From Her, To His
Posted 12th May 2023
The theatre that stands at the corner of Haymarket and Charles II Street has gone by many names and last weekend (6 May 2023) it underwent its most recent change to mark the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. For more on the history of this traditional name change see our news story here.
As you can imagine, renaming a theatre in the 21st century is a demanding task! There are posters and leaflets, websites and listings, Google maps and of course the theatre’s historic signs.
Thanks to its corner position His Majesty’s Theatre has four signs that bear its name. One – a more modern addition – sits high on Haymarket lit up at night to guide theatre goers to the legendary Phantom of the Opera. Two others are stained glass and created by artists especially for the theatre – and you can see one of the new stained-glass signs being installed in the video below.
The final sign, along Charles II Street, sits just as high on the building as it’s modern counterpart on Haymarket, and we believe it was installed when the theatre was originally renamed to Her Majesty’s Theatre – for Queen Victoria. Each word is carved on its own slab of stone so we decided to only replace the word HER with HIS to keep this historic sign as original as possible.
Although we knew it must have been amended to read “HIS” at some point in the past it was before LW Theatres acquired the theatre and the whereabouts of this panel was unknown. So as with the others, we created a “HIS” to install in the place of the “HER” that had sat undisturbed for at least 70 years. Little did we know, however, that past designers had future proofed this sign when it was originally created. As we carefully removed “HER” from its casing someone caught sight of the back, on which was written in the same beautiful gold… HIS!
Unfortunately, long exposure to the elements has caused some damage to the HER/HIS sign so we did still install the new version. But the original piece is being cleaned and restored and we hope to put it back in its rightful place soon, so it can continue to look down on our audiences for another century or more!