Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Hippodrome and TDC offices.

The latter part of Victorian Margate is often looked upon as a golden age in tourism and prestige for the Town. However, reading through many archives it is so clear there were as many challenges faced then for the town as there is today. There was also the familiar pattern of bankruptcies, out dated venues, derelict sites and the "Fire". One fine example is the corner of Cecil Square where the Library and TDC offices now stand . There once stood on the site the18th Century Assembly Rooms , unfortunately in 1882 these outdated premises were burnt to the ground in the famous "Great Fire of Margate" at Cecil Square (the print is on the wall Margate Museum by the stairwell). This corner of Cecil Square remained derelict for 15 years until 1897 when it was purchased by Morrell and Mouillot who owned a chain of Theatres. They built and opened the New Grand Theatre in 1898 which also led to the re planning of that part of Cecil Square. In 1905 the Theatre was bought by the South of England Hippodrome Company and renamed the "Hippodrome". From that period up until the first world war the theatre enjoyed considerable success. Then in 1921 the Theatre was converted into a "Super" Cinema with an orchestra playing for the silent films. In 1934 the Regal Cinema opened next door making it difficult for the Hippodrome to compete. Throughout the Second World War the Hippodrome remained closed, and after the second world war the Hippodrome just could not remain viable and was closed and put up for sale in October 1958. For 8 years it was a closed dilapidated building until it was bought by Margate Corporation in 1967 for £19,000 at an Auction. Following negotiations lasting many years the building was demolished in 1967 followed by the opening of the Library and Thanet District Council offices in 1974.


Anonymous said...

I remember the Hippodrome well and saw various acts there. Once was a play with Greta Gynt who was an actress and also I saw a Hypnotism act which would be banned today.
It was a lovely theatre.

Vivienne Wimhurst said...

I remember the Hippodrome very well. I was brought up in Margate and my father was a local photographer. Honor Blackman appeared at the Hippodrome, although I can't put a date to this, possibly in the early 1950's.
I remember seeing a variety show there called Seaside Rhapsody. I remember there was a bar running along the front of the theatre too.
I agree, it was a lovely theatre.