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Henblas Street

Henblas Street 1935 The Old Music Hall at bottom

Henblas Street 1935 The Old Music Hall at bottom

Henblas Street, named after The Old Hall ( ‘Hen Blas’) which stood in this area, was first mentioned in records of Wrexham in 1620, and, at that time, ran in a straight line from what is now Queen Street to Chester Road. With the building of the Public Hall at the lower end of the street, which to all effects blocked it off, the road name then passed to also describe the curved road around the Butter (formerly Potato) Market to its exit next to the Long Pull public house.

 

The Wrexham Hippodrome was built in 1909 and constructed on the site of the former Public Hall and Corn Exchange which had been inaugurated on Tuesday the 3rd of June 1873 but was later destroyed by a fire in 1906.The Wrexham Hippodrome was renamed in 1929 when it became the Hippodrome Cinema, opening on the 9th of September that year with ‘The Donovan Affair’.

 

Film and live theatre were then shown here for many years until the Theatre closed in 1959. A local independent operator, Barry Flanagan and his family, decided to take a chance on the building, re-opening it with the same name on Tuesday 13th June 1961, showing the first film, ‘All Hands On Deck’. The central light fitting was a fairly recent addition, acquired from the Gaumont cinema, Anfield when it closed. Film and Variety were then put on at the Theatre for many years until it became a twin cinema in 1988, opening with ‘Willow’ and ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ in a separate screen. The Cinema eventually closed in 1998 after failing to get a first run showing of the film ‘Titanic’.

 

In 2004 the Hippodrome was bought by a property developer and its future became extremely vulnerable. Local campaigners and celebrities, including Ken Dodd fought to save the building for future generations but its redevelopment looked almost certain.Then on June 16th 2008, a major fire did extensive damage to the building and its future became even more uncertain, which ‘coincidently’ suited prospective developers. The fire occurred just a week after former owner Barry Flanagan, who had run the Theatre for over 37 years, passed away.Ten months later, in April 2009, the Hippodrome was finally demolished, and the site remains vacant to date.

 

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