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Apollo owner: 'Theatre suffered years of neglect'

The owner of the Apollo Theatre, where a ceiling collapsed on to the audience, claimed last year that the venue had "suffered years of benign neglect".

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Andrew Lloyd Webber: I said it should be knocked down

The Apollo Theatre's previous owner Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that the building was in a "shocking" state 10 years ago. Credit: PA

In 2000, Lord Lloyd-Webber, who sold the Apollo to Nimax in 2005, told The Times: "The Apollo in particular is a shocking place.

"I suggested that both it and the Lyric should be knocked down and replaced by top-quality modern theatres."

The composer complained that his plans for black-box auditorium inside the existing plasterwork had been opposed by English Heritage.

When it listed the building in 1972, the public body cited the Apollo's "richly ornamental shallow domed ceiling" as one of its features.

One of the lines of inquiry being considered is that excess water during a torrential downpour may have caused the collapse, after forecasters confirmed there was an abnormally high concentration of rain, hail and lightning in London on the night of the collapse.

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