The Frank Matcham Society recently visited the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. The Empire, designed by Frank Matcham, is statutory listed Grade II and is an interesting example of the Arts and Crafts design influencing Matcham’s later work. It would benefit a heritage recording report.
It opened in 1903 and remained as a theatre until 1953 when it was converted for use as television studio for the BBC. From 1995 it has been used as a live music venue.
Externally the building is finished in roughcast render with terracotta dressings. The façade is an asymmetrical design, the centre with four-bay arched entrance; to the right, a taller bay with segmental gable and to the left, a stocky round tower with little windows and a lively Baroque top stage, lantern and cupola.
It would not take much to restore the façade to its former glory, adding the missing urns and revolving lettering to the cupola. The restoration of missing elements is a worthwhile investment. Theatre and Heritage can provide vital research into what architectural features are missing and how these can be restored. Contact us if you would like to know more about your particular building.
The interior was refurbished in 2016 with works to the roof, as well as upgrading audio systems, the auditorium, bathrooms and backstage. The theatre would benefit further archival investigation and a heritage recording report.