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

Celebrating Twenty Years Online 2001 - 2021

The London Hippodrome, Hippodrome Corner, Cranbourn Street, City of Westminster

Later - The Talk Of The Town - Stringfellow's - Hippodrome Casino

Introduction - Description - Opening - Later History - The Talk of the Town - Stringfellow's Nightclub - La Clique - Hippodrome Casino - 2009 Refurbishment photos - Casino Photographs - Index to all the articles on this site about the London Hippodrome

Other Leicester Square Theatres and Cinemas

The Hippodrome Casino, formerly the London Hippodrome, in June 2014 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Hippodrome Casino, formerly the London Hippodrome, in June 2014 - Photo M.L.

See London's West End TheatresLondon Hippodrome seating plan - Click to Enlarge.See Theatreland MapsThe London Hippodrome is situated just off London's Leicester Square and was designed for Edward Moss by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham. The Theatre opened on the 15th of January 1900 with a Circus and Variety Show. It was due to open some months earlier but owing to the highly complicated machinery and stage effects that the Theatre was designed to perform, extended rehearsals meant that the original opening was postponed.

The Directors of the London Hippodrome for its opening in 1900, H. E. Moss, Oswald Stoll, and Richard Thornton - From The Sketch, January 17th 1900.

Above - The Directors of the London Hippodrome for its opening in 1900, H. E. Moss, Oswald Stoll, and Richard Thornton - From The Sketch, January 17th 1900.

The London Hippodrome Exterior when it first opened in 1900 - From The Sketch, January 3rd 1900.However, the press and other interested parties were instead invited to a private viewing of the new Theatre on the 29th of September 1899. A Daily News reporter who attended the viewing seemed completely entranced by the building and his report, which was published in the paper the next day in some detail, was headed 'The London Hippodrome, a remarkable building - Postponement of the opening.' The article went on to say:- 'Compared with the London Hippodrome, the established theatres are mere affairs of the stage and auditoriums, walls and ceiling, with conventional accessories. The London Hippodrome only resembles itself. Mr. H. E. Moss must surely have drawn his inspiration from a dream. But that is not admitted.

Right - The London Hippodrome Exterior when it first opened in 1900 - From The Sketch, January 3rd 1900.

The official testimony is that, about two years ago, the founder of high class variety halls in the provinces "determined to invade London with a new form of entertainment, combining circus, hippodrome, and stage performances." He is about to do so. Merely as a building, and quite apart from the entertainments that may be given there, the London Hippodrome is likely to to rank with Madame Tussaud's and Westminster Abbey among the sights of London.

Last night a throng of privileged persons attended a "private view." They walked about the new building astonished, puzzled, and delighted, like Alice in Wonderland.

The auditorium of the London Hippodrome in its guise as a conventional Theatre - From a programme for May 2nd 1910 - Click to see a special feature on this programme.Every now and then they had almost to pinch themselves to make sure they were awake. Some persons came in evening dress, believing the "private view" had reference to the entertainment advertised for Monday. Happily, they were mistaken.

Left - The auditorium of the London Hippodrome in its guise as a conventional Theatre - From a programme for May 2nd 1910 - Click to see a special feature on this programme.

To see the building was enough sensation for one evening. The abnormal confronted them almost on the threshold. It was a small point, but the very attendants were dressed as naval officers. The next blow came in the discovery that the grand saloon is a ship's saloon, with the familiar skylight and brass fittings, and with portholes - the thing seems ridiculous, but such was the illusion - with portholes commanding a view of the sea. Why - the reader may ask - these queer caprices. Well, presumably, it all happened that way in the dream...

The London Hippodrome in its heyday - From a Programme for the Theatre in 1907

Above - The London Hippodrome in its heyday - From a Programme for the Theatre in 1907

A postcard sent in 1906 showing the London Hippodrome at night....You would have to look a long time to find any pit at the Hippodrome. Standing in one of the layers of private boxes, one sees the stalls, then "a large round space" let that description momentarily suffice, and beyond, a large stage.

Right - A postcard sent in 1906 showing the London Hippodrome at night.

