Report - - The Hippodrome, Derby, June 2019 | Leisure Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Hippodrome, Derby, June 2019


28DL Regular User
Regular User
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 WW2 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

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Omg, how disappointed that must of been. From the outside looks like a good explore. Still some nice bits, but my god, thats dangerous, and right in the middle of a busy road.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely derp'd sir. Love that early 80's exterior shot. You'll have to give me a shout next time you're down my neck of the woods :thumb
Cheers mate. Will do would be great to meet up.

Omg, how disappointed that must of been. From the outside looks like a good explore. Still some nice bits, but my god, thats dangerous, and right in the middle of a busy road.
Wasn't too bad but you had to watch where you stepped.

was that 4th pic 2007? thats some serious decline there.
Probably late 60s/early 70 mate.

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