Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94189 6033
394189, 806033


C J Phipps of London and James Mathews, 1872 and Frank Matcham, 1909 (see Notes). 3-storey, 7-bay theatre with striking Venetian Gothic polychromatic round-arched entrance front to S. Lower single bay gabled section to left. Grey and pink granite to entrance elevation and early use of concrete to rear. Timber and glass 2-leaf swing doors to each bay at ground; 7 to right separated by engaged polished pink granite columns. Round arches to windows with alternate vertical bands of red and grey stonework. Band course and cill course. Deep bracketed eaves.

Predominantly timber plate glass sash and case windows. Brick gable stacks. Grey slate.

INTERIOR: outstanding largely unaltered original Edwardian Baroque decorative scheme with original stage machinery. Small Front of House area with timber and glass box office windows. Curved auditorium with steeply raked circle and upper circle, supported by cast iron columns. Decorative cartouches and festoons. Circular ceiling with 4 painted panels and dentilled cornice. Rectangular proscenium with flanking slender columns with scroll brackets. Boxes either side of stage with recessed shell alcoves above. Original riggings and fly-loft machinery. Some original timber panelling and cornicing to dressing rooms.

Statement of Special Interest

The Tivoli is an outstanding and rare, near intact example of a Victorian theatre. It has a distinctive and striking entrance façade and an excellent interior decorative scheme. The building is the result of the work of two renowned theatre architects, C J Phipps and Frank Matcham. The interior has been described as one of the best remaining examples of Matcham's work in the United Kingdom (Walker 1980). The entrance elevation uses red and grey granite to create a polychromatic, round arched pattern, which makes an unusual and significant contribution to the streetscape.

Originally known as Her Majesty's Opera House, the theatre was originally built by C J Phipps and James Mathews and contains the first large-scale use of concrete in a theatre building in Scotland.

In 1897, Frank Matcham was asked to redecorate some of the building and also to improve the fire exits. The Tivoli closed in 1906 after the opening of the new His Majesty's Theatre nearby (see separate listing). In 1909, however, in preparation for re-opening, Matcham carried out a further scheme of improvements and reconstruction, which included extending the balcony forward to leave single boxes by the side of the stage. These works cost £10000. The theatre re-opened in 1910, changing its name to the Tivoli.

C J Phipps (1835-1897) is considered to be one of the first great theatre specialists of the Victorian Theatre. Based largely in England, his output includes The Garrick in London. He was succeeded by Matcham and others, whose designs tended to be more extravagant.

Frank Matcham (1854-1920), was one of the most respected theatre architects of the early twentieth century. Working around the UK, he designed more that 200 theatres, including the Kings Theatre in Glasgow (see separate listing), although only around 25 of his theatres now survive. As a largely unaltered building, The Tivoli is therefore an important remaining record of his work.

The Tivoli was primarily a variety venue and hosted many famous Scottish performers, including Harry Lauder, traditional fiddlers, Andy Stewart and The White Heather Group. A popular theatre, the queues for performances often stretched down Guild Street in both directions.

The theatre closed in 1966. It functioned later as Bingo Hall, but this too closed in 1997.

Currently disused (2006).



2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1899-1901. W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Guide 1998 p15. Brian Walker (ed), Frank Matcham, Theatre Architect 1980 p 130. Bruce Peter, Scotland's Splendid Theatres, 1999 p 177. London Metropolitan Archives website,

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

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Printed: 08/07/2020 06:34