It is a beautiful house, characterised by flowing lines, unfamiliar formation, rich upholstery, Italian marble, and French Renaissance decoration. People gazed with wondering eyes as the large round space, where carpenters still worked on the wooden floor.

A programme for the London Hippodrome from July the 30th 1900 - Click for a special feature on this programme.Presently they cleared it of themselves and their shavings. Then slowly the floor went down, revealing the glazed-brick wall of a pit 230ft. in girth.

Left - A programme for the London Hippodrome from July the 30th 1900 - Click for a special feature on this programme.

Through the eight little slits that had been opened in the floor one caught the sparkle of water, and soon these openings were penetrated by brass tubes that shot powerful jets of water nearly to the roof. Limelight was shed on the fountains, and then the band played. But this was rather by way of experiment than show.

The whole business remained a mystery until the eye was assisted by the ear. Mr. Frank Matcham, the architect, and representatives of Messrs. Whitford and Co., Messrs. James Stoit and Co., Messrs. Halliday and Greenwood and other firms concerned, were ready with explanations...

The Auditorium and Stage of the London Hippodrome when it first opened in 1900, here set up for a water spectacular - From The Sketch, January 3rd 1900.

Above - The Auditorium and Stage of the London Hippodrome when it first opened in 1900, here set up for a water spectacular - From The Sketch, January 3rd 1900.

The London Hippodrome's Water Tank Hydraulics in 1900 - From The Sketch, January 17th 1900....The large round hole has a water capacity of 100,000 gallons, and is constructed of steel boiler-plates. In the sides and bottom of the tank are glazed holes through which light can be projected into the water.

Right - The London Hippodrome's Water Tank Hydraulics in 1900 - From The Sketch, January 17th 1900.

On either side of the proscenium is an entrance arena, and when it is full of water these can be flooded to a depth sufficiently to allow of the coming and going of boats. When the floor is raised above the water - and hydraulic rams achieve the change in about a minute - the floor of the stage can be lowered to its level, giving a huge continuous area. So that the large round stage is at once a circus with surrounding wall, at another a tank, and at another an extension of the stage. A button is pressed, and behold! there arises around the circle a high grille, or railing, capable of withstanding the strength of Tons. With mighty mechanism yielding all these possibilities, what entertainments we may expect!...

A Painting by George Richmond depicting the Auditorium and Stage of the London Hippodrome when it first opened in 1900, here set up for a water spectacular - Click for an Index to all of George Richmond's Paintings on this site.

Above - A Painting by George Richmond depicting the Auditorium and Stage of the London Hippodrome when it first opened in 1900, here set up for a water spectacular. The painting was inspired by the engraving shown above, colours were suggested by the articles on this page - Click for an Index to all of George Richmond's Paintings on this site.

The auditorium of the London Hippodrome set up for a water spectacular - From a programme for May 2nd 1910 - Click to see a special feature on this programme....The orchestra, of course, is in the grand circle. We venture to say "of course" because it is elsewhere in other theatres. M. Georges Jacobi and his forty performers have, in the locality indicated, a "minstrels' Gallery" to themselves, "with a large shell cover for throwing forward the music." Equally, of course, the roof slides on and off, that not being the habit of roofs. Persons craning their necks last night sighted a square gallery under the moveable dome. "Well," was the amazing answer, "we shall work snowstorms from up there. Then, again it will be a good place for a high dive into the tank."

Right - The auditorium of the London Hippodrome set up for a water spectacular - From a programme for May 2nd 1910 - Click to see a special feature on this programme.

An article from 'The Sphere' of January 1904 shows how Elephants were led up ramps from the Elephant Run below the stage and then slid down a slide into the Hippodrome's vast water tank - Click to see the article enlarged.As the roof is usually the place where foul air escapes from a building, no one will be surprised to learn that, at the London Hippodrome, fresh air enters there. The description of the heating and ventilation arrangements reads like a page out of a Jules Verne. Drawn in from above the roof, the air passes through an apparatus wherein "dust particles, micro-organisms, and foggy vapour" are removed. If necessary, it seems, "the air can also be disinfected." Having passed an enormous chamber between the girders of the roof, it is forced down into the auditorium by means of a powerful fan. So, "washed, filtered, and humidified" the air enters the London Hippodrome, of which, by the way, the commemoration stone was laid last night by Mr. Alfred de Rothschild, to the tune of some millions of cubic feet per hour.

