The Changing Face of the Bradleian

The Bradleian and part of its adjacent arches were built between 1871 and 1873 as a result of an appeal to create a fitting memorial to George Bradley`s achievements at Marlborough. The sum of about £1,000 was raised and the Hall was opened with a dinner on December 22nd, 1873. The Bradleian was first used as a place of study for scholars and later on functioned as a History Library and as a room for debates and lectures.

From 1874 the building was also used for the so-called Penny Readings. These were entertainments organised by the boys during which pennies would be thrown onto the stage while the Senior Prefect gave a dramatic reading.

In 1958 The Bradleian was converted into a small theatre – an appropriate use, perhaps, since the Penny Readings were to evolve into the major theatrical production of the Lent Term.

The Bradleian Theatre was much used for the staging of house plays during the period 1960-1990. 

During the 1990s it was given a major face-lift and an extra building was added onto its eastern side. It is now a modern and flexible drama workshop and theatre in which much of the work of the Theatre Studies Department is centred.