The Theatres Trust

Collins' Music Hall

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1863 - 1958
  • Current state
    Façade only
  • Current use
    Converted to other use (bookshop in front of building/timber yard at rear)
  • Address
    10-11 Islington Green, Islington, London, N1, England


The music hall active at the rear of the pub since 1863 and associated until its destruction 95 years later with the name of Sam Collins was actually only licensed to him for the two and a half years before his death in 1865. The site backed on to a former burial ground (New Bunhill Fields) which restricted development so that no major improvement was possible after the 1897 reconstruction. Following a destructive fire in 1958, the hall itself was demolished. The pub façe in its late nineteenth century form survives, somewhat modified, but the rooms behind have been radically altered to form a bookshop and the space formerly occupied by the theatre itself is now a timber store, open at the rear. The side walls and some traces of escape staircases serve to identify it but (contrary to popular belief) there is nothing else left to be seen of the music hall. The façe carries a blue commemorative plaque. There has been some discussion of the possibility of building a new theatre on the site of the hall and this might very well be successful in the ‘Little Theatreland’ between Sadler’s Wells and Highbury Corner.

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Facade of the building previously occupied by Collins's Music Hall, Islington, 1989
© Theatres Trust

Façade of Collins' Music Hall, Islington, circa 1908
© Not specified

Façade of the Collins' Music Hall
© Theatres Trust

Façade of the Collins' Music Hall
© Theatres Trust

Façade of the Collins' Music Hall
© Theatres Trust

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  • Other names
    Red Lion, Lansdown Arms, Lansdown Arms Music Hall, Sam Collins' Music Hall, Collins' Theatre of Varieties, briefly & World War I: Islington Hippodrome
  • Events
    • Owner/Management: For subsequent listing, see Diana Howard op. cit.
    • Owner/Management:
    • 1862 Design/Construction:
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1863 Owner/Management: Samuel Vagg (Sam Collins)
    • 1863 - 1958 Use:
    • 1865 Owner/Management: Anna Vagg (his widow)
    • 1868 Owner/Management: Henry Watts (married Anna)
    • 1881 - 1897 Owner/Management: Herbert Sprake
    • 1885 Alteration: adjoining house taken to provide new entrance and hall largely rebuilt
      • Edward Clarke - Architect
    • 1897 Alteration: new auditorium and other improvements
      • E A E Woodrow - Architect
    • 1898 Alteration: electric light installed
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1908 Alteration: repaired and altered after fire; six circle boxes removed
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1911 Alteration: balcony reseated and other renovation works
      • Lovegrove & Papworth - Architect
    • 1931 Alteration: Bowler & Clay, new heating and ventilation installed
      • Wingfield - Architect
  • Capacities
    • Original: 1862: 600 ‘packed to suffocation’ (JM)
    • Later: 1897: 1800 later: 1444
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Unreliable anecdotes
    It is often suggested that the auditorium, although unseen for many years, still exists in restorable condition. It does not.

Of the period

Exterior of the Britannia Panopticon, Glasgow, circa 1993
Britannia Panopticon

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Façade of His Majesty's Theatre, London, circa 1897
Her Majesty's (London)

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