This Collapsed Hippodrome was once a hive of showbiz talent and entertainment. It is located in the East Midlands region of England. Originally, it opened as a theatre in 1914. It has been derelict since the late 2000s.
The 2000 -seat venue is building is constructed out of red brick, with terracotta dressings. The roof, or what remains of it, is slated. The ceiling would have featured moulded panels and framings with elaborate Baroque plasterwork.
Above the rectangular proscenium arch, is a plasterwork garland. There would once have been a singles box on either side of the auditorium, close to the stage. Only one remains today. The opposing wall and much of the ceiling is collapsed. Vegetation grows in the area that once housed the orchestra pit/stalls.
History of the Collapsed Hippodrome
The Grade II listed building was designed by local architects. Strangely, it was built on the site of an old lunatic asylum. Initially, the venue served as a theatre between 1914 and1930. During this early-years, the hippodrome was a popular venue for musical entertainers and variety shows.
With the rise of motion pictures in the late 1920s, the theatre was converted to a cinema in 1930. The cinema enjoyed some success over the following decade, before closing around 1940.
A theatre troupe purchased the building around 1950, and return it to theatrical use. They attracted many A-list acts, such as Morecambe & Wise and Cliff Richard. These stars hosted sell-out performances; the theatre was a success once more. Sadly, the theatre closed only 9 years later.
Mecca Bingo took over the site, as a bingo hall, in the early 1960s. They sold the site in the mid-2000s, due to fierce competition from other bingo halls.
A property developer snatched up the site shortly after. He filed plans to demolish the building, in order to build a multi-story car park. The council blocked these plans. Instead, they ordered him to make repairs to the building. During the course of these repairs, a supporting wall was damaged by the heavy machinery. The roof collapsed, and work was halted.
The hippodrome has been left open to the elements since that day, over 10 years ago. There is no evidence of any restoration work by the developer. A local theatre trust has been raising money for the last few years, and have plans to purchase and restore the venue to its former glory.
The question is; will they manage to save the theatre, or will it be lost to arson and decay?