Wrexham, LL13 8AD
Opened: as a cinema (sound) 9th September 1929
Closed: November 1959
Re-opened: 13th June 1961
Closed: March 1998.
Operated & managed by the late Barry Flanagan.
Architects: Davies & Sons (Chester)
The 950 seater Hippodrome on Henblas Street had a long and varied history. Opening on Thursday 1st July 1909 it had been designed by the Chester architects Davies & Sons. Built on the site of The Public Hall, it was initially named the New Opera House & Public Hall. It had a deeply curved single balcony, typical of theatres of that time, supported by pillars which obstructed the patron’s clear view who were unfortunate enough to be seated behind them in both the circle & stalls.
The Baroque type features on the front of the circle, and the framed panels around the auditorium walls gave some decorative relief, together with the recessed lantern ceiling. The outside frontage was of plain brick. Two years later the theatre was re-named the Hippodrome.
It became the Hippodrome Cinema on 9th September 1929, showing the sound feature “The Donovan Affair”. Films continued until it closed thirty years later in November 1959. A local independent operator, Barry Flanagan and his family, decided to take a chance on the building, re-opening it with the same name on Tuesday 13th June 1961, showing the first film-“All Hands On Deck”. The occasional pop concert was staged. It became a twin cinema in 1988, opening with “Willow” & “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in a separate screen.
With the opening of the Odeon multiplex cinema, it was hit badly with most of its trade lost, together with problems securing prints. When it couldn’t obtain a first run copy of “Titanic”, it was clear that the Hippodrome too was sinking, and closure came in March 1998.
The building stood abandoned, until a fire reduced its’s sorry state even further.
It was demolished in the spring of 2008.