Abandoned Tameside Hippodrome Theatre

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In February 1904, William Henry Broadhead, who already owned three theatres in the Manchester area, acquired land in Ashton-u-Lyne bordered by Oldham Road, Cotton Street East, Gas Street and Old Street. By April plans had been submitted to Ashton Borough Council to build a 2,000 capacity theatre on the corner bordered by Oldham Road and Cotton Street East. The plans were passed in May 1904 and work began immediately.[1]

William H Broadhead began his working life as a builder and joiner[2] Even when one of his daughters (Annie) married in 1902, by which time he owned the Royal Osborne, the Metropole, the Grand Junction and the Hulme Hippodrome, with a total capacity across all four theatres exceeding 10,000, his occupation on the marriage certificate is "Decorator".[3] His own company therefore built the Hippodrome, lock stock and barrel. He even had a specialist section which produced the coloured glass signs for the cast iron canopy

The theatre opened with a civic gala evening on 19 November 1904[4] and a full variety programme commenced the following Monday.

In 1932, it was converted to a temporary cinema[5] and renamed The New Empire in November 1933. It was later bought by ABC Cinemas, who continued to own the lease on the building until 1974.

Following an attempt to convert it into a bingo hall, a 21-year lease was bought by Tameside Council, and the theatre was relaunched as Tameside Theatre in 1976. The building was bought by the council in 1983.

In 1992, a contract to manage the theatre was given to Apollo Leisure (who were subsequently bought by Live Nation).
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