This was somewhere on Hatton Garden, although I can’t find reference to an exact location anywhere. It was for training actors for the King’s Company under Thomas Killigrew; there was another for the Duke’s Company some way to the east in Fig Tree Court (near the later site of Play House Yard).

4 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link


name given during the Restoration period to training schools for young actors, the best known being that set up by Killigrew in Hatton Garden in about 1662. This moved in 1668 to the Vere Street Theatre, where it flourished until 1671, when Davenant's widow opened a new Nursery in the Barbican. This was still in use in 1682, as it is referred to in Dryden's poem MacFlecknoe, published in that year. A third Nursery is known to have opened briefly on Bun Hill, in Finsbury Fields, some time during 1671, and Nursery companies occasionally performed in borrowed playhouses. Little is known of their work, although they must have provided at least a minimal training for young players.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind,
(The fair Augusta much to fears inclin'd)
An ancient fabric, rais'd t'inform the sight,
There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight:
A watch tower once; but now, so fate ordains,
Of all the pile an empty name remains.
From its old ruins brothel-houses rise,
Scenes of lewd loves, and of polluted joys.
Where their vast courts, the mother-strumpets keep,
And, undisturb'd by watch, in silence sleep.
Near these a nursery erects its head,
Where queens are form'd, and future heroes bred;
Where unfledg'd actors learn to laugh and cry,
Where infant punks their tender voices try,
And little Maximins the gods defy.
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,
Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear;
But gentle Simkin just reception finds
Amidst this monument of vanish'd minds:
Pure clinches, the suburbian muse affords;
And Panton waging harmless war with words."…

Second Reading

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.