The Queen's Park Hippodrome
Theatre, Turkey Lane, Harpurhey, Manchester
Above - The Queen's Park Hippodrome, Manchester from a programme for 'Pin Up Parade' at the Theatre in October 1944 - Courtesy Roy Cross.
The Queen's Park Hippodrome was situated on Turkey Lane, Manchester and opened on the 18th of April 1904. The Theatre was designed by J. J. Alley who also designed several other Theatres in Manchester, including the Metropole, the Royal Osborne, the Hulme Hippodrome and the Playhouse, along with the Pavilion Theatre in Liverpool, and several others in the Broadhead Circuit.
Right - A Poster for a Variety show at the Queen's Park Hippodrome, Manchester for November the 29th 1920 - Courtesy Stephen Wischhusen.
A visitor to the site, Roy Cross, says:- 'The Queens Park
Hippodrome was a very popular hall in its time, though it was not a
beautiful building. This is because William
Broadhead who built it was a shrewd business man and had it designed
so that it could quickly be turned into a factory if it didn't pay.
Of course it did pay, as did all his other halls, because he gave good
clean shows at reasonable prices that all the family could enjoy every
week. Opening on the 18th April 1904
the Queens Park was the 6th Broadhead built theatre in the Manchester
suburbs and this was preceded in March of that year by the Salford
Royal Hippodrome.' - Roy Cross.
The Queen's Park Hippodrome began life as a variety Theatre but like so many others of this period around the Country it only had a short life in this guise, eventually resorting to revues and girly shows in its later years.
A message to the Theatre's audience on the back of a flyer for a show entitled 'Scandals of 19 Naughty 8' in 1948 tries to explain this policy saying: - 'Ladies and Gentlemen, recently there has been a lot of controversy over two British films, one of which has been banned in certain districts. The action may be right or it may be wrong... we do not know, BUT we do ask you all to see Scandals of 19-Naughty Eight at your local Theatre NEXT WEEK...
Left - A flyer for 'Scandals of 19 Naughty 8' at the Queen's Park Hippodrome in August 1948 - Courtesy Roy Cross.
...At many Theatres, Revues have to stand persecution by the so called Puritanical League, who have nothing better to do than unjustly criticise the Entertainments presented therein. We know the title "Scandals Of 19 Naught Eight" flavours something scandalous and perhaps a little naughty, so see this show and judge for yourselves, as we are sure you will enjoy it, being a really good evening's entertainment, extremely colourful and very funny. The title and the book have been passed by the Lord Chamberlain. Surely this should be enough. Please do not misunderstand our motive. Like yourselves, we are in favour of maintaining the theatre as a clean and proper place where the family can enjoy a pleasant evening's entertainment. Who shall be the judges:- The Lord Chamberlain, Mrs. Grundy, The Public, YOU?' - From a flyer for the Queen's Park Hippodrome in August 1948.
The Queen's Park Hippodrome closed a few years later in 1952 and was demolished in the 1960s.
Donald Auty writes:- 'Running pantomimes
in the fifties was a great deal different economically than it is today.
A typical touring show
going around number three theatres for five weeks at such dates as the
Palace Attercliffe, Theatre
Royal Bilston, and Queen's Park Hippodrome Manchester would cost around
£300 per week. There would be no name to top the bill but an established
comic from the touring revue circuit at a salary of not more than £30
a week, a supporting cast averaging £12 to £15 per week,
a troupe of eight dancers on five pounds a week and a musical director
on around £15 a week. - Pantomime Economics
of fifty years ago by Donald Auty
If you have any more information about this Theatre of have programmes or images you are willing to share please Contact me.
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