Left - An article from 'The Sphere' of January 1904 shows how Elephants were led up ramps from the Elephant Run below the stage and then slid down a slide into the Hippodrome's vast water tank - Click to see the article enlarged.

But a penalty has had to be paid for all this wonderful elaboration. We received an official information last night that the public opening is "unavoidably postponed till January 6th, at 8 p.m., owing to the mechanical stage and arena requiring protracted rehearsals.' - The Daily News, 30th, September 1899.

The Opening of the London Hippodrome

The opening night programme for the London Hippodrome on the 15th of January 1900, printed on silk - From a programme for the opening of the Talk of the Town in 1958.The London Hippodrome's opening was delayed for several months in the end but the Theatre eventually opened on the 15th of January 1900 with a Circus and Variety Show. The Standard reported on the event in their January 16th 1900 edition saying:- 'A notable addition to Metropolitan places of amusement was made last evening when the London Hippodrome, the magnificent new building in Leicester-square, was opened.

Right -The opening night programme for the London Hippodrome on the 15th of January 1900, printed on silk - From a programme for the opening of the Talk of the Town in 1958.

When the electric lights were turned on, a brilliant scene was presented. The house, lavishly decorated in cream and gold, and brilliantly illuminated, was crowded. While bouquets, tied with coloured streamers, were placed in the boxes, and there was every indication that, both in comfort and the quality of the entertainment, everything that money can command would be provided. At a quarter to seven M. Jacobi entered the side gallery in which the orchestra is seated, and was received with a shout of welcome. The next moment the curtain rose, and on the stage, which is divided from the audience by the arena, appeared the whole strength of the company, with Madame Belle Cole in their midst. Three verses of the National Anthem were sung, Madame Belle Cole taking the second as a solo, and laying special emphasis on the words "O Lord our God arise, scatter her enemies, and make them fall." Loud cheers greeted the close of the hymn, and were renewed when the orchestra played "God Bless the Prince of Wales."

The London Hippodrome's wonderful Frank Matcham auditorium long before the 1958 devastation caused by the Theatre's conversion into the 'Talk of The Town.' London Metropolitan Archives.As soon as the performance in the circus ring opened, it became apparent that every detail of its conduct had been rehearsed, for from the start it ran with the precision of a machine. Gorgeously-attired male and female attendants filled the ring, and James and Amalia Lee entered and performed a clever double wire act, which concluded with an astonishing pas de deux on a single wire. Miss Godlewski showed off a beautiful and highly-trained chestnut horse; and the O'Kabes, a troupe of contortionists, gave a skilful exhibition on the stage, which evoked constant applause, and was full of extraordinary feats. The youngest member of this troupe is quite the most daring little acrobat we remember seeing, and won a storm of cheers from the house.

Left - The London Hippodrome's wonderful Frank Matcham auditorium long before the 1958 devastation caused by the Theatre's conversion into the 'Talk of The Town.' - London Metropolitan Archives.

Another expert juvenile was Little Tony, in his vaulting acts on and off a stout but nimble piebald pony. Lavater Lee and his comic mule is an exceedingly funny turn. The audience shouted with laughter when the brute chased his master about the ring and finally seized him by the collar and ran him out of the place. Then came an extraordinary display by a number of trained dogs of all sizes and breeds, from the boarhound and St. Bernard down to the most diminutive of toy shapes, and some half-dozen cats. The manner in which the animals went through their tricks spoke to the patient teaching that they have received from Mr. Leonidas. After a variety of novelties, in which the four-legged performers seemed to take the keenest delight, a cat descended from the roof in a parachute.

