It was an iconic landmark which once welcomed stars including Bing Crosby to its Black Country stage. But the former Dudley Hippodrome has been deserted for more than a decade.
Now, new footage shot from inside the dilapidated building has revealed the shocking state it has been left in. The eerie video posted on group TheSecretVault’s YouTube account gives a rare glimpse into the poor state of the site.
The crumbling Art Deco theatre has not staged a live performance since 1974 and was used as a Gala Bingo before shutting in 2009. Overturned tables and chairs fill the theatre, while wires dangle from the damaged ceiling.
Graffitti can be seen etched across the walls including “save our theatre”, while toilets have been smashed to pieces. Paint and plaster is peeling off almost all the walls and the theatre is unsurprisingly covered in cobwebs.
Phones and paperwork have been ditched on the ground, while staff charts can still be seen on a wall in the manager’s office. Shattered glass lines the floors throughout the building and pigeons have even nestled in what was one of the toilet blocks.
Matthew Williams, who shot the footage, said some parts of the rotting flooring felt ‘floppy and spongy’. The theatre is set to be demolished after Dudley council was given £25m by the government to build a university centre on the site.
Campaigners and the Theatres Trust wanted to keep the 1930s building and fought development plans. They had asked the government to review the decision but were their pleas were rejected.
Councillors approved proposals to knock down the building last year. The new development will include a campus and provide higher education courses for the health sector.
Plans will also see the neighbouring former skating rink, formerly JB’s nightclub, knocked down. Dudley Hippodrome, first opened in 1938, hosted stage stars such as Laurel & Hardy and Bing Crosby.
It shut in 1964 and became a gala bingo until that closed in 2009. It has been empty ever since despite attempts to restore the building to its former glory.
Watch the video here.
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