The Theatre Girls Club

Hannah Gordon tells the story of the Theatre Girls Club, founded in 1918 by Virginia Compton to provide safe and cheap lodging for aspiring actresses, singers and dancers in London.

For sixty years it was home to a succession of young women with stars in their eyes, many of whom went on to become famous.

Actress Amanda Barrie ran away from home at the age of thirteen, and lived at the Club regularly for years while she established herself.

Baroness Betty Boothroyd on the other hand describes the "jail-like" atmosphere with much locking and bolting, and the huge bunch of keys carried by Agnes Bell.

Miss Bell took over the running of the Club from its founder, Virginia Compton, in the 20s.

Adored by many of the girls in her care, Miss Bell was a mixture of strictness and motherliness.

Betty Boothroyd saw her more as a wardress, and it is evident she wavered between being an indulgent nanny and a disciplinarian.

Virginia Compton, the Founder, was an actress herself, married to actor Edward Compton and mother to playwright Sir Compton Mackenzie and actress Fay Compton.

Shakespearean actor Alan Howard is a direct descendant, and will take us through Virginia Compton's role in establishing the Club, and his family's involvement.

He was the only male ever allowed to stay on the premises.

The Club closed in 1973, and the building is now a hostel for the homeless, but the stars, the stories and the memories continue, and through the eyes of some of those who lived there, give a fascinating insight into a part of the social history of the early and mid 1900s.

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Hannah Gordon tells the story of the Theatre Girls Club, founded in 1918 by Virginia Compton to provide safe and cheap lodging for aspiring actresses, singers and dancers in London.

For sixty years it was home to a succession of young women with stars in their eyes, many of whom went on to become famous.

Actress Amanda Barrie ran away from home at the age of thirteen, and lived at the Club regularly for years while she established herself.

Baroness Betty Boothroyd on the other hand describes the "jail-like" atmosphere with much locking and bolting, and the huge bunch of keys carried by Agnes Bell.

Miss Bell took over the running of the Club from its founder, Virginia Compton, in the 20s.

Adored by many of the girls in her care, Miss Bell was a mixture of strictness and motherliness.

Betty Boothroyd saw her more as a wardress, and it is evident she wavered between being an indulgent nanny and a disciplinarian.

Virginia Compton, the Founder, was an actress herself, married to actor Edward Compton and mother to playwright Sir Compton Mackenzie and actress Fay Compton.

Shakespearean actor Alan Howard is a direct descendant, and will take us through Virginia Compton's role in establishing the Club, and his family's involvement.

He was the only male ever allowed to stay on the premises.

The Club closed in 1973, and the building is now a hostel for the homeless, but the stars, the stories and the memories continue, and through the eyes of some of those who lived there, give a fascinating insight into a part of the social history of the early and mid 1900s.