While the orchestra played a patriotic selection, a circular steel cage, some eighteen feet high, was run up by hydraulic action, enclosing the arena. Behind these bars Herr Julius Seeth introduced his collection of forest-bred lions. At first, two came in with a couple of little black ponies and a fine pair of boarhounds. The lions proved as tractable as their companions, walking and trotting round the arena, turning about, and finally jumping over the ponies. Then the full troupe came in, and the arena was filled with nineteen splendid brutes, watching, obeying, and fearing one man. It was wonderful to note the intrepidity with which Herr Seeth moved among them with total disregard for their most vicious snarlings, and took a delight in playing with those which appeared most dangerous. "Menelik," an especially sullen and ill-conditioned beast, was chased and threatened as one would dominate a terrier. It was an unexampled display of nerve and masterful will. Abdullah," a comparatively small animal, is one of the most docile and allows itself to be carried off bodily on the performer's shoulders. The display created a distinct sensation, and Herr Seeth was recalled time after time to receive the enthusiastic congratulations of the entire audience.

Special Feature on this London Hippodrome Programme from 1909The railings sank from view as quickly as they had appeared, and several excellent turns followed, including an amusing imitation of the nightingale's courtship by the Brothers Permana. The matting was then removed, the floor of the arena sank, water rushed in from the sides and from tall fountain jets which reached nearly to the roof, and in very little time the place was a huge tank.

Right - Click for a Special Feature on this London Hippodrome Programme from 1909.

1902 article on the London Hippodrome from The Illustrated London News.The flood of water and the illuminated fountains surprised and delighted the house. At the same time the stage was with equal facility lowered to the level of the tank and everything was ready for the "amphibious burletta" which formed the second part of the programme, entitled "Giddy Ostend, or, the Absent-Minded Millionaire."

Left - Click for this 1902 article on the London Hippodrome from The Illustrated London News.

Mr. H. Chance Newton's little work is a pleasing mixture of graceful dances, bright songs and choruses, and much clever fooling. When it is said that the part of the absent-minded millionaire is played by Little Tich, it may be assumed that this quaint comedian furnishes an abundance of eccentric humour. His first song, a neat parody of Mr. Kipling's poem, made an immediate hit.

Click for a Special Feature on the London Hippodrome - From the Playgoer of 1902He was admirably supported by M. R. Morand, whose study of a cockney tourist, terribly vulgar but admirably patriotic, is very sound work. His song "I'm for Pretoria," stirring words set to an old tune, caught the fancy of the house, and is, in all probability, destined to a wide popularity.

Right - Click for a Special Feature on the London Hippodrome - From the Playgoer of 1902 which includes details of the building, the turns, and the grand Finale 'The Bandits,' with many images of the building and the acts.

In this M. Morand is supported by a chorus dressed as City Imperial Volunteers. Apart from the story, slight enough in itself, running through the piece, opportunity is afforded for Mr. James Finney to give an excellent swimming display. The long programme runs merrily, the complicated mechanism works without a hitch, and great praise is due to Mr. Frank Parker, the stage manager, Mr. Hugo Herzog, the equestrian director, and their cooperators for the care bestowed upon a remarkable entertainment.'

The above text in quotes was first published in The Standard, January 16th 1900.

Later History

The London Hippodrome in 1957 - From The Sphere, September 28th 1957.

Above - The London Hippodrome in 1957 - From The Sphere, September 28th 1957.

Special Feature on this London Hippodrome Programme from 1910The London Hippodrome had opened on the 15th of January 1900 with the above reported Circus and Variety Show, and went on to have a very involved future. In 1909 the Theatre was altered for use as a variety theatre rather than as a circus venue, this saw the stage enlarged and the proscenium advanced to suit the new use.

Right - Click for a Special Feature on this London Hippodrome Programme from 1910.

The Theatre was then used mainly as a variety Theatre until the late 1950s until it was converted in 1958 for use as the well known Cabaret Venue 'The Talk of the Town', this involved substantial changes to the auditorium including a false ceiling above the dress circle level, cutting off the top of the auditorium for the ensuing years.

