Derby Hippodrome

A large variety theatre, which could become an elegant touring house for Derby, despite its semi-demolished state.

20080815 mp derbyhippodrome 012 detail
Address
Green Lane, Derby, Derbyshire DE1 1ES
Risk Rating
7 (risk rating: 3. star rating: 1. community rating: 3.)
Local Authority
Derby City Council
Owner
Blake Finance
Architect
Marshall & Tweedy
Date of Construction
1914
Listing
Grade II
Capacity
Estimated at 1,000-1,200

Significance

Derby Hippodrome is a large, Grade II listed variety theatre, built in 1914. It is a rare survival from an early stage in the crossover period when buildings were being constructed for both live theatre and cinema. This building form proved to be the model for most cinema design from the 1920s onwards. Well situated in the city centre, the theatre has the potential to be rebuilt and restored to theatre use, and could provide Derby with an elegant 1,000-1,200-seat theatre for the sort of commercial touring productions the city can’t currently accommodate.

Why is this theatre at risk?

Since the former theatre’s use as a bingo hall ended in 2007, there have been incidents of arson, other small fires and vandalism. Further substantial damage was caused during essential repairs in 2008, and the theatre has subsequently remained partially demolished. In its current state of disrepair the Hippodrome has a very uncertain future.

Current situation

Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust (DHRT) has been trying to secure and rebuild the theatre. The group successfully listed the site of Derby Hippodrome as an Asset of Community Value in 2013 and received approval for planning and listed building applications to rebuild the front of house as a café, offices and meeting spaces on four floors and construct roofing over the auditorium and stage house. In January 2016, a Heritage Lottery start-up grant was secured. With this grant, DHRT has been able to demonstrate that the main structure of the theatre is sound and has obtained a valuation of the property in its present condition.

Image: Derby Hippodrome, Theatres Trust