The first theatre on this site was the
Clarence Theatre built in 1790 and later called the
Theatre Royal. In 1896 it was rebuilt and opened as
the Tivoli Theatre but the name was changed again early
in the 1900s when it became the Royal Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome could seat 600 and had its entrance on
In the early 20th century it doubled as both cinema
and theatre being used by both professional companies
and local amateurs. During World
it proudly upheld the old theatrical saying
that “the show must go on” despite the shelling and
bombing. Through nearly the whole of the war the stars
appearing at the theatre helped to keep up the morale
of servicemen and women and civilians alike.
Having survived as long as it did, it was a cruel irony
that it was one of the last shells to land on Dover
that finally closed it. On 25th September 1944 a shell
that caused extensive damage hit the theatre. The building
was finally demolished in 1951.