In 1776 David Garrick sold his share in Drury Lane to a consortium of Richard Sheridan, Thomas Linley and Dr James Ford, who soon after acquired Willoughby Lacy’s share, too, so that they could assume full control. They had to get past Garrick’s final performance, attended by the king. The excitement, the crowd, the febrile atmosphere were such that the actors had to leave the stage temporarily while the doors were opened to relieve the crush and most spectators could be seated.