9 December 2010
Comments Off on Hippodrome

The original structure know as the Empire opened on the 4th July 1895 and offered a mixture of dancing and variety. It claimed that 6000 people could watch or to take part in the entertainment at any one time.  In 1897 the Empire changed ownership and concentrated on variety, recruiting talent from London. At the time it was the only music hall in Blackpool. Three years later the Empire changed its name to the Hippodrome and became a circus. It is said to have housed Louis Tussauds Waxworks in the basement at some time.

Harry Houdini visited the Hippodrome on June 14th 1905.

The old Hippodrome was sold in 1910 to cinema interests and subsequently became one of Blackpool’s leading theatres.



Hippodrome, Church Street.

Closed on the 28th October 1961 and altered to become the New ABC Theatre, which opened on 31st May 1963.

From the 9th September, which was the last night of the Summer Show, ‘Rose Marie’, until its closure, a few films were shown, with the last films being, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” along with the “B” film “The Third Alibi”.

The information board outside stated that, “This theatre closes to the public after the evening performance tonight for major alterations and renovations.” The Hippodrome closed on 28th October 1961.


Programme for the Hippodrome & Princess theatres – 1924


King Revel – 1938 – Programme

Sandy Powell, Douglas Wakefield, Norman Evans, Nat Gonella



King Revel – 1938 – Brochure

Norman Evans, Douglas Wakefield, Sandy Powell and Gloria Gilbert



Coconut Grove – 1948

Josef Locke, Jimmy Jewel, Ben Warriss, The Five Smith Brothers, Gloria King, Evie and Joe Slack, Ken Whitmer



Coconut Grove – 1949

Jewel and Warriss, Josef Locke, Julie Andrews, Wally Boag and Jean Carson.

Julie Andrews (born Julia Wells) first appeared in the town in July 1949, at the Hippodrome, in the show “Coconut Grove – entertainment in the modern manner”. Josef Locke topped the bill, with Jean Carson, Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss, and Wally Boag (the balloon-artist from “Starlight Roof”). Young Julie was billed as “the Melody of Youth”.



Fiesta at the Coconut Grove – 1950 – Brochure

Jewel and Warriss, Robert Wilson, Elsa and Waldo, Bob Bromley and Henry Lytton



Fiesta at the Coconut Grove – 1950 – Programme



Moulin Rouge – 1951 – Brochure



Moulin Rogue – 1951 – Programme

Vic Oliver and Josef Locke



Life with the Lyons – 1952 – Brochure



Life with the Lyons – 1952 – Programme

Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon and Diana Dors



Latin Quarter – 1953 – Brochure

Max Bygraves, Winifred Attwell, Hylda Baker

Gazette article about 1953 at the Hippodrome



Latin Quarter – Luxury Musical – 1953 – Programme

Hylda Baker, Winifred Atwell, Patrick O’Hagan and Max Bygraves


Turned out Nice Again – 1954 – Brochure

George Formby, Albert and Les Ward, Jimmy James, Joan Hind, Les Trio Dorre, Margo Henderson and Sam Kemp.


Turned out Nice Again – 1954 – Programme

George Formby, Albert and Les Ward, Jimmy James, Joan Hind, Les Trio Dorre, Margo Henderson and Sam Kemp.



The Dickie Valentine Show – 1955

Dickie Valentine, Bonar Colleano, Babs Adams, Bill Adams, Anna Alexis



This’ll Make You Laugh – 1956

Tessie O’Shea, Arthur Worsley, Sabrina and Nat Jackley


Rocking with Laughter – 1957

Ken Dodd, Stan Stennett and Jill Day


Light Up the Town – 1958

Jack Storey, Winifred Atwell, Michael Holliday, The Nitwits, The Kaye Sisters, The Skylons and Baker and Douglas.



The Army Game – 1959

Ted Lune, Alfie Bass, Norman Rossington, Bill Fraser, Michael Medwin, Rosemary Squires, Fredianis, Albert and Les Ward, Saveen, Kenneth Wynne and Michael Stainton



Seeing Stars – 1960

Adam Faith, Lana Sisters, Emile Ford, The Checkmates, The John Barry Seven




Rose Marie – 1961 – Final Summer Season for the Hippodrome

 David Whitfield

The last night of this show was on 9th September 1961


There was no Summer Season for programme 1962, the theatre was altered prior to it re-opening as the New ABC Theatre in 1963.