London Hippodromes Staff Photographs from the early 1900s.Later the Theatre was converted again, this time into a popular Nightclub under the management of Peter Stringfellow, this would be followed by other Nightclub uses, and various alterations until its eventual conversion into a Casino in 2004.

Left - Click to see some of the London Hippodromes Staff Photographs from the early 1900s.

Details of all these changes can be seen below along with many historical images of the building over the ensuing years. There are also a great many other articles and features about the London Hippodrome on this site in various different places, a full index to them all can be found here.

The Cranbourne Street elevation of the London Hippodrome in a photograph taken during the Second World War - Courtesy Chris Woodward.

Above - The Cranbourne Street elevation of the London Hippodrome in a photograph taken during the Second World War - Courtesy Chris Woodward. Signage on the Theatre reads 'Moss Empires Ltd. Variety Theatres Throughout The United Kingdom'. The entrance to Cranbourne Mansions can be seen to the right. Also See a Present day image below.

The Cranbourne Street elevation of the former London Hippodrome, now the Hippodrome Casino, in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell.

Above - The Cranbourne Street elevation of the former London Hippodrome, now the Hippodrome Casino, in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell.

A Notice from the 'Music hall & Theatre Review' 1911 for the Arthur Lloyd Trio performing at the London Hippodrome.

Above - A Notice from the 'Music hall & Theatre Review' 1911 for the Arthur Lloyd Trio performing at the London Hippodrome.

A Scene from one of Albert de Courville's famous Hippodrome revues, this one entitled 'Hullo Tango' was produced at the London Hippodrome in 1913 - From The Stage Yearbook of 1914.

Above - A Scene from one of Albert de Courville's famous Hippodrome revues, this one entitled 'Hullo Tango' was produced at the London Hippodrome in 1913 - From The Stage Yearbook of 1914.

A Scene from 'The Escalade' at the London Hippodrome - From The Stage Yearbook of 1914.

Above - A Scene from 'The Escalade' at the London Hippodrome - From The Stage Yearbook of 1914.

A gilded George I mirror, formerly in the Hippodrome Theatre - Courtesy Adam Pollock - Click for details and enlargements.

Above - A gilded George I mirror, formerly in the Hippodrome Theatre, London, perhaps from the star dressing room, has recently come to light via the estate of the widow of Albert Warner, former props master at the Hippodrome. It is covered with incised signatures of (mainly) theatre luminaries, some with dates from 1926 to 1936 after their names - Courtesy Adam Pollock - Click for details and enlargements.

The auditorium of the London Hippodrome in 1949 - From the Moss Empires Jubilee Brochure of 1949

Above - The auditorium of the London Hippodrome in 1949 - From the Moss Empires Jubilee Brochure of 1949

On the corner of Leicester Court and Lisle Street Pamela Green and the Hurricanes show off their acrobatic act. They were all performing in Bernard Delfont's Folies Bergère 'Paris to Piccadilly' at the London Hippodrome in 1952 - Photo Courtesy Yak of Koreropress.com.

Above - On the corner of Leicester Court and Lisle Street Pamela Green and the Hurricanes show off their acrobatic act. They were all performing in Bernard Delfont's Folies Bergère 'Paris to Piccadilly' at the London Hippodrome in 1952 - Photo Courtesy Yak of Koreropress.com. A Bill for Frankie Lane at the London Palladium can also be seen in the photograph.

The London Hippodrome featuring Charlie Gracie in a 1950s Variety Season - - Courtesy Gerry Atkins

Above - The London Hippodrome featuring Charlie Gracie in a 1957 Variety Season - Courtesy Gerry Atkins - This was the final season for the Theatre in this guise before its conversion to the Talk of the Town (See Below).

