Hulme Hippodrome in UK’s most at risk Victorian buildings

Hulme Hippodrome, photo courtesy Victorian Society website

The respected Victorian Society has included Manchester’s Hulme Hippodrome in its Top Ten most endangered buildings for 2019.

Opening on 10 October 1901 in the Manchester suburb of Hulme, the Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall (as it was originally known) seated 2,000 upon opening (with a further 1,000 seats in the adjoining Floral Hall.) It was designed by J J Alley, who designed a number of Manchester theatres including the Hulme Playhouse which was built the following year right next door to the Hippodrome, both theatres being joined by an arcade. Both theatres were part of the Broadhead circuit, which built its head office along the arcade between the two theatres.

The theatre fell into disuse in the mid-1980s and has been slowly decaying ever since.

The ornate, Grade II-listed building was bought at auction in May this year by a church group and there are major concerns for this vulnerable landmark building which is in a very fragile state of health.

Christopher Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said ‘There is nothing sadder than a shuttered theatre. Central Manchester’s increasing prosperity has not yet spread to Hulme, which cannot afford to lose assets such as this splendid building.’

I managed to find a short film (below) taken in 2012 which allows us inside the Hulme Hippodrome, which as you can see was already rotting away under an undignified amateur paint job. Thanks to YouTube poster lazyeyebailey for the video.


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