.


Penny Olsen.London Pavilion: the history of the London PavilionLondon: Grosvenor Square Properties Group, 1988.

Andrew Crowhurst, 'Smith, Henry Newson- (1854-1898)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 18 Nov 2008]

Andrew Crowhurst, 'Payne, (George) Adney (1846-1907)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 18 Nov 2008]