Hulme Hippodrome

A splendid music hall with a spectacular auditorium featuring a riot of gilded Rococo plasterwork. An iconic building of social, historical and architectural significance, currently in a very poor state of repair.

20120216 ig manchesterhulmehippodrome 027 detail
Address
Preston Street, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5EU
Risk Rating
7 (Community Value: 1, Star Rating: 3, Risk Factor: 3 )
Owner
Gilbert Deya Ministries
Operator
Gilbert Deya Ministries
Architect
J J Alley
Date of Construction
1901
Listing
Grade II
Capacity
Estimated at 2,000

Significance

Hulme Hippodrome is a splendid Grade II listed music hall. The magnificent auditorium, which has two galleries and a proscenium arch in their original state, is a spectacular riot of gilded Rococo plasterwork. The basic design is similar to the auditorium of the Hulme Playhouse next door, but apart from this (and other now demolished theatres designed by J. J. Alley for the Broadhead Circuit), the concept is quite unlike any contemporary theatre or music hall. It is an iconic building of social, historical and architectural significance.

Why is this theatre at risk?

Hulme Hippodrome was last used for theatre in the 1960s, then bingo from the mid-1970s until its closure in 1986. The Floral Hall adjacent to the main theatre was then used as a snooker hall. In 2003 evangelist group Gilbert Deya Ministries purchased the building, and was operating from the foyer only, which left the auditorium vacant and in a very poor state of repair. In 2017 Manchester City Council served the owner with a Dangerous Buildings Notice and closed the building.

An application to list the building as an Asset of Community Value was rejected in 2016.

Hulme Hippodrome, exterior

Theatre potential

The area surrounding the theatre has been substantially redeveloped in the last 20 years and the theatre could find a use as part of the local community. The council is keen to find a historic-led, sustainable long-term use for the Hippodrome, and Theatres Trust will be working to support this ambition.

Current situation

Squatters that had been in the building vacated the premises in April 2018. However, the building remains vacant and vulnerable and in urgent need of intervention to prevent ongoing deterioration.

Theatres Trust is in contact with the council, which has been proactive in its attempts to engage with the Hippodrome’s owners, offering to work with them to bring forward a proposal to secure the long-term future of the building. The council has requested that a full structural survey is carried out to understand and inform necessary future repair work.

More recently the council’s Senior Planning Officer had discussions with the Trustees of Hulme Hippodrome who stated that they are potentially interested in selling the building. Advice has been given on the processes required to proceed with this. Theatres Trust hopes to work with any potential future owner to ensure that any proposals for the Hippodrome will preserve the significance of this important theatre.

Photos, Hulme Hippodrome, Ian Grundy