26-30 Henblas Street,
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The Public Hall was built in 1873 and was destroyed by fire in 1906. The current building opened as the New Opera House & Public Hall on 1st July 1909. It was designed by the architectural firm Messrs Davies & Sons of Chester. It has a plain, two storeyed brick front. Inside the auditorium there was one curved balcony with Baroque style ornamentation on its front. The stage was quite small and was triangular in shape.
In 1911, the building was re-named Hippodrome Theatre. On 9th September 1929, it became the Hippodrome Cinema, opening with the first ‘talkie’ to be made by the Gaumont British Film Co. “The Donovan Affair”. It was closed in November 1959 with Jeff Chandler in “Pay the Devil” and John Agar in “Star in the Dust.
On 13th June 1961 it was taken over by a new operator Barry Flanagan and it re-opened with Pat Boone in “All Hands on Deck” and stage shows/pop concerts began to be presented, lasting into the early 1970’s. It was twinned in 1988, re-opening with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Willow”. Now operating as full time cinema use again, it was known as Hippodrome 1 & 2. The Hippodrome Cinema closed in March 1998 when the operators couldn’t obtain a first run print of the blockbuster film “Titanic”.
It then stood empty and ‘For Sale’. It was purchased by a propery developer in 2004 and moves were made to save the building and get it re-opened. Sadly these efforts came to nothing and the town council began plans to build a new purpose-built theatre for the town.
On the afternoon of Monday 16th June 2008, a 5-engine blaze badly damaged the former theatre. It was demolished in March/April 2009.
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