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Howard & Wyndham

Howard & Wyndham

John B. Howard and Frederick W.P. Wyndham were theatre owners, producers, and managers who started by managing a single theatre but who would go on to form the largest theatre circuit ownership and management company in the United Kingdom.

Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre
Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre
Irish-born John B. Howard (1841-1895) and Edinburgh-born Frederick W.P. Wyndham (1853–1930) started their association as well-known actor/manager/impresarios throughout Scotland and England.

Howard had been the manager of Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal with his father Robert H. Wyndham, and when Wyndham Snr retired, Frederick took over.

In 1883 Howard & Wyndham formed a partnership to run the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, which would be their first step into their transition into theatrical business managers. Later in 1883, the pair would lease the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

In 1895 Baillie Michael Simons formalized and extended the pair’s partnership to form Howard & Wyndham Ltd Link opens in new window, providing additional company funding which allowed them to acquire the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh and the Royalty Theatre in Glasgow. Unfortunately, John Howard died of a stroke just weeks after the company was formed.

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, UK
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, UK
In July 1888, Howard & Wyndham Ltd took on management of the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. The theatre would go on to become the flagship and headquarters of their company, which by the early 20th century would become the largest theatre owning, producing, and managing company in the UK.

It was the policy of Howard & Wyndham Ltd to continue the tradition of Wyndham’s productions and to either produce pantomimes or bring fantastic pantomimes to their theatres across the country.

As the entertainment industry developed, Howard & Wyndham Ltd began to explore business interests in television. In 1957 Howard & Wyndham Ltd sold Glasgow’s Theatre Royal to STV Link opens in new window (Scottish Television), which went on to broadcast live from the revamped television theatre for the next 17 years.

In the 1960s Howard & Wyndham Ltd sold its theatres to the ocal city councils, with one exception, their British flagship out of over 20 theatres, the Alhambra Theatre in Glasgow which the then Glasgow Corporation declined to take up despite the public’s preference for it. The Alhambra closed in 1969 to meet company debts in film and television production.

Information in part sourced from the Theatre Royal Link opens in new window in Glasgow, UK, and Wikipedia Link opens in new window.

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