The Royal Theatre, 1927 – Two Years After It Closed

Royal Theatre 2 [RP] [late 1920s].jpg

Royal Theatre, 344–46 George Street, October 1927. Roy Studio, Peterborough Museum and Archives.

The Royal Theatre closed down abruptly after a busy fall season in December 1925. Two years later its doors remain closed, but the sign still promises “Pictures and Music That Excell.” At the top of building is another statement: “High Class Motion Pictures Est. 1908."

The posters advertise Oo-La-La, a “new show” by the Dumbells, a vaudeville troupe that was appearing not at the Royal but down the street at the Grand Opera House. The Dumbells first started performing overseas in the First World War and, after 1919, spent the next thirteen years on cross-Canada tours. The group appeared regularly in Peterborough in the 1920s. This particular show came to the Grand Opera House on Oct. 27–28, 1927 – as the small posters at the far right of the window under “Pictures and Music That Excell” also indicate. Gosselin’s Tobacco Shop, at 348 George, is next door to the left – it was in this space from 1926–27 to 1938 (when it was replaced by another tobacconist, M.A. Wesley); R. Neill’s, boots and shoes, is next to that, 350–54; to the right, at 342 George, is Dominion Stores Ltd., grocers. The Centre Theatre would be built on the site of the old Royal in 1939.

Some two years after this photo was taken, in 1929, in an Examiner survey of Peterborough’s “amusements” past, Cathleen McCarthy wrote that the Royal “remains dark and unused . . .”

The entire block, with the exception of the Market Hall building, was demolished in 1974 to make way for Peterborough Square.

Robert Clarke