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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan



Wigan Album

Hippodrome

16 Comments

POSTER DATED 23rd APRIL 1956
POSTER DATED 23rd APRIL 1956
Photo: RON HUNT
Views: 435
Item #: 34861
Poster for the SEX DRAMA "REEFER GIRL" Unfortunately this production was never performed due to a fire at the Hippodrome on the previous Saturday night 21st After the last performance

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 11th February 2024 at 17:07

I have seen this poster before but hadn't realised that the play had never been shown due to the fire at The Hippodrome.

Comment by: Veronica on 11th February 2024 at 18:03

Makes you wonder was the fire started deliberately. A lot of people wouldn’t have wanted this type of production on their beloved Hippodrome stage. You never know.
I remember a big fire around that time.

Comment by: Wigan Mick on 11th February 2024 at 18:17

If I had been the fire investigator I would have been asking some Wigan do gooders where they were on Saturday night.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 12th February 2024 at 11:04

I remember the fire quite distinctly, we lived in Harrogate Street at the time and were woken up by all the commotion and smoke. Our neighbour Mr Johnson was the caretake there but doubt he was on duty that night.
It must have taken hold very quickly even though the Fire Station was more or less across the road just around the corner in Chapel Lane.
There were some incredible acts and artist performed there, Shirley Bassey, Morecambe and Wise (before they were famous) I remember seeing both Arthur Askey and Old Mother Riley from what I think was a box overlooking the stage.
There once was a circus on stage and I distinctly remember the animals being unload from railway trucks in the sidings off Wallgate and a parade of animals and performers down King Street, including elephants.
I never realised that it had deteriorated into such risque' performances, smoking marajuana cigarettes, you would never see that in Wigan these day's!

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 12th February 2024 at 12:12

I wonder if Ron has access to any photo's of the circus parade down King Street, I am positive there were pictures in the papers at the time. It was a big event.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 12th February 2024 at 12:30

As I have commented under the other Hippodrome photo, the first play I saw at WLT was a musical. "Bluebirds Over". The setting was under the stage in The Wigan Hippodrome, where the "acts" were sheltering as they waited for the "All Clear". Right at the end of the play, when they were making their way out, one of the actors, who was smoking. stayed behind to lock up, and one of the other actors shouted, "And put that cigarette out.....you'll burn this bloody place down one of these days!". It brought the house down!

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 12th February 2024 at 14:30

Irene, in those days most theatres had what they called a Fire Curtain that cut the stage are off from the seating area to prevent the spread of fire. I don't know where the fire started that night or if the Fire Curtain was down!
In any event, the Hippodrome and the Pendlebury's fire still sounds suspicious to me.

Comment by: Veronica on 12th February 2024 at 15:54

I can remember going to the circus at Pemberton. I don’t know where it was exactly but I’m sure there would have been animals parading to the location. That’s was in the fifties I’m sure.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 13th February 2024 at 09:42

Veronica, I went to that circus in Pemberton in the 1950’s. My dad took me and a friend from school.
There was also one somewhere up Darlington Street East, That would have been around 1963.
Both though came by trucks, the one I referred to at the Hippodrome definitely came by train and unloaded down those sidings opposite Wallgate Station.

Comment by: Veronica on 13th February 2024 at 10:48

I’m just trying to visualise elephants and their trunks travelling by train Colin. I hope they had tickets! ;o))

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 13th February 2024 at 11:28

I think they had to undertake a structural test of the stage to ensure that it took the weight of the Elephants. I also remember them being fed down the right hand side loading bay, straw and elephant poo everywhere!
I still hope there are pictures somewhere to post.

Comment by: RON HUNT on 13th February 2024 at 11:29

There are a couple of photos on the site showing elephants walking from the N.W. Station to the Circus site.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 13th February 2024 at 14:58

Which site would that be Ron?

Comment by: Carolaen on 13th February 2024 at 16:57

Colin. The 1963 Circus was on the playing fields site - now occupied by St Pats RLFC. Back then there was a school dinners canteen on the site and we watched them putting up the Tent etc. We lived just off Darlington street and watched the parade go along and later went to see a show. ^) years later and I can still remember one of the acts was a lady "wrestling" a crocodile.

Comment by: RON HUINT on 13th February 2024 at 20:41

Colin see links:-
https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=5&id=34073&gallery=Darlington+Street&page=1

https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=8&id=2781&gallery=Circus+comes+to+Town&offset=0

https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=4&id=32831&gallery=Wallgate&page=1

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 14th February 2024 at 14:36

Thanks Ron, I have checked out these links, excellent!
None yet of King Street though before the Hippodrome Fire.

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