The Talk of the Town Period

See also - Neil Sean's 'Memories of the Talk of the Town'

The Talk of The Town at the London Hippodrome in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins

Above - The Talk of The Town at the London Hippodrome in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins

Special Feature on The Theatre's Conversion to the 'Talk of the Town'The London Hippodrome closed as a variety theatre in 1957 and was then radically altered for use as a cabaret venue, this involved putting in a substantial false ceiling above the dress circle level, cutting off the higher parts of the auditorium, and turning the remaining levels below it into a cabaret venue and restaurant. None of the original Matcham splendour survived the conversion below the false ceiling, but above it the auditorium would remain unchanged and unseen and slowly falling into disrepair for decades afterwards

After all the major alterations had been completed the building reopened as the now well known cabaret venue 'The Talk of the Town' on the 11th of September 1958 with Eartha Kitt headlining, and would go on to become one of London's most celebrated cabaret venues for years with all the biggest stars performing on its stage.

However, even this would end eventually, when in 1982 it was closed, due, it was said at the time, to significant rent increases by the owners of the building.

There is a great deal more information on the Talk of Town period at the London Hippodrome on this site here, and there are some wonderful pictures of the London Hippodrome during its Talk of the Town period here.

A postcard for the Talk of the Town

Above - A postcard for the Talk of the Town - Back of card reads: THE TALK OF THE TOWN - Hippodrome Corner, London W.C.2. Tel. REGent 5051 - THE WORLD'S MOST EXCITING THEATRE RESTAURANT - presenting nightly dinner-dancing to two top bands - A spectacular 10 o'clock revue and international' star cabaret at 11.30 p.m.

The Talk Of The Town, from a brochure in 1968

Above - The Talk Of The Town, from a brochure in 1968.

Stringfellow's Nightclub and Subsequent Changes

After the closure of the Talk of the Town at the Hippodrome in 1982, a new use for the building was soon found when in 1983 the Theatre was altered for Nightclub use by Peter Stringfellow. This was a popular and well known period for the building regularly seeing large crowds of people enjoying a night out, eating, drinking, and dancing into the early hours. I am told that the lighting rig for the Nightclub was a bespoke design by Fisher Park associates who also designed lighting rigs for U2 and Pink Floyd.

Special Feature on The hidden Theatre lurking above the present Night ClubEuropean Leisure later bought the building and continued to run it as a Nightclub where it won several awards. However, having later been sold to Luminar its success as a Nightclub began to wain and it was eventually closed.

Right - Click for a Special Feature on The hidden Theatre lurking above the Night Club in 2003.

In 2004 however, the Theatre was given a new lease of life when it was altered for use as a burlesque nightclub called 'Cirque'. This saw the decoration being darkened with reds and golds and a more intimate feel given to the venue. Very successful at first, and winning the Beda award for best UK Nightclub in 2004, the venue soon got into trouble and lost its licence to sell alcohol the following year, and was eventually closed completely later in 2005.

A short period as an events space with a rename back to the London Hippodrome, run by Charmaine Haig, saw an end to its Nightclub use and eventual alteration to the Circus Cabaret venue 'La Clique' in 2008, see below.

La Clique at the London Hippodrome

The London Hippodrome shrouded in scaffolding during renovation work to the exterior of the building in September 2008, and advertising 'La Clique.' Photo M.L.The London Hippodrome in 2009, during the run of 'La Clique.' Photo M.L.After years of Nightclub use and little in the way of live entertainment, in 2008 the London Hippodrome became host to the international burlesque cabaret 'La Clique' which opened at the Theatre on the 10th of October 2008 and was phenomenally successful.

Right - The London Hippodrome in 2009, during the run of 'La Clique.' Photo M.L. And The London Hippodrome shrouded in scaffolding during renovation work to the exterior of the building in September 2008, and advertising 'La Clique.' Photo M.L.

The production took the Theatre back to its roots as a Circus venue and proved that the building was still perfectly viable as one of London's top Theatrical attractions. However, in March 2009 a successful application for the granting of a gaming license at the London Hippodrome meant that the production would have to close so that the building could be converted into a Casino. 'La Clique' closed on the 27th of June 2009 and it would be the last time the London Hippodrome was used primarily as a theatrical space.

The rear of the London Hippodrome during the run of 'La Clique' which was to be the last theatrical production at the Theatre before its conversion into a casino.

Above - The rear of the London Hippodrome during the run of 'La Clique' which was to be the last theatrical production at the Theatre before its conversion into a casino.

