Monday, May 08, 2017

The old Hippodrome in Brighton

After my flirtation with restoration at Embassy Court, let's return to derelict Brighton.

The old Hippodrome is tucked in, rather unexpectedly, just behind the seafront.

It was built in 1897 and Wikipedia tells its colourful history:
Shows of all types were staged there, and top-name entertainers such as Sarah Bernhardt, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gracie Fields, Harry Houdini, Buster Keaton, Lillie Langtry and Laurel and Hardy appeared. 
Laurence Olivier played the venue early in his stage career—but fell over on his first entrance on his d├ębut. 
One of Charlie Chaplin's first roles was a bit-part in theatre impresario Fred Karno's comedy Saturday to Monday, staged in May 1907; and Vivien Leigh gave an acclaimed performance in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma. 
Local stars also featured: Max Miller, the Brighton-born music hall entertainer and comedian, appeared on many occasions during the mid-20th century; and conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, whose vaudeville career began in their home town in 1911 at the age of three, topped the bill with their variety show.
The article goes on to say that 4000 people attended concerts by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in 1964, but that could not help the Hippodrome closing the following year.

It was bought by the Rank Organisation and turned into a Mecca Bingo hall and remained open in that guise until 2007.

Hopes of restoring it remain, those this whole quarter of the city seem run down at present. Our Brighton Hippodrome has the latest news.

The building's glory is its interior, as you will see from the video below.

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