In 1660, upon the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II awarded a monopoly on theatrical productions in London to Sir William Davenant and Thomas Killigrew. In so doing, the King established a royal precedent for controlling theatre (though not always successfully) in the capital city. The patents, granted to successive generations of theatre owners, remained in effect until they were abolished under the Theatres Regulation Act of 1843. Although originally given to acting companies, the patents eventually became identified with particular theatres. By the mid-eighteenth century only Covent Garden and Drury Lane (and, in summer, the Haymarket) could legally produce scripted drama. They were known as the ‘patent’ houses.
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