The History of the Windmill Theatre
Windmill International is the premier destination for gentlemen looking for a good time, a Soho institution and London’s most famed strip club. Between opening it’s doors 80 years ago and today, it has survived more than you’d expect, and entertained men from all over the world…
Origins of The Windmill Theatre
The club we know today started life as the Windmill Theatre, opened by Laura Henderson in 1932. Mrs Henderson hired premises manager Vivian Van Damm to run the theatre and thrill its visitors. Van Damm took an innovative risk, relaunching the theatre as a ‘vaudeville’ showcase – including performances featuring nude women, the first of ever on stage in Britain. These ladies, known as ‘The Windmill Girls’, were the beginning of the Windmill as we know it today…
The Windmill Theatre During World War Two
The nude performances were a smash, and turned the Windmill into the go-to destination for dapper gentlemen in London. Visitors flocked to catch a glimpse of this new wonder, which alongside musical and comedy performances made the Windmill one of the most popular nightlife establishments of that period. The Windmill Theatre is proud to have stayed open throughout the Second World War, never closing it’s doors, and remaining a place where soldiers could come to be unwind and be entertained by the most mesmerising women.
The Windmill after the War
The Windmill remained a popular nighttime venue after the war, despite needing extensive repairs due to bomb damage. Alongside its infamous nude girls and dancers, it became just as well known for its comedy and cabaret performers. Some of the most well loved British comedy stars cut their teeth in the Windmill Theatre – Bruce Forsyth and Peter Sellers were among them.
While it never closed, the Windmill Theatre was reimagined as a cinema during the latter half of the 20th century, and the mystery and allure of its girls seemed to be lost forever.
The Windmill Today
It was rescued and restored to its former glory by current owner Oscar Owide, who has turned Windmill International into a family run business alongside his son. Many forms of dance now feature at the club, from stripteases to burlesque. Once again, the Windmill is delighting gentlemen and providing these indescribable women with a chance to shine.
The Windmill Theatre is an icon of Soho and London nightlife, and is still the ultimate destination for gentlemen looking for a night of indulgence. 80 years of enjoyment and entertainment speaks for itself.