The History of The Hippodrome
The opening of the Casino marked a new beginning for the Hippodrome.
Opened in 1900 by the renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham as a circus variety theatre, the Hippodrome featured a 100,000 gallon tank in which polar bears and sea lions would swim.
Works in 1909 enlarged the stage and advanced the proscenium to suit the theatre for variety rather than circus use and, from 1912, revue-style performances. Harry Houdini performed there and the venue staged the country’s first ever performance of Swan Lake.
In the 1950s the Hippodrome was transformed into the legendary Talk of the Town, and featured a host of major stars from throughout the world including Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr, The Jackson 5 and Tom Jones.
After various different reincarnations, including a nightclub under the management of Peter Stringfellow, in 2008 the venue returned to its roots as a circus venue for burlesque cabaret La Clique, which closed in June 2009.