Shakespeare’s Bust

The Royal Victoria Theatre in Longton was located in Berry Lane, now an alleyway next to the B&M car park. Opened in 1868 by Matthew Wardhaugh, the auditorium of the brick building was decorated with a stone bust of William Shakespeare. Remaining in place after the closure of the theatre, it survived in place until 1949 when it fell from the building during a huge blaze that gutted the building, almost killing two firemen.

The building was later rebuilt as part of the factory of James Davies Ltd, and eventually passed into the hands of Jomens, a shop. During demolition of the site in the early nineties, the head was seen to be removed from the building on a cherry picker, and local rumour placed the head as in the hands of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. However, during my research in 2010, the head was discovered to never have made it to the museum, and is currently missing?

Do you remember what happened to the head? Do you have it, or do you know who does? Please contact meĀ and let me know! Perhaps we can lay to rest the mystery, and perhaps get a recent photograph.


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