Shakespeare Theatre

On the corner of Waterloo Place and North Bridge


Shakespeare Theatre

Thomas Vernon Begbie  -  late 1850s

Shakespeare Theatre - Photograph by Begbie

  The Cavaye Collection of Thomas Begbie Prints:
City Art Centre, City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries


Shakespeare Theatre

Shakespeare Theatre was situated at Shakespeare Square, at the corner of North Bridge and Waterloo Place.

The book Modern Athens published in 1829 commented:

"Though the outside, however, presents no prepossessing appearance, the inside of the house is elegantly fitted up.

The prices of admission at the time were three shillings for the boxes and pit, two shillings for the first gallery and one shilling for the second or upper gallery."

The Theatre was later demolished in 1859 to enable the General Post Office to be built.




Brent Fernandez

Hamilton, New Zealand

Thank you to Brent Fernandez, British Theatre Historian from Hamilton, New Zealand who wrote:

Shakespeare Theatre

   Shakespeare Theatre - Photograph by Begbie

"I do research for the Arthur Lloyd theatre history website and am presently looking into the exact locations of old Edinburgh Theatres. 

In my search for old maps, etc., I came across this old photo of the Theatre Royal, Shakespeare Square, Edinburgh. I knew about the site being acquired for the new Post Office, and the theatre closing for good, as a result, on 25 May 1859. 

The Lessee had his 'Benefit Night' on 9 May 1859. However, the community and dignitaries wanted to give him a 'Send Off NIght' and that occurred on 25 May 1859.

So it was also obvious that this photo would have been taken prior to this date."

J L Toole

"But best of all I noticed the sign featuring J L Toole out the front.  I am also researching Mr J L Toole for a person writing a book on him; Mr Michael Read from Cardiff."

26 June 1858

"With that in mind, I was able to accurately date the photo to the period between 26 Jun and 8 Jul 1858.  I would lean toward the photographer having taken it on the Saturday 26 June when the 1st nights performance of Lalla Rookh commenced.

J L Toole was an enormously popular Victorian comedian and all his visits to towns & cities created hysteria, which also meant crowded houses for the lessee on the nights Toole performed."

Brent Fernandez, Hamilton, New Zealand:  30 November + 3 December, 2015


Maps for Begbie photos

Central Edin - West    Central Edin - East    Edinburgh & Leith

Maps for photos:

1850s       1950s      2000 Central Edinburgh       2000 Around Edinburgh

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