Home Home

 
Index...

Search this site:
Arts School, Ford Street
Bishop Street Post Office
Bishop Street, looking north
Bishop Street, looking south
Blue Coat School & ruins
Broadgate from Hertford Street
Broadgate from Holy Trinity Church
Burges from Bishop Street
Burges from Cross Cheaping
Burton's in Blitzed Broadgate
Butcher Row, Great
Butcher Row, Little
Cheylesmore Manor House
Coat of Arms Bridge
Cook Street gate
Council House
Cox Street
Far Gosford Street
Fire Station, Hales Street
Fleet Street
Ford's Hospital
Golden Cross & Pepper Lane
Greyfriars Lane
Guildhall & 22 Bayley Lane
Hales Street
Hales Street to Corporation Street
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Hertford Street
Hertford Street from Broadgate
High Street aerial view
High Street from Broadgate
High Street from Earl Street
Hill Street, Bablake & Bond's
Hippodrome, New
Hippodrome, Old
Humber Motor Works
Ironmonger Row
Jordan Well & Earl Street
Jordan Well & Gosford Street
Kenilworth Road
Leamington Road
Much Park Street
Naul's Mill Park
Old Rope Walk
Opera House, Hales Street
Palace Yard
Pool Meadow
Precinct & Old Coventry aerial view
Precinct, upper
Precinct, west view
Priory Row
Priory Street, lower end
Priory Street, upper end
Queen Victoria Road flood of 1900
Railway Station - the platform
Railway Station, Eaton Road
Smithford Way
Spon End arches
Spon Street flood of 1900
St. John's Church, Fleet Street
St. Michael's Avenue
St. Michael's ruins
St. Michael's spire from Pepper Lane
Stoke Green & Pool
Swanswell Gate
Swanswell Pool
Swimming Baths, Priory Street
The Grove
Trinity Church
Trinity Lane & the Free Library
Trinity Lane from Priory Row
Trinity Street & Hales Street
Trinity Street aerial view
Trinity Street from Broadgate
War Memorial Park
Warwick Road
Warwick Row, Hertford St & Warwick Lane
Well Street from Hales Street
West Orchard
Wheatley Street Schools
 

Hippodrome, New

Camera No. 61

Although by the time this photograph was taken in the late 1980s the theatre had been converted to a bingo hall, the attractiveness of the 'Art Deco' design was still plainly evident - in fact it looks here as good as it ever had done in its glory days as the "Showplace of the Midlands".

Opening on Monday 1st November 1937 as the New Hippodrome, with a week-long show featuring Harry Roy and his Band, the place was subsequently renamed Coventry Theatre on the 14th March 1955, as the Rogers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific began a two-week stint following its run at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The reason for the change in name was an effort by Mr. S. H. Newsome to distinguish it from the many other "Hippodromes" around the country.

In September 1979 another name-change gave us The Apollo when the theatre was saved from closure by Apollo Leisure (UK) Limited, who spent £50,000 sprucing the old place up ready for the Duchess of Kent to attend a charity show on the 16th October. Two years earlier Lord Delfont and the E.M.I. Corporation had been on the verge of turning the theatre into a bingo hall, but had backed down in the face of much protest. The theatre had survived for now.... but for less than six more years.

The decline in attendance had been noticed for some time, though, and the downturn was reported by local newspapers in 1976. It was not, however, a Coventry phenomenon, but a national trend, with traditional variety shows and popular plays dropping out of fashion. It also coincided with the building of the N.E.C. just up the A45, which opened in February of that year. Popular bands who could command an audience there of 15,000 in one sitting would have had to perform to over seven full houses at Coventry Theatre for the same pay-out, so it was no surprise that most would choose not to play here.

if you wish to see the images separately.

Since the turn of the new millennium, the appropriately named place that has replaced the theatre has changed forever the whole look of this end of Hales Street. A quick click on the picture above will reveal the post-2002 scene.

Despite the obvious lament over the removal of a well loved Coventry landmark, hopefully Coventry's Transport Museum, which now largely covers the site, will not be given the blame for its demise. The museum is something that we in Coventry can still be extremely proud of, and it contains the largest collection of British road transport anywhere in the world, including two of the fastest cars on earth - ever! (Thrust 2 and Thrust SSC.) Also, a pleasantly surprising addition to the museum is the "Blitz Experience", where you can imagine yourself back in the Second World War.

Coincidentally, on a car theme, the other thing that strikes me on looking at the 80s photo, is that virtually all the cars are Fords! Back to the theatre, though; anyone interested in viewing an archive of the shows performed there might like to see this list. Also of interest might be A short history of Coventry's Theatres and Cinemas, by Bill Birch.


 
Previous page:
Hill Street, Bablake & Bond's
This page:
Hippodrome, New
Next page:
Hippodrome, Old
 
 
Associated pages....
Home | How this site began | Bibliography | About me | My music | Admin | Discussion Forum | Steve's website | Historic Stoke, Coventry | Orland family website
Top of the page
2,752,088

Website by Rob Orland © 2022