Photo: RON HUNT
Item #: 34861
I have seen this poster before but hadn't realised that the play had never been shown due to the fire at The Hippodrome.
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.
If I had been the fire investigator I would have been asking some Wigan do gooders where they were on Saturday night.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I’m just trying to visualise elephants and their trunks travelling by train Colin. I hope they had tickets! ;o))
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.
There are a couple of photos on the site showing elephants walking from the N.W. Station to the Circus site.
Which site would that be Ron?
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.
Colin see links:-
Thanks Ron, I have checked out these links, excellent!
None yet of King Street though before the Hippodrome Fire.