Rotherhithe Hippodrome Theatre

34-36 Lower Road,
London, SE16

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Rotherhithe Hippodrome Theatre

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Located in the southeast London inner-city district of Rotherhithe, on the corner of Lower Road and Culling Road, near the junction with Jamaica Road at the northen end of Southwark Park. The Terriss Thatre was opened as a playhouse on 16th October 1899 with a production of the drama "The White Heather" which had played at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It was named after actor William Terriss, who was murdered outside the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand in 1897. William Terriss had proposed plans for the theatre prior to his death.

The Tessiss Theatre was designed by noted theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague, and was built for the same operators as the Coronet Theatre, Notting Hill (today operating as the Coronet Cinema), the Brixton Theatre (destroyed by bombs during World War II) and the New Camden Theatre (later the Camden Palace and today a nightclub named Koko).

The Terriss Theatre had seating for 754 in the orchestra stalls, 349 in the circle, 648 in the gallery and eight boxes which seated 60. There were standing spaces for 276. The stage was 70 feet wide and 32 feet deep, and there were nine dressing rooms. It operated as a drama theatre until 2nd December 1907, when it was last operated by Walter & Frederick Neville.

It was taken over by Walter Gibbons and Charles Gulliver and went over to variety theatre use re-opening as the Rotherhithe Hippodrome of Varieties from 1908. Projection facilities were installed (to the plans of noted theatre architect Frank Matcham) to allow films as part of the variety programme. In October 1930, it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and went over to full time cinema use, with variety turns on the stage. It was closed in April 1931 for redecoration and re-opened on 11th June 1931.

ABC leased it out to Regent Theatres (who were a subsidary company of ABC) from May 1933 until 1935, when it went back to the management of ABC.

The Rotherhithe Hippodrome Theatre was taken over by an independent operator from 31st August 1941, and reverted back to variety theatre use from 20th September 1943. It was destroyed by German bombs at the end of 1943. The exterior walls were all that remained, and the building was deemed beyond repair.

The ruined building stood empty and unused for 12 years and was demolished in June & July 1955.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

Vintage photographs, memorabilia, and more history and details here:

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