The Hippodrome Casino

The London Hippodrome in its new guise as the Hippodrome Casino in its opening week, July 2012 - Photo M.L.

Above - The London Hippodrome in its new guise as the Hippodrome Casino in its opening week, July 2012

Detail of some of the refurbished plasterwork at the Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell.In the Autumn of 2009 work began on turning the building into a Casino. The first stage was the removing of the earlier 'Talk of the Town' false ceiling and all the subsequent works that Peter Stringfellow and others had added to the building over the years. The refurbishment, which included restoration of the exterior and major internal restoration, took 3 years and cost £40 million and was completed for its reopening in July 2012 by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who unveiled a plaque and said 'This huge project has not only restored and retained the glorious fabric of this historic building but also created hundreds of new jobs for the capital and provided a major boost for local business.' - Boris Johnson, July 2012.

Right - Detail of some of the refurbished plasterwork at the Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell.

Although it was a shame not to see this wonderful Frank Matcham Theatre back in full time theatrical use it was gratifying to see the building had been so lovingly refurbished and that its future was finally secure.

Roy Hudd unveils a plaque dedicated to Frank Matcham at the former London Hippodrome on November the 22nd 2014 - Courtesy Adam Harrison.Although the Theatre was now in use as a Casino it did still have a theatrical life, as a small 180 seat cabaret space was installed in the first circle level of the former stage house at the time of the conversion. The well known singer and actor, Tony Christie, had the honour of being the first performer on the Hippodrome's new stage on the 9th of July 2012, and a plethora of well known artistes were booked to entertain the Hippodrome's punters for the following months.

On Saturday the 22nd of November 2014 the Frank Matcham Society met at the Hippodrome Casino for a lunch to celebrate the 160th anniversary of Frank Matcham's birth. Roy Hudd unveiled a plaque on the front of the former Theatre to celebrate Matcham's design of the London Hippodrome some 114 years earlier.

Left - Roy Hudd unveils a plaque dedicated to Frank Matcham at the former London Hippodrome on November the 22nd 2014 - Courtesy Adam Harrison.

Later, due to the success of the events staged in the Hippodrome's cabaret venue, which was known as the 'Matcham Room Cabaret Theatre', named after the building's original architect, it would later be enlarged, and a full scale production of 'Magic Mike Live' began a year long run at the Theatre, sadly cut short by the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 which saw the closure of the building along with Theatres all over the Country for many months.

You may like to visit the Hippodrome Casino's own website here.

Some Photographs of the newly opened Hippodrome Casino in 2012

The proscenium and stage of the Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The proscenium and stage of the Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell. An acoustic wall can be seen stretched across the stage which is made up of panels that can be folded up into the wing space stage right.

The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

The former Minstrels Gallery at Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The former Minstrels Gallery at Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

Above - The Hippodrome Casino in July 2012 - Courtesy Terry Powell

You may also like to see Ian Grundy's photographs of the Hippodrome on his Flickr set here.

If you would like to see the Theatre before its refurbishment click here

The London Hippodrome during Refurbishment

The auditorium and stage of the London Hippodrome are finally revealed after works to remove the 1958 Talk of the Town false ceiling and subsequent alterations are completed in November 2009 - Photo M.L. November 2009

Above - The auditorium and stage of the London Hippodrome are finally revealed after works to remove the 1958 Talk of the Town false ceiling and subsequent alterations are completed in November 2009 - Photo M.L.

The auditorium of the London Hippodrome is finally revealed after works to remove the 1958 Talk of the Town false ceiling and subsequent alterations are completed in November 2009 - Photo M.L. November 2009

Above - The auditorium of the London Hippodrome is finally revealed after works to remove the 1958 Talk of the Town false ceiling and subsequent alterations are completed in November 2009 - Photo M.L.

If you are interested in reading more on the history of the London Hippodrome an index to all the pages about the Theatre on this site can be found here. There is also an Index to other Theatres and Cinemas in London's Leicester Square here.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

Other Pages that may be of Interest