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The Hulme Hippodrome – Legendary Manchester Theatre Slowly decaying in Silence

The role of art and entertainment in the enlightenment of the European continent is no secret, however historians have concerns about our modern take on the value of Art and culture. This is due to the lack of empathy towards the once monumentally significant icons of arts and culture, which are slowly drifting from the public eye thanks to the surge in the information technology and new modes of entertainment.


The decaying interior of Hulme Hipodrome.Source Col Ben/FLickr
The decaying interior of Hulme Hipodrome.Source Col Ben/Flickr

An icon that once hosted the great Beatles and received Laurel and Hardy on its stage is facing the wrath of the modern age and is slowly fading away in the darkness; right in front of our eyes.

Staricase Source Col Ben/FLickr
Staricase Source Col Ben/Flickr


Shot diagonally across the theatre, showing both the pigeon damage, and some of the theatre's faded glory Source Col Ben/FLickr
Shot diagonally across the theatre, showing both the pigeon damage, and some of the theatre’s faded glory Source Col Ben/Flickr

The story of The Hulme Hippodrome in Manchester starts in 1901 when it was officially opened for events.It was later known as the Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall. Although the theater remained active for almost 87 years, its golden era had long disappeared at the time it was officially shut down in 1988.

Interior Source Col Ben/FLickr
Interior Source Col Ben/Flickr


The theater now makes the grim picture of a slowly decaying corpse; most of its 3,000 seats stay arranged mostly unscathed, while an array of colorful décor that once mesmerized the audience has clearly taken the toll and is being eaten away slowly. On the upper floor, one can still find bottles left behind in the bars along with the broken cameras and some spooky old television sets, all in a stark contrast from the condition of the building downstairs that stands in absolute ruins.

Interior of Hulme Hipodrome Source Col Ben/FLickr
Interior of Hulme Hipodrome Source Col Ben/Flickr


The plight of the theater very sad considering its amazing past especially in the 20’s. The era belonged to British Comics Laurel and Hardy that made their names appearing on some of the best theaters in the world and entertaining the audience of millions around the globe.

When Laurel and Hardy arrived in Manchester for their performance, they chose Hippodrome to showcase their talent. Laurel and Hardy had to use underground tunnels to get to the theater due to the massive number of people flocking outside the theater to catch a glimpse of the stars. Although some of the areas of the theater looked relatively unscathed or somewhat stable, they are not so in reality; most of the structure is highly fragile due to the inadequate safety measures on the water supply pipes.

Hulme Hipdorome Source Col Ben/FLickr
Hulme Hipdorome Source Col Ben/Flickr


The Hippodrome’s golden age ended in the 60’s, and it slowly lost its glory; it was later turned into a bingo hall and was eventually shut down in 1988 when it failed to make any business for the investors. In 1999 the building was bought for a church service but most of the structure remained unused.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News