A recce a couple of years ago failed to gain access (despite Solomon's enthusiastic attempts to jump up to an unreachable ledge by running straight into the wall ) so when my daughter mentioned she had been to a building which provided food for homeless people and had a big theatre in the back I baked a cake and hopped on the bus immediately.Built in 1901 Hulme Hippodrome was originally called Grand Junction Theatre and over the years has hosted many famous performers.
From 1956 to 1987 it was used by the BBC as a radio and TV studio, in which audiences would regularly enjoy shows by the Northern Dance Orchestra and legendary comedian Ken Dodd. It has a special place in pop history because the Beatles made their first radio appearance there on March 7, 1962.
The Hippodrome was last used as a theatre in the late 1960s and adapted for bingo from the mid-1970s. It was bought in 1999 by the Gilbert Deya Ministries and its curious signage reading Jesus Bingo has rendered it legendary among Hulme residents. The Hulme Hippodrome became the NIA Centre. The late Jazz legend Nina Simone was the opening night star attraction.
In the early 1990s as the regeneration of Hulme intensified, the centre came under increased pressure to cease operating, as planning issues were conflicting with residential concerns after a new housing estate was build in close proximity to the centre. The community regeneration along with a withdrawal of revenue funding caused it to cease operations. The curtain fell for the last time in 2000.
Manchester Village Youth organisation are hoping to secure funding and start restoration of this fantastic Grade 2 listed building. The group needs volunteers to help with fundraising and work on improving the building. October 10th will be the Hippodrome's 110th anniversary and an event is planned for that day.
Despite water damage on the upper floor the hall retains its grandeur and was an impressive sight.
1. Striking colours
3.To the stalls
4.Finding your seat
11.Even the bathrooms were ornately decorated with plaster swags...
12....and art deco mirrors
13.Under the stage
15.The spotlights would have shone through red and blue glass panels
16.Looking down from the gods
22.After the show