The Rosie is now a powerhouse on the Fringe, with new music theatre the driving-force within it.
-Jeremy Kingston, The Times
The Rosemary Branch was completely refurbished by its present owners in 1992 with the aim of preserving the tradition of presenting an eclectic range of art and entertainment along with excellent food and drink. As well as theatre there is a constantly changing display of visual art.
The Rosemary Branch first appears on Hole's 1594 plan of Finsbury Fields as an alehouse used by the archers near the Shoreditch boundary. The name comes the sprig of rosemary worn in the hats of The Levellers, a radical left wing group of the 1640's who held meetings at a nearby tavern. In 1783 this was taken over for a white lead works powered by two magnificent windmills, and The Rosemary Branch was rebuilt on the parish boundary. Its large tea gardens were notable for a one acre pond supplied with water from the New River which was popular for boating and skating among "the lower order of people." In the mid nineteenth century The rosemary Branch Gardens rivalled Vauxhall and these spacious and romantic grounds were used fo concerts, balls, ballooning, pony racing, equestrian displays, tightrope walking, clowning and "Drawing room Gymnastic entertainments."
The present Victorian building was renowned for its music hall. It is rumoured that Charlie Chaplin played here, Marie Lloyd and Little Titch certainly did.