Windmill International – “London’s longest-running strip club” – started as a cinema named the Palais de Luxe (1909), which specialised in showing silent films and art house pictures.
In 1930, Laura Henderson, Bernard Isaac and JF Watts Phillips bought the Palais de Luxe and created The Windmill Theatre, named for the windmill that originally stood on the same site when the area was still farmland (known as Windmill Fields).
The Theatre featured comedians such as Peter Sellers, Benny Hill, Harry Secombe and Bruce Forsyth and over 550 half-naked women who did their thing. It closed in October 1964.
Arthur Lloyd’s website has a comprehensive history of The Windmill Theatre (along with some amazing photos), and Remembering Revudeville – A Souvenir of the Windmill Theatre, by Jill Millard Shapiro, is a fantastic account of what it was like to work at the Windmill in the glory days.
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Want to see more? Take a look at my Windmill Theatre Pinterest board.