A theatre of outstanding national importance
Brighton Hippodrome


Barrasford descendant's support
I am the great-granddaughter of the theatre impressario Thomas Barrasford, who was responsible for creating so many wonderful theatres across the country, including the Brighton Hippodrome.

Barrasford Tour

      Sadly, so much of his legacy has been allowed to fall into disrepair, to ne converted beyond recognition, or has simply been demolished. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard of your campaign to preserve the Brighton Hippodrome and save it from the fate so many of his theatres have suffered.
      Through his work, Thomas touched the lives of thousands, possibly millions of artistes, technicians and theatre-goers, bringing pleasure and prosperity to the people, towns and cities fortunate enough to possess a Barrasford theatre. I am immensely proud of my ancestor, who was an entrepreneur, inventor, fierce competitor and a human being so well respected by his family and friends.

Left: advertisements appeared weekly in the trade press to announce who was appearing where on the Barrasford tour.

Right: crowds throng Middle Street for Thomas Barrasford's funeral, 5 February 1910

I am therefore delighted to write in support of your efforts to ensure his theatre can once again serve the people of Brighton and beyond, resuming its role as a place of community, laughter and culture, and a flagship for the south-east of England.
      I wish you every success in your endeavours, the progress of which I will watch with keen anticipation every step of the way.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J L Cover

Thomas Barrasford funeral

Your comments about the Hippodrome

Send your comments to support@ourhippodrome.org.uk for inclusion on this page. Many thanks to all those who have done so already, either here or on the 38 Degrees petition page.

We have to keep these live venues so that our children and their children can see and feel how performances should be and share in the joy which we discovered.
      —Bob R [via 38degrees]

Any removal of theatre space is a crime, we don't need yet more cinemas but we're in danger of taking away the facilities that the next generation of actors need!
      —James H [via 38degrees]

Still remember the wow factor of seeing shows there. An unique theatre building we cannot afford to lose, especially when you realise the lack of any venue able to take large-scale productions in South-East.
      —Alec B [via 38degrees]

People come to Brighton to see the wonders it has to offer, experiences they cannot have at home, not watch a film they can watch at their local cinema.
      —Andy P [via 38degrees]

There are stars still to be born who need magical LIVE spaces in which to thrive. Brighton Hippodrome is such a one.
      —Glyn E [via 38degrees]

This type of theatre is fast becoming an historical feature due to the lack of investment caused by short-sighted bureaucratic pen-pushers, who lack the education and understanding of the arts. This type of building in the right hands can thrive and provide entertainment for a wide range of musical and other spheres of the arts.
      —Martin W [via 38degrees]

Brighton needs somewhere better than the conference centre for live shows.
      —George R [via 38degrees]

When I lived in Brighton it was evident that, good though the Theatre Royal was, a larger venue was also needed, capable of hosting the largest musicals and other shows. The Hippodrome would be able to do this.
      —John S [via 38degrees]

The Hippodrome could be restored to its former glory and be a credit to Brighton instead of just another cinema. It would be more valuable an asset in the long run.
      —Jaki daCosta [email]

We don't need more exclusive bars, shops and yet another cinema for the well-off of Brighton and surrounds. Keep it LIVE!
      —Ray G [via 38degrees]

Beautiful building—and Brighton doesn't need 8 more cinemas. Please sign.
      —Kay N [via 38degrees]

The council is so pathetic to let it get to this stage.
      —Omar M [via 38degrees]

It's a piece of history that should be a grade 1 listed building.
      —Sam T [via 38degrees]

The Hippodrome has accommodated elephants before but I fear that the multiplex cinema plan is likely to equate to eight white ones! If the funding can be generated, a live performance venue is by far the best option for the building.
      —Ninka W [via 38degrees]

As a resident for 30 years, and a local historian, I treasure our heritage and do not want to lose this important building, especially when we are so short of good venues for theatre.
      —Valerie M [via 38degrees]

Brighton is the ideal place for making the Hippodrome a successful live venue/theatre once more. A lovely legend with a viable future—we must keep it.
      —Johnny J [via 38degrees]

