Opening of the Welwyn Theatre

First night reception

By Robert Gill

Opening Night
Herts Advertiser
Welwyn Theatre in 1930
Campus West Library - Welwyn Garden City

On the 27th January 1928 the Welwyn Theatre was opened with a presentation of the film Ben Hur. Preceeding the showing was a reception hosted by Sir Theodore Chambers (Chairman of the Board of Welwyn Garden City Ltd ) with a dinner after the show at the Cherry Tree Restaurant.

Sir Theodore Chambers described the opening as a great event in the history of Welwyn Garden City “It is something that is emblematic of all that Welwyn Garden City stands for – progress, initiative, courage and conviction”.

At the time, the population of Welwyn Garden City was around 6,000 and the new theatre had seating for 1,200 – a courageous thing to build.

The theatre was demolished in 1984.

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The picture showing some of the opening evening attendees was taken in the foyer of the Theatre. Those in the picture are:

front row starting left:

C B Purdom, Sir Ebenezer Howard, Sir Theodore Chambers, Richard Reiss, Unknown, Mrs Lilian Purdom, Lady Chambers (?).

back row starting left:

Louis de Soissons, Dr L T Gray, Unknown, William Horn, A W Kenyon, Mrs Gray (?), Mrs Reiss (?), F J Osborne.

This page was added on 03/11/2011.

Comments about this page

  • A new office building was built on the site of the old theatre and is currently used by the NHS.

    By Robert Gill (11/09/2017)
  • What was built on the site of this theatre after it was demolished?

    By Alison (09/09/2017)
  • Ah, the Welwyn Theatre! I remember the theatre vividly in its’ thriving days, since me & a few of my friends (when we were 15 & 16 yrs old) used to watch a show on our summer holidays. Lovely theatre with kind & caring stuff it was!

    By Thomas Connell (16/02/2015)

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