The Opera House replaced an older building on this site that burned down in December 1955. Originally built as the Athenaeum, the older building was developed to house exhibitions and industrial displays. When the Theatre Royal closed down in 1886 the Athenaeum was adapted and became the Opera House. Designed by Scott Tallon Walker, the replacement building suffers from many of the same ailments as their Abbey Theatre in Dublin: a bleak and foreboding curtain wall of brick; and an ugly and ill-disguised fly-tower. Recently a new foyer was added to the front of the building in an attempt to remove some of the building’s bleakness.