Photograph of the queue for a Beerbohm Tree production

Photograph of the queue for a Beerbohm Tree production

Herbert Beerbohm Tree was lessee and manager of the Haymarket Theatre for ten years from 1887. However, he always had plans to go a step better, and on 28 April, 1897 he celebrated the opening of his own newly built theatre, Her Majesty's, just across the road from the Haymarket. Appropriately, it was the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. This was the fourth theatre on the site, and cost £55,000 (about £3.5 million today) to build. Tree's wife Maud feared that the 'new theatre was a monster whose devouring jaws opened wider and wider every day'. It ended up £300 (about £20,000) over the planned budget, but was hailed even by George Bernard Shaw, no fan of Tree's, as 'quite the handsomest theatre in London'. The intricate gilded blue and scarlet of the auditorium, and the foyers and bars in mahogany and gilt can all still be seen today.