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Theatre architect receives blue plaque

Theatre architect Frank Matcham (1854-1920) has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque at 10 Haslemere Road, London N8, where he lived for nine years.

Matcham, who lived in the house from from 1895 to 1904, designed and built some of the most celebrated theatres in Britain, including the London Coliseum (1904) the Palladium (1910), and the Grand Theatre (1894) and Tower Ballroom (1899) in Blackpool.

Born in Devon in 1854, Matcham never qualified as an architect and during his lifetime – he died in 1920 – was snubbed by some of the profession.

He fulfilled 150 commissions between 1879 and 1913 – more than any other British architect, before or since.

Those buildings which have survive include the Grand Opera House, Belfast (1895), the Brighton Hippodrome and the Hackney Empire (both 1901), the Shepherds Bush Empire (1903), the King’s Glasgow (1904), and the Liverpool Olympia (1905).

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