King Street Houses

Circa: December 1819

This watercolour by H O’Neill shows the houses which stood between the Theatre and King Street. 

The middle house is No. 38, used as offices and accommodation by the Theatre managers from 26 March 1767 onwards. Passages were made through the ground floor to provide the audience access from King Street to the Theatre. 

In 1819 the Proprietors purchased the house next door, to the left of Coopers’ Hall, and put a passage through this too. By the end of the 1800s the houses were severely dilapidated, and in 1903 they were demolished to make way for a new entrance building designed by W. Skinner. Until then, audiences continued to use the passages to enter the Theatre, meaning up to 800 people were passing through No. 38 each night for almost 150 years.

From Bristol Museum & Art Gallery - M2233