The Theatres Trust

Coronet (London)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1872 - 1928: Theatre
    • 2002: Music and events venue, continuing
    • 1928 - 1999: Cinema
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Music venue (Music and other events; currently at risk)
  • Address
    28 New Kent Road, Southwark, London, SE1 6TJ, England
  • Website


There was a drama theatre on the site from 1872. The 1879 rebuild was the first theatre completed by Frank Matcham after Jethro T. Robinson's death. The 1932 building (which incorporates fragments of the earlier theatre) was designed by William Riddell Glen, FRIAS, LRIBA (1884-1950) who was one of the leading cinema and theatre architects of the period. It was built in partnership with Associated British Cinemas (ABC). Its narrow recessed rendered facade on New Kent Road is in the vaguely Art Deco style, but now obscured with cladding and easily removable. The bulk of the building rises behind in brown brick, almost to railway arches at one side. In order to compete with the once huge Trocadero opposite, it had a fully equipped stage, dressing rooms and full orchestra pit, and was designed for concert/musical live events as well as for cinema. The 1930s Art Deco style auditorium designed by Glen remains intact as an early example of his designs for ABC. It is of a restrained traditional design rather than his more ‘scalloped-edged’ examples. However, it displays all Glen’s characteristic detailing including spacious grille work and highly decorated ceiling. It retains a large decorative grille and lay light to the centre of the ceiling and a large square splayed ribbed proscenium, incorporating stylised grille work to the sides and top of the ante-proscenium. The auditorium features a deep scalloped cornice, fluted pilasters with dropped-scroll capitals and Art Deco decoration. The main features have been restored and the venue now operates as a multi-purpose music venue with lighting, projection and recording facilities with a funky feel. Without this new-found use, the building, which had been subdivided and run-down in recent years, would certainly have been lost. The building is currently at risk of demolition due to the redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

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Entrance of the Elephant & Castle Theatre, London, circa 1918
© Not specified

Architect's impression of the Coronet, London, 2014
© Tibbatts·Abel

Facade of the ABC Elephant & Castle, circa 1951
© Not specified

Plasterwork decoration at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle, 2013
© Ian Grundy

Pilaster and cornice at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle, 2013
© Ian Grundy

Central grille at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle, 2013
© Ian Grundy

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  • Other names
    Elephant And Castle, Theatre Royal, Elephant & Castle Music Hall, ABC, Cannon
  • Events
    • 1872 - 1928 Use: Theatre
    • 1872 Design/Construction:
      • Dean, Son & Matthews - Architect
      • Giles Bennett - Contractor
    • 1879 Design/Construction: Completed by Frank Matcham
      • Brass & Co - Contractor
      • Pashley, North & Young - Consultant
      • Jethro T Robinson - Architect
    • 1902 Alteration: partial restoration (architect unknown)
    • 1928 - 1986 Owner/Management: ABC
    • 1928 - 1999 Use: Cinema
    • 1932 Design/Construction: New supercinema built
      • W R Glen - Architect
    • 1941 Alteration: Refurbished after bomb damage (architect unknown)
    • 1967 Alteration: modernised (architect unknown).
    • 1981 Alteration: tripled (architect unknown).
    • 1986 - 1999 Owner/Management: Coronet
    • 2001 Owner/Management: The Pure Group
    • 2002 Use: Music and events venue, continuing
    • 2003 Alteration: De-tripled, interior and stage facilities restored
      • Kracha - Architect
    • 2010 Owner/Management: Elephant Music Ltd, operator
    • 2010 Owner/Management: St Modwen, owner
    • 2014 Owner/Management: DV4 and APG, owners, managed by Delancey
  • Capacities
    • Later: 1932: 2315
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium flat

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