Plans, drawings and photographs

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 2080 SMNT/11
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      This material occupies one map-size drawer

Scope and Content

Plans, drawings and a small number of photographs for the proposed National Theatre; items in this series refer to different options for the design and siting of the theatre on the South Bank during 1948-1961.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Shakespeare Memorial National Theatre Committee had acquired in 1937 a site for the National Theatre in South Kensington, on Cromwell Road opposite the Victoria & Albert Museum. In in 1945, it was decided to exchange this site with the London County Council, for a site on the South Bank of the river Thames.

From 1945 to the late 1950s, three different sites were taken into consideration on the South Bank for the proposed theatre, between Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge, as follows:

1. The South Kensington site is exchanged for a site between Waterloo Bridge and the Royal Festival Hall in 1945.

Items SMNT/11/9-13 in this series refer to this initial site option.

2. The Waterloo Bridge-Royal Festival Hall site is relinquished in favour of a new site, close to the County Hall and west of the Hungerford Bridge, ca. Dec. 1952.

Items SMNT/11/14-24 in this series refer to the second site option.

3. After 1952 [possibly ca. 1958-1960] a new site is taken into consideration; still close to the County Hall but right next to the Hungerford Bridge rather than next to the County Hall.

The National Theatre was eventually erected on the east of Waterloo Bridge.


The material within this series is arranged chronologically and described to item level.

Access Information


Related Material

- The negotiations and discussion surrounding siting of the theatre on the South Bank may be found in series SMNT/6.