Hippodrome Theatre

36 King Street,
Wigan, WN1 1BT

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Additional Info

Architects: C.F. Owen, George F. Ward

Firms: Owen & Ward

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: New Theatre and Hippodrome, Grand Hippodrome Theatre

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Hippodrome Theatre

Located in Wigan, Lancashire. The New Theatre and Hippodrome was opened in 1904. It was owned by W.H. Worstock, and to gain permission to build it, he agreed to operate the theatre without licenced bars. It was designed by noted theatre architectural firm Owen & Ward. Seating was provided for 322 in the orchestra stalls, 253 in the rear stalls, 345 in the dress circle and 350 in the upper circle. The theatre had a large stage and fourteen dressing rooms.

After a refurbishment in 1909 and a change of management to J.W. Thornley, films were screened as part of the variety programme from 1909 until 1911.

Later owned by Wigan Entertainments Ltd., it was closed briefly in the early-1930’s, possibly due to the Depression. It specialized in live shows, plays and revues, with little if any film use. The Hippodrome Theatre eventually passed into the James Brennan Cinemas circuit, but it remained a live theatre.

The auditorium was badly damaged by a fire on 21st April 1956 during a run of the revue “We Never Clothed”. The stage and dressing room areas were not damaged, and remained for several more years after the ruins were demolished in 1960. The boiler house chimney on the dressing-room block had letters vertically placed, reading HIP. Today, the site is used for car parking.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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