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Thread: The Hippodrome, Derby, Derbyshire, June 2019

  1. #1
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    Default The Hippodrome, Derby, Derbyshire, June 2019


    1. The History
    The Derby Hippodrome is situated on Green Lane, Derby and was designed by Marshall & Tweedy of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Constructed over three levels with Stalls, below ground, and two Circles, it had a total capacity in excess of 2,000. The large Variety Theatre opened on July 20th 1914 with a production called 'September Morn' and went on produce 1,158 live programmes. The Theatre was successful as a live theatre until September 1930 putting on acts such as Marie Lloyd, Gracie Fields, George Formby and Max Miller filled. More bizarre turns included racing whippets, performing pigeons and even aquatic shows.



    A couple of pictures form back in the day. The first from 1959:

    0_JG_DT_071118HIPPO_01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And one from earlier, circa the 1920s(?):

    20190623_224815 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    It was then converted into a cinema. The first film to be shown at the new Cinema was 'Sunnyside Up'. With the advent of Television, it closed in 1950 before it reopened later in the year on December 23rd, having been converted back to live theatre. Stoll Theatres Corporation under the management of Ray Lane, put on all types of shows, although Variety was its main fair. Frankie Howerd, Al Read, Charlie Chester, Morecambe and Wise and Max Wall all trod the boards. Tommy Cooper starred in 1953, Benny Hill and Shirley Bassey in 1954 and Ken Dodd in 1955. Cliff Richard and Lonnie Donegan performed in Sunday concerts. The list goes on.

    Sadly, this initial success was short-lived. Almost overnight in 1956, the theatre started to close for long summer recesses and in January 1959, after the Christmas Pantomime finished, it closed its doors as a live Theatre for the last time. After being left empty for three years, in 1962 it was purchased by Mecca and converted into use as a Bingo hall, prolonging the building’s use right up to 2007. Earlier, in 1996, the Hippodrome was given Grade II listing, mainly for its internal decorative plasterwork

    The theatre in more recent times post conversion to a bingo hall:

    20190623_224604 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    20190623_224529 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The Hippodrome was sold in 2007 to businessman Christopher Anthony for £375,000. A dramatic turn of events took place on 28th March, 2010. Anthony had visions of turning the Grade II listed building into a multi-storey car park and under the pretence of carrying out repairs, he instructed A B Demolition to bring a large excavator onto the site and commence the demolition of the building. Fortunately, the demolition work was stopped but not before substantial sections were destroyed including the removal of structural metal beams supporting the roof, the side walls, stage house and fly tower.

    Since then, the building has remained unoccupied and suffered several arson attacks causing further damage. A local organisation ‘Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust’ set the theatre up as a basic performance venue by 2020 funded by an application for Heritage Lottery Funding. The trust also launched a bit to raise a minimum of £22,500 via Crowdfunding in February 2019, but as at 17th April 2019 had only raised £2,650.

    2. The Explore
    This place has been off the radar a bit since a glut of reports back in 2014. The outside of the building doesn’t prepare you for the devastation that lies within. Although reports from five years ago show the roof of the main auditorium has been raised many of the seats are still in situ. Now there are just two!

    It didn’t take too long to figure a way in and being faced with the utter devastation the place has endured. Despite this, the place is still photogenic in its decay and well worth an hour or so of your time.

    3. The Pictures

    A few externals:

    Derby Hippodrome 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1499 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Derby Hippodrome 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1505 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1503 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1498 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1497 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And in we go to be greeted by this scene:

    Derby Hippodrome 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Derby Hippodrome 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Derby Hippodrome 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Like a WWII bomb’s hit it:

    Derby Hippodrome 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1496 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    All that lovely plasterwork nearly gone:

    img1470 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1468bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Two seats left in the house:

    Derby Hippodrome 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Derby Hippodrome 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A ‘luxury’ box:

    Derby Hippodrome 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1478 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1492 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Remnants of a recent fire on the ground floor:

    Derby Hippodrome 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Derby Hippodrome 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Including these burn-out bingo tables:

    img1490 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1485 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1484 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1483 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, jmcjnr, KPUrban_, Mearing, Mikeymutt, noiseboy72, robbie1003, rockfordstone, Romford Reject, Sausage, SnakeCorp, The Wombat, the_gadge
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  4. #2
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    amazing how this place has been distroyed , think its only fit for demolition now

  5. #3
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    Was that owner ever prosecuted for the damage? We've lost lots here such as old manor houses which accidentally went on fire due to glue sniffers or whatever and had nothing to do with developers being refused planning permissions several times..

    That's a mess and has already been said is only fit for demolition now.
    Full of meaty goodness.

  6. #4
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    Would be nice to get that place done. Haven't really bothered as derby is so far. Liking them photos though.
    Don't worry about security until you've been caught.

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
  8. #5
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    Excellent report! So sad to see what happened to the Hippodrome.

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD
  10. #6
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    I was an apprentice in Derby in the late sixties and remember it well. Sad to see it the wreck it is now. Jim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcjnr View Post
    I was an apprentice in Derby in the late sixties and remember it well. Sad to see it the wreck it is now. Jim.
    Not down London Road by any chance? Walked down that road every working day from Feb 1962 to July 67. As for the Hippodrome, the exterior structure could have done with a bit of TLC back then in the 60's. It was just one of the many rundown theatres looking for another purpose, that one could find in most large towns and cities.

  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeCorp View Post
    Excellent report! So sad to see what happened to the Hippodrome.
    Cheers Mr Snakecorp!

  13. #9
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    That is really sad actually, what a waste :(

    Great report though
    Black cat exploring company
    & LSD - Leicester Super Derpers

  14. Thanks given by: HughieD
  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wombat View Post
    That is really sad actually, what a waste :(

    Great report though
    Much appreciated mate...

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