Britannia Theatre, Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, was burned out by Hitler early in 1940, and completely wrecked by a land mine on December 8, the same year.
These photos of WW2 bomb damage in London are from a collection of newspaper and magazine articles published in England during World War Two. My late grandfather gave these to me as he knew I was interested in London history.
First the Pimlico Tavern stood on this site, a resort of poets and players mentioned by Ben Jonson. In 1841, by that time known as the Britannia, it had a saloon in its garden at the back, and its owner, Samual Lane, set out to rival the Eagle in City Road.
In 1858 Lane rebuilt the Britannia as a splendid new theatre. Under his management and later under that of his wife Sarah, who survived him for many years, it became one of the most celebrated of music-halls Its famous artists included Chirgwin, Topsy Sinden, G. H. McDermott, George Leybourne, Marie Lloyd, Charles Coborn, Albert Chevalier, Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell.
The Tichborne Claimant made appearances here both before and after his imprisonment. In recent years the “Brit” had been a picture theatre. In 1923 the Britannia was converted into a Cinema and gave up live productions, showing films exclusively.
Today the site of the Britannia Theatre is occupied by modern apartments / flats.