Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


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

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

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Printed: 21/11/2018 13:51