Dudley Hippodrome – MUCH more than meets the eye as hidden Art Deco features rediscovered in over 150 photos

The recent refusal of listed status for Dudley Hippodrome from English Heritage calls into question whether their processes and decision-making are fit for purpose. As far as I am aware they had not even bothered to visit the building in the many years it has been campaigned for. Apparently they relied on second-hand information from the local Council which is openly fixated on demolishing Dudley’s last remaining professional theatre in favour of some Lego-look college student nursing buildings that could be slapped up anywhere. Are the people of Dudley not deserving of proper entertainment venues? I – and many other like me – think they ARE!

The Dudley Hippodrome Development Trust applied for the reconsideration of listed status for the solid and much-loved building in a well-crafted, complete and exemplary dossier which gave a range of authoritative sources, opinions and possibilities (all of which have been ignored by the Council), saying “Our application for Listing to be reconsidered included documents and 157 different photographs, all supporting ‘new evidence’ of remaining features which still exist within the building, despite the more recent alterations.”

As a rebuttal to English Heritage’s seemingly off-hand approach to making its original decision, scores of photos have come to light showing the existing detailing, fixtures and fittings that got overlooked, simply because it was hidden away behind false walls and ceilings and no-one bothered to look. Most of these original features have been unseen for over 40 years.

But now you can see for yourself that the interior of the Hippodrome, far from lacking character, is positively choc-full of it! As you can see in these photos, just a sample of the over 150, all courtesy of the DHDT Facebook page:

You’d have to be blind not to see the quality of these interiors. But of course English Heritage is a Government body, let’s not forget. And Dudley Council’s zero “vision” of demolition will produce nothing except thousands of tonnes of pollution raining down on local residents, and months upon months of disruption to residents and local motorists. Let’s hope the people of Dudley realise they deserve a better future- and a better Council – by voting appropriately at the May elections.

Decorative plasterwork under the dress circle auditorium level, by George Legge of Bryan’s Adamanta, Birmingham
Deco coving and detailed frieze, credits as above.
Further frieze work in foyer areas
Original Crittall windows, glazing and fixings
Dressing room door
Dressing room door
original stage winch
Ceiling roses hidden in false ceiling installation by Gala bingo
Bespoke Deco coving in foyer areas
Light fittings hidden over false ceilings
Auditorium grillework
Original terrazo flooring hidden under carpets
Birkby Wyke bricks from Bradford used in the construction of the theatre, once dubbed “the showcase of the West Midlands”

Messages from the stars- from the Hippodrome’s opening souvenir brochure