While the funds were being raised from 1925 onwards by the Duke of Devonshire’s appeal to rebuild the theatre (see 16 December 2011 blog post), F.G.M. Chancellor of the firm Frank Matcham & Co was busy planning its construction. The company founded by the great theatre architect Frank Matcham (who died in 1920, before planning of the new Sadler’s Wells had begun) was one of the main theatre architecture practices of its time, having been responsible for many theatres across London and throughout Britain.
Like today, planning approval was required. In order for the application to be assessed, a detailed series of plans was submitted to the London County Council Architects' Department. I have found an extensive set of these plans in the Sadler’s Wells collection, which were passed on to us at the Local History Centre by Islington Council Building Control. They provide a great insight into how the theatre was planned to be laid out and constructed. An example of one of these plans is shown below (click to enlarge).
Some plans also show decorative features in the theatre including a plan of the proscenium (the frame surrounding the stage).
The rebuilt theatre opened on 6 January 1931 with Twelfth Night (see 7 January blog post). Further plans sent in for planning approval show how the theatre was altered and extended over the years until the present day theatre (opened in 1998) was built.