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Criterion Theatre and Restaurant

A Grade II* Listed Building in St James's, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5097 / 51°30'34"N

Longitude: -0.1341 / 0°8'2"W

OS Eastings: 529586

OS Northings: 180626

OS Grid: TQ295806

Mapcode National: GBR GD.2Z

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.MBH0

Entry Name: Criterion Theatre and Restaurant

Listing Date: 5 February 1970

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1265753

English Heritage Legacy ID: 424081

Location: Westminster, London, W1J

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: St James's

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James Piccadilly

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text

TQ 2980 NE CITY OF WESTMINSTER PICCADILLY, Wl
71/75 (south side, Piccadilly
Circus)
5.2.70 Nos. 218 to 223(consec.)
with the Criterion
Theatre and Restaurant =
(Including Nos. 5 to 9
(consec.) Jermyn Street)
G.V. II*
Restaurant, theatre and former hotel. Nos. 218 to 221 including the
theatre and 9 Jermyn Street: 1870-74, with the annexe Nos. 222-23 of
1878-79 and its extension to Jermyn Street of 1885 - all by Thomas Verity.
Painted stone, slate roofs. Rich eclectic classicism owing more than
a little to Charles Garnier. 3 storeys with lofty 2nd floor and dormered
mansard and pavilion roof. Original block with 3-window wide centre
slightly recessed from one-window wide pedimented pavilion-wings. Ground
floor has channelled and panelled piers with canopies to restaurant and
theatre entrances in wings, that to theatre with ornamental iron brackets
and enrichments with white glass lettering to valence. 1st floor has
square headed windows between pilastered piers rising from dentil corniced
entablature to support entablature with enriched frieze, in the wings the
windows are tripartite and the flanking piers have aediculed segmental
pedimented niches containing statues. The central 3 windows of the 2nd
floor, set on an enriched panelled pseudo-pedestal, are arcaded with Ionic
half-columns flanking the piers, the spandrels carved with draped female
figures, festoons and foliage; the wings on this floor have Ionic columned
Venetian windows with fan patterned lunettes and are flanked by pairs of
Corinthian pilasters. Deep entablature with pediments over wings set
against high pedestalled parapet. The annexe continues the storey height
and above the mid C.20 shop front is generally similar in the design of its
3 window bays to the original, the 2nd floor having the same central
Venetian window motif as on the pavilion wings. Ornamental iron window
guards to 1st floor and stone colonette balustrading to 2nd floor windows
bowed out as balconette to centre window of original block. Of original
interior features of the Criterion Restaurant that survive the tunnel
vaulted "Long Bar" with its "glistening" gold mosaic decoration and the
first floor banqueting room are of note. The Criterion Theatre itself is
exceptional in being located in the basement. Approached by foyer
corridors and staircase lined with richly polychromed tiles and painted
tile panels alternating with large plate mirrors the auditorium is still
substantially that of 1874 with the 1884 remodelling. 2 tiers of
balconies, lyre shaped above horseshoe, supported on slender wreathed
columns and with open work fronts all of cast iron. 2 more substantial
columns with superimposed octagonal shafts support the flat circular main
ceiling with shallow Rococo relief panels radiating around laylight.
Enriched proscenium frame. As the theatre is in the basement scenery can
only be moved via the auditorium - hence the openable prompt-side box;
likewise there is no fly space and the safety-Curtain slides up in two parts.
The Criterion is a unique survival of a Victorian entertainment complex.
Survey of London; Vol, XXIX.
The Theatres of London; Mander and Mitchenson.


Listing NGR: TQ2958680626

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