A local community Crowdfunder has been launched in an attempt to raise vital funds to save the Hulme Hippodrome from future redevelopment.
The Hulme Hippodrome first opened its doors in the Manchester suburb on 7th October 1901.
Originally known as the Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall, the Grade II listed building was designed by architect J.J. Alley, built alongside the Hulme Playhouse – with both venues being connected by an arcade – and formed part of the theatrical empire of W. H. Broadhead, with the company’s headquarters also at the centre.
The theatre itself initially staged dramatic productions, while the Hulme Playhouse presenting several variety performances.
But in 1905, the names and functions of the two adjacent theatres were interchanged, meaning that the current Hulme Hippodrome became the Grand Junction, and the variety performances were then transferred to the new Hippodrome.
The Hulme Hippodrome was last used as a theatre in the 1960s, and from the mid-1970s until its eventual closure in 1988, it was used as a bingo hall.
Since then though, most of the building has remained empty and derelict.
Coming as a devastating blow to the local community and all those who had spent happy times there over the years, it was thus first placed on Manchester City Council’s Buildings At Risk Register, then was added to the Theatre Trust’s newly-created Theatres At Risk Register in 2006, and in September 2019, was named on the Victorian Society’s list of the top ten most endangered buildings in England and Wales.
The latest “kick in the stomach” arrived today though, as the iconic venue was listed at online auction for a guide price of £950,000+, with residential redevelopment of the site long being rumoured, but campaign group, Save The Hulme Hippodrome, has plans to stop this.
The group is fighting to return the building to use by the people of Hulme.
The campaign group is made up of local residents and supporters who want to see change.
They have a long-term vision for Hulme Hippodrome, and are keen to use the building for a Museum of Manchester Musical Art, a theatre production school, a bike hub, library and bakery, which could all provide opportunities for the people of Hulme to play a part in the next stage of the theatre’s story.
Playing a driving force in the campaign group is Oli Wilson – son of Factory Records founder Tony Wilson – who runs PeaceMeal, a social enterprise bakery and employment academy in the NIAMOS Centre in the co-joined Hulme Playhouse.
“It was just a huge shock to find out it had been put to auction and it only gave us [just over two] weeks to get a response and campaign together,” Oli told The Manc.
“The Hippodrome has played an important role in Manchester’s arts and communities for over 100 years.
“It could, and should, go on for another 100 years [so] to have this legacy and future potential destroyed, so that a few may turn a profit, would be a gargantuan hit for both people and the arts in Manchester.”
Oli also revealed that, while stable for now, the Playhouse will be put at risk if the Hippodrome continues to deteriorate, but the group’s long-term plan would see the two theatres run as complementary community hubs, and ultimately save this local gem before it’s lost forever.
And then, right when it was needed most, good luck struck for the campaign group as they successfully managed to get the Hippodrome site withdrawn from auction just as it was due to go to sale at midday today.
With over £3,400 already raised, they are aiming to hit £10,000 to pay for initial legal and survey costs, which would be vital first steps in acquiring the building and starting planning for its future as a venue for the community.
Oli continued: “We’re raising a pot of money to get a proper survey done and a schedule of works for the full renovation, as well as bring a solid business plan together about the future value of the building and how it can run as a business which is an asset to the community.
“The building is structurally fine [but] it just needs some love and TLC.
“We’re also working with Manchester City Council to have it listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, which would hopefully protect it’s future too”.
The campaign has already started to receive support from several local trusts and initiatives, with Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser from Theatres Trust – the national charity that campaigns to protect theatres – saying: “Hulme Hippodrome, which is on our Theatres at Risk list, is in grave danger of being damaged beyond repair and it could have been bought by speculative developer, who does not appreciate what a gem this building is.”
And it’s clear to see how much it all means to Mancunians too.
Paul Baker – spokesperson for the Save The Hulme Hippodrome Campaign – added: “Without urgent action, we are in serious danger of losing the building, along with the cultural memories it holds.
“We urge the people the wider Manchester area to come together and help save this wonderful building.”
You can find more information about the future of the Hulme Hippodrome, as well as join in and contribute to the last chance fight to transform this iconic venue via the official Crowdfunder here.
