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Report - Dudley Gala/Hippordrone Birmingham Oct 2010

Discussion in 'Diehardlove' started by diehardlove, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. diehardlove

    diehardlove 1 of them cnuts off 28dsl
    Regular User

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    Nice little explore this was and the place is gorgeous and bloody massive,
    These were took on the old pentax so forgive the quality being bad.
    went with lostexplorer and the engineer,
    The land upon which Dudley Hippodrome stands was originally part of the Earl of Dudley’s estate, but was bought by John Clement in the 1890’s.

    John Clement was born in Dudley in 1840, and had originally worked at the Earl of Dudley’s estate office. He had always been involved in amateur dramatics, and by the 1880’s owned two music shops in Wednesbury and West Bromwich, and was working as a theatrical agent.

    In June 1889, he opened his first theatre, “The Colosseum†by converting an old circus building in Trindle Road.

    Having acquired the site on Castle Hill however, he opened “The Dudley Opera House†in September 1899, with a performance of “The Mikado†by the D’Oyly Carte opera company.

    The building had cost £16,000. That’s about £1.2 million today.

    Sadly, though not surprisingly, it was soon apparent that there was no local demand for nightly opera, and so the luxurious venue ended up staging the same mainstream variety acts that the rivals did. A young Charlie Chaplin performed there in 1906.

    When the building was destroyed by fire in 1937, the site was sold to the local theatre entrepreneurs, the Kennedy family, who owned the Plaza Cinema next door, and they opened “The Dudley Hippodrome†in December 1938.

    This classic Art Deco building contained a 1,700-seat auditorium, and for it’s time was one of the biggest venues in the Midlands, being the first provincial theatre to stage Laurel and Hardy in 1947, the comics staying in the Station Hotel directly opposite.

    Comedy was the main crowd puller through the 1940’s and 50’s, hosting acts such as Chico Marx, Bob Hope, Harry Secombe, Morecambe and Wise, and Dudley regular Ken Dodd. In 1951, their production of Cinderella became the first Christmas Pantomime ever to be televised.

    With the decline in live variety acts, the Kennedys were forced to sell in 1958, and it became the Bingo Hall we see today.
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