Forthcoming at the Hippodrome…

A new season of plays was launched at the Hippodrome Theatre on Monday 11th July 1949. The plays were performed by the Lawrence-Williamson Company, taking over from a run of plays by the Winwood Players.

The first production was ‘The Last of Mrs Cheyney’ by Frederick Lonsdale (1881-1954), chosen for its wide appeal following its recent London revival: “Mrs Cheyney was once a shop girl. She yearned for luxury and beauty and so persuaded an accomplice to teach her how to get it. She takes up Robbery as a profession and thereby a means to reach the Set and good things of life which money secures – but Nemesis awaits the charming crook. A grand play written in the best Lonsdale manner and which should ensure crowded houses.”

The following plays were ‘The Patsy’, ‘Baby Mine’, ‘Miranda’, ‘The Poltergeist’, ‘Michael and Mary’, ‘Dangerous Corner’ and ‘Jane Steps Out’. Players included Miriam Raymond, Frank Pemberton, Mary Quinn, Leigh Knight, Doris Richmond, Robert Hollyman, Joan Harding, Donald McClay and Donald Nithsdale.

The Queen’s Theatre became the Hippodrome in 1909, although both names remained on the front of the building, and many programmes and adverts continued to refer to the ‘Hippodrome and Queen’s Theatre’. Impresario Francis Laidler (1867-1955) took over the theatre in 1913 – he also ran the Prince’s Theatre and Alhambra Theatre in Bradford, and the Theatre Royal in Leeds. He was managing director up until his death when his widow, Gwladys, took over until the theatre closed in October 1956.

The theatre was demolished in 1961 and in its place now stands the Airedale Shopping Centre multi-storey car park. Keighley Local Studies Library holds various records relating to the theatre including a scrapbook belonging to founder Abraham Kershaw, a box office notebook, a theatrical postcard album covering 1906 to 1929, autograph books and various photographs, programmes, and posters.

The original programme was donated to Keighley and District Local History Society by Tim Neal in August 2020. It is held in the History Society’s physical archive.

Author: Admin Tim

Tim is a committee member of the Keighley and District Local History Society, with responsibilities for archiving the physical and digital collections, and managing some of the social media channels. He moved to Keighley about ten years ago and joined the Society to learn more about the area.

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