93-95 Camden High Street,
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Originally the Bedford Arms Tavern and Tea Garden had stood on this site from 1824-1861. In 1861 a theatre named the Bedford Music Hall was built, designed by architect Edward Clark. This later became the New Bedford Palace of Varieties.
Between 1896-98 it was reconstructed to the plans of architect Bertie Crewe and re-opened as the New Bedford Theatre. Seating was provided for 488 in pit and stalls, 238 in the dress circle and 426 in the gallery with 16 seats in boxes. The theatre was a favourite haunt of Victorian artist/painter Walter Sickert who imortalised on canvas many scenes within the theatre.
The Bedford was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) in 1933 and they operated it until 24th June 1939 when it was operated by an Independent cinema operator until closing as a cinema with George Formby in “Keep Your Hats On”.
The theatre then returned to it former use as a live variety theatre until closing in 1950. It lay empty and unused for many years gradually deteriorating until it was finally demolished in 1969. Retail premises were built on the narrow footprint of the entrance foyer, but it took several more years before the space where the auditorium had once stood was built upon with a residential block.
The Bedford Theatre can be seen in two films; “Trottie True” (1949) starring Jean Kent and a documentary “The London Nobody Knows” (1967) which has actor James Mason wandering around the auditorium of the dilapidated and soon to be demolished theatre.
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