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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Old Bedford
The site of the famous Old Bedford Music Hall.
Location: 123-133 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JL
Description: This is the site of the Old Bedford Music Hall, closed in 1959 and sadly demolished in 1969.
The original Bedford Music Hall was built on tea gardens belonging to The Bedford Arms in 1861, and designed by architect, Edward Clark.
The interior was a splendid auditorium, capable of seating 1168 patrons on three tiers, however it was destroyed by fire in 1899, and another re-built on the site to designs by Bertie Crewe.
The Bedford was famous as a haunt for the Camden Town Group of artists headed by Walter Sickert, one of whose paintings was entitled Little Dot Hetherington at The Old Bedford.
In 1912 both Gracie Fields and Charlie Chaplin appeared at the Bedford and in 1920 Marie Lloyd celebrated her 50th birthday in pantomime there. Champagne Charlie and George Robey also played here.
In 1933 the failing variety theatre was acquired by Associated British Cinemas and was operated as a cinema until mid-1939.
In Norman Cohen's 1967 documentary, The London Nobody Knows, narrator James Mason walks through the deserted and derelict Bedford Music Hall in Camden Town.