Brighton Hippodrome in Brighton

Grade II*-listed – 1901 – Frank Matcham.

Brighton Hippodrome, designed by renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham, is the country’s finest surviving example of a circus theatre. The building, originally built by Lewis Karslake in 1897 as an ice rink, was converted into a circus in 1901. It was once a thriving hub of entertainment, today it sits empty and rotting. The most spectacular feature is the circular auditorium with its richly decorated ceiling in the form of a panelled tent. Conversion into a multiplex cinema, requiring partial demolition, was approved, but the proposed operator pulled out in 2015. In 2019 plans for a new hotel, spa and serviced apartments were announced but never materialised. In September 2020, the building was sold to Brighton-based Matsim Properties. The building remains vacant and urgent works are required. These should be urgently undertaken to prevent further deterioration until a viable and sympathetic new use can be found for this impressive building.

Griff said: ‘Brighton is a thriving city with a vibrant culture. If anywhere can support such a unique venue it is Brighton. In Blackpool, the restored winter gardens are being used to revive the town’s fortunes. With staycations likely to increase in popularity and Brighton’s easy access to London, surely Matsim Properties can develop a plan which makes sensitive use of this building? What is clear is that losing many more years with nothing happening risks any of the building surviving.’

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