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The Hulme Hippodrome Theatre, Preston Street, Manchester

Formerly - The Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall - Later - The Second Manchester Repertory Theatre

Manchester Theatres Index

The Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

Above - The Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

 

The stage and auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.The Hulme Hippodrome was built next door to the Hulme Playhouse and designed by J. J. Alley who also designed several other Theatres in Manchester, including the Metropole, the Royal Osborne, the Hulme Playhouse, and the Queens Park Hippodrome along with the Pavilion Theatre in Liverpool, and several others in the Broadhead Circuit.

Right - The stage and auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.

The Theatre was built as a home for melodrama and originally seated 3,000 when it first opened as the Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall in 1901. Both Theatres were connected by an arcade.

 

The auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.The Theatre was renamed the Hulme Hippodrome in 1905 when it became a Music Hall.

In 1942 the Theatre was renamed the Second Manchester Repertory Theatre.

In 1950 the Theatre was refurbished and the Gallery was reopened.

In 1962 the Theatre was converted for Bingo and Casino use, and then later became a nightclub which closed down in 1986.

Left - The auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.

 

The auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.The building is Grade II Listed and whilst the auditorium with its two galleries remain in its original state, albeit slowly falling into disrepair, the same can't be said for its original exterior which has long since been altered beyond recognition.

Right - The auditorium of the Hulme Hippodrome in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.

In October 2011 both the Hippodrome and Playhouse Theatres were still vacant and slowly decaying but the Playhouse has recently, in 2015, had some work done to improve it by its Church Owners who have begun to halt the decay and set about refurbishing the building.

Sadly the Hippodrome's decay is still ongoing, it's current owners, a church group called Deya Ministries, who had been holding services in the Theatre's foyer for some time, and had leased the Theatre to 'Youth Village' who were a not-for-profit group, planned to convert the Theatre into an arts centre and a hub for community groups across Manchester, but this seems to have stalled at the time of writing in May 2016. A short Video showing the state of the Hulme Hippodrome in 2012 can be seen below, along with some photographs of the exterior and interior of the Theatre taken in 2011.

 

Faded signage still showing on the exterior of the Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 reads 'Hippodrome Pit Stalls' and underneath this the words '6d Early Doors' - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

Above - Faded signage still showing on the exterior of the Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 reads 'Hippodrome Pit Stalls' and underneath this the words '6d Early Doors' - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

The Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

Above - The Hulme Hippodrome Theatre in March 2016 - Courtesy Alfred Mason.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

 

Above - A short Video showing the state of the Hulme Hippodrome in 2012

 

Some photographs of the Hulme Hippodrome taken in November 2011

The Hulme Hippodrome and Playhouse Theatres in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The Hulme Hippodrome and Playhouse Theatres in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - Some photographs of the auditorium and stage of the Hulme Hippodrome in November 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

The stage house of the Hulme Hippodrome in 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - The stage house of the Hulme Hippodrome in 2011 - Courtesy K.R.

 

A Poster for 'Festival of Nudes' at the Hulme Hippodrome - Courtesy Kenny Cantor.In Donald Auty's Twilight of the Touring Revue, he writes: 'on the Monday after the week at St. Helens I took the costumes props and scenery to the Hulme Hippodrome Manchester; the first of the Jimmy Brennan dates that we were to play on salary in three weeks time. I stored it in the scene dock there and went home to Dewsbury. My calling up papers were waiting for me. I was to go to Devizes and join the Pay Corps on the Thursday of the Hulme Hippodrome week.

Right - A Poster for 'Festival of Nudes' at the Hulme Hippodrome - Courtesy Kenny Cantor.

Hulme was a pleasure to work it was a clean well run theatre with an excellent staff well equipped and a good orchestra. I had a wonderful three days there. I left at the end of the first house on Wednesday night to join the Army. All the cast hugged and kissed me even the musical director shook hands. I wept profusely.

I visited the show at various times when on leave. One week just before Christmas when the show was called 'Memories of Old Ireland' it was to go to the Alexandra Gardens Weymouth the following week as a pantomime, and be called 'Babes In The Wood' with very few changes. Even though I visited the show when ever I could I was not part of the family any more and felt this deeply even though the cast were wonderful to me, and there was a new cheerful musical director. So to the cast of 'Don't Be Shy Girls' and whatever else it was called I drink a toast. I love you all.'

From Twilight of the Touring Revue By Donald Auty.