Picture of a Cockpit dating from 1759
The Cockpit Theatre - A Playhouse (Re-named the Phoenix Theatre)
As its name indicates, the Cockpit started life as a venue for cock fighting. It has a special place in the history of London as it became the very first theatre to be located in Drury Lane.
The cockpit was originally built in 1609 for cockfighting. The blood sport venue was converted into a playhouse theatre in 1616 by Christopher Beeston. In 1617, just a year later, there was some rioting in London and the newly converted theatre was burnt down by the mob. The Cockpit theater was rebuilt in 1618 and given the name the Phoenix, as it rose from the ashes.