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The Hippodrome Theatre

The first theatre at 33 and 34, Snargate Street was the  Clarence Theatre built in 1790 and later called the Theatre  Royal. It was founded by a local company, the capital being  raised by the sale of £50 shares.  For a little while its use as a theatre was abandoned, and an  advertisement appeared in the local papers stating that: 'the building recently used as as Theatre may be hired by the  day or the week for any public purposes.'   In 1844 the Inauguration Banquet to celebrate the opening of  the South Eastern Railway was held there. The building  reopened as a Theatre shortly afterwards. In 1896 it was rebuilt and opened as the Tivoli Theatre but the  name was changed again in March 1910, when it became the  Royal Hippodrome.   The Hippodrome could seat 600 and had its entrance on  Snargate Street. In the early 20th century it doubled as both  cinema and theatre being used by both professional companies  and local amateurs.  Its main entertainment was variety shows  with two shows a night and the programme changing every  week. During the Second World War the Hippodrome proudly upheld  the old theatrical saying that “the show must go on” despite  the, often heavy, shelling and bombing. Through nearly the  whole of the war the stars appearing at the theatre helped to  keep up the morale of servicemen and women and the civilian  population.   Having survived as long as it did, it was a cruel irony that it  was one of the last shells to land on Dover that finally closed it. On Monday 25th September 1944 a shell that caused extensive  damage blasted the theatre. It was due to open again after  being closed for over two weeks because of the heavy shelling.  The comedian Sandy Powell had offered to appear as a guest  star on the Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, the theatre was  so badly damaged, with a deep crack appearing in one of the  walls, it never opened again. The building was finally  demolished in 1951.  
The Royal Hippodrome c.1910.  The Snargate Street frontage. The Royal Hippodrome, early 1940s.  One of the variety acts. The Royal Hippodrome c.1940.  A rare view of the interior of the theatre. The Royal Hippodrome September 1944. This piture shows the damage done by the shell on 25th September 1944. The Royal Hippodrome, 1939.  A poster advertising the coming week's attractions. The Royal Hippodrome, 1937.  A handbill advertising the coming week's attractions.