On This Day – January, 14th 1948
Pantomimes at both the Grand Theatre and the Hippodrome were at their most popular just after the war.
The Cat & The Hippo
And the show at the Hippodrome at Christmas 1947-48 “Puss in Boots” was extra special. You had two for the price of one.
This cat that haunted the Hippodrome.
Each day it loiters with intent. With such persistence, it was thought she was after a date with Puss in Boots.
I believe they were offering her tidbits at Povey’s or the tripe shop around the corner in North Street.
A place of family entertainment for several generations.
Many old Wulfrunians will have fond memories of the Hippodrome Theatre,
Both as a place of entertainment and as a distinctive architectural feature of the town centre.
The Moorish style of the facade created an imposing sight for anyone approaching the town from the south as they entered Queen Square.
Variety was the name of the game at the hippodrome – revue, musical comedy, circus, pantomime – drama.
Many of the acts that appeared there are recalled with great affection today.
Yates Wine Lodge stands on the site of the Hippodrome today in 2017
Which seems appropriate as the theatre started out as a Music Hall with a licensed bar.
When the old music hall fell into disrepair, it was rebuilt and re-named.
Opening in the 1890’s, as The Empire Palace of Varieties
In 1921 the Empire was modernised and renamed The Hippodrome.
In February 1956, the theatre suffered a severe fire.
Although the frontage wasn’t badly damaged and survived for a further two years.
With dwindling audiences plus rebuilding costs estimated at £130,000, it was decided to sell the site to developers.
The Times Furnishings store built in the current bland style of the era replaced it.
But today the site is now occupied Yates Wine Lodge who thankfully have added a bit more style to the frontage vaguely resembling the old Empire.