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Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatre

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1879 | opening
The building was erected by architects Dodgshun & Unsworth.
(detail)1926 | fire
The first theatre was destroyed by fire, leaving only shell.
(detail)1932 | construction


(detail)William Frederick Unsworth |architect

Unsworth was an architect from Bath, where he had been articled to Wilson and Wilcox in 1869. He had a keen interest in the architecture of the past, especially French Gothic, and travelled extensively in France before starting in practice in London in 1875 at 13 Buckingham Street, Strand, London with his partner Edward John Dodgshun. Upon receiving the contract for the theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1876, the partners moved to larger premises at 2 Queen Street, Westminster. From 1880, Unsworth’s base was in Sussex and then later in Petersfield, Hampshire, where he was in partnership with his son and Harry Inigo Triggs. Among other public buildings Unsworth was to design were the chapel of King’s School, Warwick (completed 1895), and the interior designs for the choir of the chapel of Rossall School in Lancashire. He became a fellow of the RIBA in 1891. He exhibited between 1882 and 1902 as a watercolour and architectural painter of London, twelve times at the Royal Academy and once at the RBA.

(Sources: Johnson, J. and Greutzner, A., Dictionary of British Artists 1880--1940, Suffolk, 1976; Pringle, M.J., The Theatres of Stratford-upon-Avon, an architectural history, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1994.)

IN: publicsculpturesofsussex.co.uk




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