61 Wilson Street,
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Opened on 17th August 1906 as a large variety theatre, topping the bill on the first week was Florrie Ford. Films were added to the variety bills from 1910. The Hippodrome has seen many changes over the years, not least the construction of an ugly ‘flyover’ roadway directly in front of the impressive facade. It was designed by theatre architect George F. Ward and he would still recognise the exterior, but not inside.
It was taken over by and used as a cinema before Denman-Gaumont acquired it from Thomas Thompson in 1928. A massive internal rebuild took place giving the Edwardian theatre a more modern Art Deco style auditorium. The stage was retained with a proscenium width of 40ft, a stage depth of 35ft and generous wing space.
It was not renamed, as another former theatre in the town, the Grand Opera House was also rebuilt for Gaumont as a cinema and took the name. The Hippodrome Theatre closed on 1st December 1956. It became the Astoria Ballroom in 1959, and was later converted to a bingo hall which had closed by 1987.
The next major set of internal alterations occurred in 1991 when it became a nightclub called The Venue. The stage area has more recently been hived off as a multi-level bar and nightclub, whilst what remains of the auditorium is a Chicago Rock Cafe.
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