London Astoria

For other Astoria Theatres, see Rainbow Theatre and Astoria Theatre, Brighton.
London Astoria

The front of the Astoria prior to demolition
Location Charing Cross Road, Soho
London, WC2
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′57″N 0°7′50″W / 51.51583°N 0.13056°W / 51.51583; -0.13056Coordinates: 51°30′57″N 0°7′50″W / 51.51583°N 0.13056°W / 51.51583; -0.13056
Public transit London Underground Tottenham Court Road
Owner Festival Republic
Capacity 1,600 – 2,000
Opened 1976
Closed 15 January 2009

The London Astoria was a music venue, located at 157 Charing Cross Road, in London, England. It had been leased and run by Festival Republic since 2000. It was closed on 15 January 2009 and has since been demolished. The venue is still seen today as an iconic music establishment, as it helped to launch the careers of many British rock bands and also played a part in the UK success of many international acts. It was also a famous venue in Britain's LGBT scene, for holding London's biggest gay new year parties along with G-A-Y.

Originally a warehouse during the 1920s, the building became a cinema and ballroom. It was converted for use as a theatre in the 1970s. After further conversion, the building re-opened in the mid-1980s, as a night club and live music venue for well-known musical acts. There were half a dozen smaller music and gay clubs in the adjacent buildings within the neighbourhood.

In 2009 the venue closed, and was demolished as part of the development plans of the Crossrail project.


The Astoria was built on the site of a former Crosse & Blackwell warehouse[1] and opened in 1927 as a cinema. It was designed by Edward A. Stone, who also designed subsequent Astoria venues at Brixton (now the Brixton Academy), Old Kent Road, Finsbury Park and Streatham. When first constructed, the building was four storeys tall with a decorative frieze cornice surrounding its exterior. The original interior was styled as a square Proscenium theatre consisting of a panelled barrel-vault ceiling supported by large columns, a viewing balcony and had false viewing boxes, which actually contained the organ pipes. From 1928, the basement was used as a ballroom dancing salon.[2]

The venue's interior was re-designed with a plainer, modern style in 1968. In 1977 it was converted for theatrical use. The venue went through another period of conversion when the theatre closed in 1984. It reopened in 1985 as a nightclub and live music venue with a capacity for 2,000 people. A booklet was published called The History of the Astoria by Nigel Crewe to commemorate its evolving uses.[3] It was the venue for the last live performance by Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers. Mean Fiddler acquired the lease for the London Astoria in May 2000, "securing the future of live music at one of London’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll venues." It was also connected to Astoria 2 so that the two venues could function as a single venue when needed. The Astoria continued to operate in this format until its ultimate closure in 2009.



Workmen preparing the building for demolition in October 2008.
The Astoria with scaffolding prior to demolition.
The Tottenham Court Road construction site (2009) on the former site of the Astoria, the green of Soho Square is seen at the top

The Astoria was sold in June 2006 by Compco Holdings to property group Derwent Valley Central for £23.75m, who were rumoured to be planning to convert the site into a combination of shops, flats and offices to take advantage of an increase in property prices for the 2012 Olympics.[6]

On 13 August 2007, Festival Republic sold most of its venues and the rights to the name Mean Fiddler to the MAMA group, however it retained The Astoria and Mean Fiddler, which reverted to its old name of The Astoria 2, generally known as the LA2 (London Astoria 2). In December 2008, Coheed and Cambria played for four nights, as part of their Neverender, the only venue to feature outside of the United States.

In January 2009 the property was compulsory purchased for the Crossrail development, despite public opposition and an online petition. Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone confirmed that the venue "can't be saved".[7]

The nightclub G-A-Y left the Astoria in July 2008 and moved to the Heaven nightclub. The Astoria hosted its final night on 14 January 2009, co-organised by Get Cape Wear Cape Fly's Sam Duckworth in aid of Billy Bragg's Jail Guitar Doors charity and Love Music Hate Racism. Acts included The Automatic, My Vitriol and ex-Mansun singer Paul Draper, Frank Turner, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and The King Blues. London Astoria 2 also had a closing party, headlined by rock band Open The Skies, with support from Outcry Fire, F.A.T.E and Orakai.[8]

By October 2009, the venue had been demolished completely.

A replacement for the Astoria was being developed by the council and leaseholders, depending on Government funding. Festival Republic (the owners of the Astoria) have confirmed that a replacement will be built in the near future.

In 2012, Nimax's plans to build a new theatre in the Astoria's site were approved.[9] It is unknown whether the theatre will be used for music as well as dramatic purposes. The former site of the Astoria cannot be built upon until 2017 due to the site being needed for Crossrail.


  1. Archived 26 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Astoria (London) – The Theatres Trust". Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  3. "The Astoria Theatre, 157, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  4. "The Darkness – Astoria Documentary part 3/4". YouTube. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  5. "Metallica - The Secret Gig With New Songs (CD, Album)". 1995-08-23. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  6. London's Astoria Theatre Bought by Derwent Valley | Europe > Western Europe from Archived 3 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Hoyle, Ben (2008-03-14). "'Astoria makes way for Crossrail". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  8. Ian Winwood. "The Astoria: Share your beer-stained memories | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  9. "New Theatre Approved For Astoria Site". Londonist. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to London Astoria.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.