Sunday 17 January 2010

NW3's Embassy

One of the more significant bits of public space is here in NW3, at the end of Eton Avenue, just outside the Hampstead Theatre and the Central School of Speech and Drama.

The School has an amazing schedule of alumni and a proud track record of providing high quality education and training.

But the building itself has considerable history and hosts the Embassy Theatre.

The Theatre accomodates about 700 people and is a former Music Hall and dates essentially from 1928 when it was converted by architect Andrew Mather. It was previously Eton Avenue Hall from 1890 then Hampstead Conservatoire of Music.

During WWII the building was damaged and so saw an extensive refurbishment in 1945/1946.

The Theatre has a crucial place in the history of the development of modern Hampstead and Belsize in that it hosted the meetings of the AJR (Association of Jewsh refugees). This group initially met at 26 Belsize Park and then rented small premises at 279a Finchley Road before moving to 8 Fairfax Mansions.

On 27th May 1945 a meeting at the Embassy Theatre to mark the end of the wa saw 800 people in the theatre and 200 more outside and again on 3rd September the venue was used for the next stage of the AJRs work. A fascinating little part of the rich tapestry of NW3.

No comments: