The Theatres Trust

Hippodrome (St Helens)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Current state
  • Current use
  • Address
    Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, England


Opened 1903 as Empire Palace of Varieties, on site of the earlier People’s Palace of 1893. Symmetrical, largely original, in eclectic and rather uncertain style, with ornamental surrounds to windows in terra cotta. All that is known of the original building is that it had two balconies and boxes and great attention was paid in the original design to fire precautions and exits for speedy evacuation in the event of fire. In 1930s the auditorium was remodelled for cinema use with one deep balcony; the boxes were removed. The splendid ceiling dome, originally for the sunburner, decorated in fibrous plaster with garlands and musical instruments, however, remains as a reminder of the once lavish interior. The wide proscenium dates from 1956. The stage with fly tower remains. Current plans are to extend the stage area into the defunct dressing room area, perhaps extending the back wall, to give extra space for bingo, and possibly to insert a second balcony for additional accommodation.

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  • Other names
    Empire Palace of Varieties
  • Events
    • Owner/Management: Barrasford, Sley & Willmot, owners
    • Owner/Management: Mecca
    • Owner/Management: Currently: Independent owner M Pilkington (St Helens family!)
    • 1903 Design/Construction:
      • J A Barron (St Helens) - Architect
    • 1903 Design/Construction:
      • McNelly (St Helens) - Consultant: Painting, Leadlightwork
      • Brockfield Foundry Co (St Helens) - Consultant: Iron Work
      • Stoft & Co (Manchester) - Consultant: Sunburner
      • Bispham Hall Terracotta (Orrell) - Consultant: Terracotta
      • Withnall Brick Co (Accrington) - Consultant: Bricks
      • J Mans (Liverpool) - Consultant: Painting Scenery
      • Craven Dunhill Tiling Co (Jackfield Sallop) - Consultant: Mosaic And Tiling
      • Thomson & Co (Liverpool) - Consultant: Seats
      • Johnson & Sons (Liverpool) - Consultant: Fibrous Plaster
      • Alex White & Son (Liverpool & Birkenhead) - Consultant: Decoration
    • 1913 Alteration: unspecified alterations
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1930 - 1939 Alteration: auditorium remodelled
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1956 Alteration: proscenium widened to accommodate cinemascope
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1968 Alteration: converted to bingo
      • Gormall & Wainwright (St Helens) - Architect
  • Capacities
    • Original: 2300
    • Later: 1912: 2300
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: 1912 Depth: 38ft Width: 60ft
    • Proscenium width: 1912: 25ft
    • Height to grid: 1912: 60ft
  • Unreliable anecdotes
    Curtains lists architect as J A Brown

Of the period

Exterior of The Theatre Royal, Barry, 1993
Theatre Royal (Barry)

Have you seen?

Auditorium at Morecambe Winter Gardens, 1996
Morecambe Winter Gardens

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