All the latest updates can also be found on the Friends of Hulme Hippodrome group here.
Taylor Swift and The 1975 frontman Matty Healy are reportedly ‘no longer romantically involved’
Taylor Swift and Matty Healy are apparently “no longer romantically involved” with each other, according to reports.
Although, as fans will tell you, it was debatable if they ever even were to begin with.
The American global pop megastar and The 1975 frontman have each been in a number of high-profile relationships throughout their musical careers, but no relationship seems to have attracted the pair more media attention than when they were romantically linked with each other.
Swift and Healy have been pictured together multiple times in recent months, sending their millions of fans into frenzy.
But reports have emerged today in US outlet People, as well as in TMZ and from a number of other prominent sources, that they are “no longer romantically involved” with each other, and that the relationship was only ever “casual” anyway.
“She had fun with him, but it was always casual. They are no longer romantically involved,” the source told People.
Social media had been awash with fans speculating a relationship between the pair after Swift called it quits with long-term boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, back in April.
The 33-year-old multi GRAMMY and BRIT Award-winning singer-songwriter is currently performing in major cites right across the US as part of her sold-out ‘Eras Tour’, while the hugely-successful Manchester band have just finished their own massive UK tour, and are now doing the rounds on the summer festival circuit.
As well as the pair being seen and pictured on several occasions leaving venues together, and supposedly – and pretty cryptically – sending messages to each other on stage via songs, Healy also gave a surprise performance at Swift’s show in Nashville last month, where he appeared on stage alongside musician and mutual friend Phoebe Bridgers, who was supporting Swift.
Although, as we’ve obviously established, no relationship was ever confirmed between the pair.
Swift is to continue on with the sold-out US leg of her ‘Eras Tour’ – which broke the record for most concert tickets ever sold in a single day – until 9 August, before heading down for several shows in Mexico and South America.
She has also just announced that the next re-recording in her ‘Taylor’s Version’ catalogue will be her 2010 album, Speak Now – which is set for release on 7 July.
The 1975, on the other hand, are set to make a highly-anticipated homecoming return as headliners of Manchester’s Parklife Festival this weekend.
Featured Image – CBC | Variety
Lewis Capaldi cancels gigs to ‘rest and recover’ with loved ones after ‘struggling’
Lewis Capaldi has said in an emotional statement that he will be cancelling all of his upcoming commitments until his Glastonbury appearance.
The Scottish singer-songwriter said that he had been ‘struggling’ with the whirlwind promo tour for his newest album, Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent.
He said that the last few months had been ‘full on both mentally and physically’ and he needed to take some time to rest and recover at home in Glasgow with his friends and family.
The apologetic message shared on social media apologised to fans who had already spent money on hotels and travel for the affected shows, which included an intimate gig in Leeds tonight, The Hoot reports.
Lewis, who is almost as well-known for his brilliant sense of humour as for his chart-topping music, announced that he wanted to be at his best for Glastonbury.
Taking to Instagram, Lewis wrote: “Hi everyone, hope you’re well. This is a really difficult message, and one that hurts me a lot to have to type, but I’m really sorry to say that I’m going to have to cancel all commitments from now until I play Glastonbury on June 24th.
“It’s been such an incredible time leading into this new album, and seeing all of the support from everyone has been beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. That said, the last few months have been full on both mentally and physically, I haven’t been home properly since Christmas and at the moment I’m struggling to get to grips with it all.
“I need to take a moment to rest and recover, to be at my best and ready for Glastonbury and all of the other incredible shows coming up so that I’m able to continue doing what I love for a long time to come. I need to take these three weeks to be Lewis from Glasgow for a bit, spend some time with my family and friends and do normal life things that are an important part of me feeling better. I hope everyone understands.
“I know many of you will have spent money on travel or hotels, which I appreciate more than ever with how difficult things are economically at the moment, so I’m extremely sorry for the impact this will have. The fact you’re willing to come out and spend your time, money and love on these shows is beyond comprehension and I feel incredibly lucky.
“I’m getting all the help and support I need from the incredible people around me who I’m so grateful for.
“I take none of this for granted and can’t wait to be back doing it again. All my love Lewis x”