Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The London Hippodrome in 2003

Special Feature

This Special Feature was first created in 2003 and although the building was refurbished in 2012 and converted into the Hippodrome Casino I have left the Feature online for historical reference. The pages were restructured slightly in March 2015 and again in July 2017.

Hello and Welcome to the August 2003 Special Feature on the current state of The London Hippodrome. I was recently granted access to the entire building and took a plethora of pictures of what remains of Frank Matcham's once wonderful Theatre. The auditorium originally consisted of Stalls, Mezzanine, Gallery, Upper Gallery, and Minstrel Gallery, but now there is a false ceiling above the Mezzanine Level. How the auditorium above the false ceiling got into the state it's in now is hard to imagine. I think you will find these images very interesting and very depressing in equal measure.

Above the false ceiling of the modern night club is the dark ghost of a theatre, consequently many of the images in this feature are less than perfect quality, but I hope this doesn't detract from the fascination. Please note that throughout this Feature I have used the traditional way of naming Theatre positions, so for instance: 'Stage Right' always means that you are either standing on stage facing the auditorium and looking at something to your Right, or you are in the Auditorium facing the stage and looking at something to your Left. You get used to it after a while!

Hover cursor over the image below and click to see the same section in 2003.

Alternatively use the Ground Plans

Or use these links - Backstage - Basement - Exits - Foyer - Gallery Left - Gallery Right - Gallery Plaster Left - Gallery Plaster Right - Grid - Mezzanine - Minstrel Gallery - Night Club - Postcard - Plans - Proscenium - Seating Plan - Upper Gallery Plan - Upper Gallery Stage Left - Upper Gallery Stage Right - Views from the Top

London Hippodrome Minstrel Gallery Grid and Fly Tower Proscenium Surviving Plasterwork Gallery Stage Right Surviving Plasterwork Gallery Stage Left Upper Gallery  - Stage Right Upper Gallery  - Stage Left Gallery  - Stage Left Gallery Stage Right Views from back of Upper Gallery Backstage Click for Ground Plans with Hotspots Exits Hippodrome Exterior Stalls and rear Mezzanine Level - Now part of Night Club Stalls Boxes and Mezzanine Level - Now used by Night Club Stage - Now used by Night Club Royal Box and Stalls Boxes - Now used by Night Club Large Details of original Postcard Position of false ceiling right across auditorium Position of false ceiling right across auditorium Water Tank

London Hippodrome image courtesy Andreas Praefcke, from CARTHALIA - Theatres on Postcards; postcard collection of theatres and concert halls worldwide

A visitor to the site, Graham Orgill, who worked at the London Hippodrome during its Talk of the Town years has sent in some of his memories of the building: "Just a few words to say how much I have enjoyed looking at the photos of The Hippodrome, London above the false ceiling. Having worked there as the lighting board operator for five years (amongst many other things in there) when it was The Talk Of The Town. I would make the lonely treck up to my box as would the spot operators who were also in the upper ceiling area.

I often looked in amazement at the wonderful elaborate old structures and would try and visualise how it all was in its original state. It was very splendid and always invoked a sense of its former glory, somehow misplaced in the context of everything that came after. This web site has brought it all back to me and been very informative.

Same applies to underneath the building in the Elephant Run as it was known. We used to play Cricket there! Indeed we started the Talk Of The Town Cricket club which enjoyed numerous fixtures as TTCC for many years after it was closed

I did hundreds of shows there, and at weekends, TV productions. It's sad to see the derelict old Stage Door, Stage Door Room, and Stairs leading to dressing rooms which were alive with all of the artists and dancers, and have seen numerous very famous names walk up and down those stairs.

Many thanks for a real sentimental journey, I know some of my old chums who also worked there would enjoy the site as well. Could tell you a thousand stories of my time in there but these would not be in tune with the historical context of the building which is at the heart of your web site. Great times in a wonderful old building. Billy Petch and Robert Nesbitt were there throughout my employment in their respective roles. One man lives in the memory as a very unpleasant and bullying (to the dancers) individual with an explosive awful temper. I recall him being so drunk one evening that some of the cast sprayed him with dreadful perfume (emptied onto him) and put him in a cab, whose driver had to be bribed to take him because of the overpowering volume of perfume. Thanks for the memories again." Graham Orgill.

For more details about The London Hippodrome see the Hippodrome Features Index here.

Index to other Theatres and Cinemas in London's Leicester Square.