New Regulations For London Theatres.
The theatres and music halls committee of the London county council, says a correspondent, have issued a series of regulations concerning theatres, music halls, and places of public resort. Henceforth, all applications for permission to open such places are to be accompanied by plans showing the position of the premises in relation to adjacent premises and to public thoroughfares. The width of all staircases, corridors, gangways and doorways, and the heights of the tiers and other parts of the building, are to be given, and a statement of the materials employed in its construction. The drawings are also to show the numbers of persons to be accommodated in the various parts of the premises. The area to be assigned to each person is not to be less than one foot eight inches by one foot six inches in the gallery, and not less than two feet four inches by one foot eight inches in other parts. No such premises are to be erected upon a site within twenty feet of any windows or other openings belonging to any adjacent premises. All dressing rooms are to be constructed of fire resisting materials, with an independent exit leading directly into a thoroughfare or way, and are not to be situated more than one story below the street level. No theatre is to be constructed underneath or on the top of any part of any other building. No such premises shall have more than three tiers or horizontal divisions, including the gallery, above the level of the pit. Where the first tier, or balcony, extends over the pitstalls or area, the height between the floor of the pit and the first tier shall not be less than ten feet, and the height between the floor of the highest part of the gallery and the lowest part of the ceiling over same-hall be not less than twelve feet. The floor of the highest part of the pit, or of the stalls where there is no pit, shall not be more than six inches above the level of the street adjoining the principal entrance to the pit, and the lowest part of the floor of the pit or stalls shall not be more than fifteen feet below such level. Two separate exits, not leading into the same thoroughfare or way, are to be provided to every tier or floor of such premises. If any tier or floor is divided into two parts, two separate exits must be provided to each part. Where vestibules are provided, not more than three tiers or floors are to communicate with one vestibule. The width of each vestibule shall be at least one-third greater than the united width of all the doorways or passages leading to it. Not more than one exit from each separate part of a tier or door shall be used as an entrance. Where a stage with a proscenium is to be erected, a brick proscenium wall not less than thirteen inches in thickness is to be provided, and carried up to the full thickness to a height of at least three feet above the roof, and below the stage to a solid foundation. No openings formed in the proscenium wall shall at the lowest part be at a higher level than the floor of the stage. The proscenium is to have a fire-resisting screen. The height of the wall plate carrying the rafters of the roof over the stage must not be less than twice the height of the proscenium opening. Every staircase, landing, lobby, corridor or passage intended for the use of not more than 400 persons is to be formed of fire-resisting materials, and be not less than four feet six inches wide. If communicating with any portion of the house intended for the accommodation of a larger number of the audience than 400, it is to be increased in width by six inches for every additional 100 persons until a maximum width of nine feet is obtained. A clear passage or gangway, not less than three feet wide, shall be formed at the sides and in the rear of the seating in every part of the premises. All workshops in connection with the premises shall be separated from them by brick walls not less than nine inches thick. All lime-light tanks, boilers with engines and dynamos with engines shall be placed in a ventilated chamber or building of fireproof construction, separated from the premises and from each other by brick walls and fireproof floors without openings, and shall be enclosed upon one or more sides by external walls. All scene docks or stores and property rooms shall be enclosed by brick wall not less than nine inches thick, and shall have floors and ceilings of fireresisting materials. All doorways used by the public shall be at least four leet six inches wide in the clear, with doors hung in two folds made to open outwards towards the thoroughfare or way. The ventilation must be approved by the council.
The regulations are stringent ; but when the consequences of trivial accidents in theatres are considered, it is wise to protect the public against themselves as well as against negligent managers.