Trocadero (London)

Trocadero (London)

:"For the origin of the term Trocadero, and other uses of the word, see Trocadero (disambiguation)."

The Trocadero is a building in Shaftesbury Avenue, London originally built as a restaurant but most recently used as an exhibition and entertainment space.


In London the Trocadero Restaurant of J. Lyons and Co. opened in 1896 at a site on Shaftesbury Avenue, near the theatres of the West End, which had been formerly occupied by the notorious Argyll Rooms, where wealthy men hired prostitutes. The stylish connotations of the name "Trocadero" derive from the Battle of Trocadero in southern Spain, a citadel held by liberal Spanish forces that was taken by the French troops sent by Charles X, in 1823. The battle was commemorated in the Place du Trocadéro, Paris, and the monumental glamor of the Parisian site has given rise to a variety of locales bearing its name. A one time maitre d' of the Trocadero was Belgian born Maurice F. Monbiot, grandfather of the journalist and environmentalist George Monbiot. His French born great-grandfather Raymond Monbiot [The Strand Magazine, pg.62, v.104, 1942-1943 Oct-Mar] was the Trocadero's restaurant manager ["Points from Letters", pg. 8, "The Times", January 9, 1939] .

The new settings were magnificent in an Opera Baroque style, and the various Trocaderos of the English-speaking world have derived their names from this original, the epitome of grand Edwardian catering. Murals on Arthurian themes decorated the grand staircase, and the Long Bar catered to gentlemen only. During the grim days of World War I, the Trocadero initiated the first "concert tea": tea was served in the Empire Hall, accompanied by a full concert programme. After the war cabaret was a feature of the Grill Room. The Trocadero closed on 13 February 1965.

In 1984, the Trocadero was redeveloped as a tourist-oriented entertainment, cinema and shopping complex. It retained the external Baroque facade, but gutted the interior and added a "Guinness Book of World Records Exhibition." But tenants were limited, and the half-finished development was eventually sold to the Nick Leslau and Nigel Wray headed Burford Group plc.citeweb|url=|title=How the Westway was won by tycoon|publisher=Sunday Herald|date=2002-02-10|accessdate=2008-08-26] Nickelodeon UK used to broadcast live from there from 1994 until 1996 when they moved to Rathbone Place, and the place received a boost in the late 1990s with the addition of sponsorship from Pepsi, and Sega as an anchor tenant. The launch of "Segaworld", a large amusement arcade occurred on 7 September 1996, which included a large statue of Sonic the Hedgehog over the front entrance. Pepsi sponsored the "Pepsi Max Drop Ride" and from 1997 the "Pepsi IMAX" cinema, the first 3D IMAX cinema in the UK. It was also home to the second series of Channel 4's daily reality show "The Salon."

However, resultant visitor numbers were poor, and the Guinness Records exhibition closed in the mid-1990s and following the loss of Sega's sponsorship in 1999, Segaworld became "Funland" and was subsequently reduced in size, and the Pepsi-sponsored IMAX cinema and Drop Ride closed around the same time. Remains of old attractions can still be seen around the centre, such as a wall with a gun-barrel motif that used to house a James Bond ride, while a disused escalator now blocked off with a drinks machine was the entrance to Segaworld. In 2005 the Trocadero was acquired by new owners who have plans to undertake a comprehensive regeneration of the site.As of may 2008 the trocadero sold for a reported £300 million to Billionaire Sam Sellers [27] brother of Billionaire Mark Sellers owner of up down court. [citeweb|url=|title=Criterion’s £100m plans for Trocadero get Westminster go-ahead|publisher=Property Week|date=2008-05-09|accessdate=2008-10-09]

The Trocadero Cinema

The 3,400-seat Trocadero Cinema in the Elephant and Castle area of the South Bank opened in December 1930. The cinema is no more; but its Wurlitzer organ, the largest ever shipped to the UK, survives.

The London Trocadero in popular culture

*In "The Magician's Nephew", part of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, Andrew Ketterley is forced to treat the evil Queen Jadis to what was in his own words "an exceedingly expensive, not to say ostentatious, lunch" at the Trocadero in London. This was confirmed by his further statement that on account of her conduct there (which was disruptive to say the least) he would never be able to show his face there again, mentioning the restaurant by name.


External links

* [ London Trocadero official site]
* [ Trocadero Restaurant launch, early days and banquets]
* [ History of the Trocadero with archive images]

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