Royal Duchess Mews, SW12

Place Name

The Royal Duchess Theatre after which this mews is named was a grandiose building which opened on September 18, 1899 at a cost of £35,000 (roughly £4.3 million today). Its 70ft (21.3 metres) frontage of stone in the Italian Renaissance style dominated Balham Hill and the affect was made all the more regal as it was crowned with a copper dome, above which was a colonnade and cupola from which a powerful revolving searchlight sent flashes of colours around Balham High Street. In 1903, the name was changed to the Duchess Palace and then again in 1906 to the Duchess Theatre. By 1908 it began to show the newly produced films in addition to Music Hall and Variety productions. In 1909 came another name change to The Balham Hippodrome. From 1915 it was solely used as a Variety theatre until it was seriously damaged during an air raid in the early part of the Second World War. It never re-opened and was finally demolished in the 1960s to make way for the development of the Balham Hill Estate. This is a gated mews.

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