The Theatres Trust

Hippodrome (Derby)


A large variety theatre, red brick with terracotta dressings and a partially remaining slated hipped roof. Advanced end bays, with recessed banded corners. The main entrance was at the corner. In the auditorium, the stalls are below street level with two, deep, slightly-curved balconies above. The 1930 alterations seemed to be fairly limited, mainly the small single boxes on either side at first balcony level (now mostly demolished). They were framed by giant pilasters carrying a serpentine pediment. The remaining rectangular proscenium is surmounted by a big segment-headed panel framing a garland. The flat ceiling had concentric circular moulded panels in a rectangular frame, and all surfaces were detailed with rich Baroque plasterwork. The Hippodrome was used as a bingo hall from 1959, bingo operations ceasing in January 2007 when the theatre was sold to a property developer. Well situated in the City Centre, the theatre still has the potential to be rebuilt and restored to theatre use, providing Derby with an elegant touring theatre. Incidents of vandalism followed, including an arson attack within the orchestra pit, causing damage to the auditorium. Subsequent 'essential repairs' in 2008 removed part of the roof, leaving the building partially demolished. Several further small fires have caused more damage. The Hippodrome could provide Derby with a 1000-seat Lyric theatre, but in its current state of disrepair it has a very uncertain future. The Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust (DHRT) has been trying to secure and rebuild the theatre. To this end, DHRT successfully listed the 'Site of Derby Hippodrome’ as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ in 2013. The theatre also lies in a conservation area.

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Derby Hippodrome partially demolished, 2008
© The Theatres Trust

Cafe bar, Derby Hippodrome, 2003
© David Marsden

Plasterwork detail on the dress circle balcony, Derby Hippodrome, 2003
© David Marsden

Side elevation showing stage house, Derby Hippodrome, 2003
© David Marsden

Façade, Derby Hippodrome, 2003
© David Marsden

Towards 'the gods', Derby Hippodrome, 2003
© David Marsden

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  • Events
    • 1914 - 1930 Use: Theatre
    • 1914 Design/Construction:
      • Marshall & Tweedy - Architect
    • 1930 Alteration: converted to cinema
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1930 - 1950 Use: Cinema
    • 1940 Owner/Management: Rank (1944 Purchased by Prince Littler/Stoll)
    • 1950 Owner/Management: Stoll Theatres Corporation
    • 1950 - 1955 Use: Theatre
    • 1959 - 2007 Use: Bingo
    • 1961 Owner/Management: Mecca Ltd
    • 1982 Owner/Management: Walkers Ltd
    • 2007 Owner/Management: Christopher Anthony, owner
    • 2008 Alteration: Fire in auditorium, February 2008, followed by partial demolition during 'essential repairs'.
  • Capacities
    • Later: 1950: c.1650
    • Current: est. 1800
  • Listings
    • Grade II
  • Stage type
    • Rake 1:24. Proscenium
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 10.05m (33ft) Width SL: 8.22m (26ft 11in) SR: 10.66m (35ft)
    • Proscenium width: 10.66m (35ft)
    • Height to grid: 15.23m (50ft)

Of the period

Stage at St Peter's Theatre, Southsea, 2012
St. Peter's Theatre

Have you seen?

Auditorium of the Old Vic, London, 2013
Old Vic

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