We need a venue in Brighton large enough to take the various shows that we have to go to London/Woking/Canterbury/Southampton to see because the Theatre Royal does not have a large enough stage to accommodate them.
      —Susan G [via 38degrees]

This building is one of the reasons Brighton is special and different. Everyone can have a 8 screen cinema but no-one else has a Hippodrome like ours.
      —Ruth B [via 38degrees]

Frank Matcham also re-designed the London Palladium.The two theatres have a close seating capacity.With the West Pier gone and the Palace Pier now just a Jetty with fair ground rides on the end.The Hippodrome is Brighton's hidden jewel in a much depleted Brighton crown.
      —Howard B [via 38degrees]

Brighton has already lost the West Pier and needs to take better care of its heritage.
      —Neil T [via 38degrees]

There are not enough live performance spaces in Brighton. If managed correctly by the team that currently run the Brighton Dome this could be a great potential revenue spinner for the local authority.
      —Ashley V [via 38degrees]

Because my grandad used to work there as an electrician. He told some wonderful stories!
      —Kate C [via 38degrees]

Brighton has already lost too many theatres to the bulldozers, let's get this one restored and put to good use, ie. live performance. Brighton does NOT need another cinema!!
      —Trevor B [via 38degrees]

Its a unique building and part of Brighton's heritage.
      —Peter W [via 38degrees]

It's a rather unusual building and we should hang on to it.
      —Mark F [via 38degrees]

It will be such a crying shame to lose a one in a million type of building. Good luck saving the Hippodrome. I wish I was rich and could save it.
      —Ruth Antunes [email]

Because this building is a beautiful piece of Brighton history.
      —Camilla L [via 38degrees]

Brighton really needs to keep and revive this wonderful venue as a proper theatre. Our group, New Sussex Opera, would certainly be interested in using it.
      —Tim L [via 38degrees]

I am a Brightonian. My mother and father were regular visitors to the theatre throughout their teenage and young adult years in the 1950s until its closure in 1965. They have told me of many a wonderful night had at the theatre and the diverse acts that played the venue. With regret I only ever managed to visit the theatre when it was run as a bingo hall, however, I could appreciate the splendour and craftsmanship of such a great designer as Frank Matcham. This is one of his finest houses ever created in the UK and for that reason alone should be protected.
      I have been fortunate enough to have toured the UK and world extensively as an actor/singer, production manager and now theatre producer. As a producer I feel the frustration of not having a suitable venue to stage No 1 touring productions. The Theatre Royal is too small in technical capability and the Hippodrome when restored to its former glory is our only hope of ever being able to stage top quality UK and worldwide productions. Why should the residents of Brighton be forced to go to Eastbourne and sit in a 1960s concrete jungle called the Congress Theatre in order to see a show of a larger scale. The Hippodrome is our only hope.
      Why on earth do we require another cinema screen in this city? Live theatre has a tremendous following for both locals and tourists alike and it should be given as much chance to flourish as these endless characterless picture houses. Designers the likes of Matcham simply do not exist in this modern day and age and wherever possible his wonderful architecture should be protected. No one in their right mind should allow any planning application of this nature to proceed when we will see the total destruction of what is our history and more importantly history of Brighton.
      Many of those quality historical theatres that were under threat have survived the day and been restored to their former glory. Only now as I write this I can see the extensive work that has gone into the full restoration of the Theatre Royal in Portsmouth and our council should be taking a leaf out of that council's book.
      I urge the people of Brighton and Hove to get up and support this venue and make every effort to support this cause whether it be through fund raising or simply by lobbying the council to support this venue. The people of Portsmouth have done so, the people of Hackney did so in the restoration of the wonderful Hackney Empire; another Matcham house in Newcastle Theatre Royal was also saved from closure, to mention but a few.
      —Tim Anscombe

Brighton does not need another multiplex cinema. We have two already—and I'm a film-maker. The Hippodrome should be restored to its former glory and refurbished for the 21st century so that it can act as a unique venue for future generations as it has for generations past.
      —Bob Maddams

Page updated 22 February 2014