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Urban Decay

This section of the website will look at those buildings that have, until fairly recently had a use but have now been allowed to become derelict, neglected and vandalised.

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The first site is a derelict building on Great Northern Road. Amazingly this used to be an open plan office building called Pheonix House. For many years it was the home of East Midlands Electricity before being sold in 2001 to a company called Clientlogic who carried out call centre work for customers such as the BT broadband service. Rebranded to Sital in 2007 the company closed the building in 2009 and it has remained empty ever since. Remarkably, in only 2010, the building was stil reported to be in good condition but was threatened with demolition if a buyer could not be found due to the cost of taxes on an empty building. Despite this the building still stands although it is difficult to see how this was ever used as an office.

*update* this building was demolished and the site cleared. It is now the site of the graffiti Park

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Derby Hippodrome

Much has been written about the Derby Hippodrome in recent years, sadly most of it negative. Before I mention that though, here is a brief history.

Opened as a Variety Theatre in 1914 the building was designed by Newcastle architects Marshall & Tweedy and had a capacity of 2000 split over 3 levels. The theatre was able to attract a stellar line-up of acts which included George Formby, Marie Lloyd and Gracie Fields. It is even claimed that Bud Flanagan composed the song Underneath The Arches whilst performing here. Although it was successful for a few decades, however, the rise of 'moving pictures' in the first half of the 20th century meant that this success could not be maintained. So, in September 1930 it was converted into a cinema which it remained for another 20 years.

Then, in 1950, the building had a renaissance and was turned back into a live theatre venue, playing host to numerous acts of international fame including Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Corbett and Morcambe and Wise.

Sadly this was not to last and it closed again in 1959, partly due to the rise in television. The building remained boarded up until it was purchased by Mecca and converted into a Bingo Hall, remaining in this capacity until its closure in 2007

Shortly after it was purchased by a London Developer, Christopher Anthony, who did not appear to the best interests of the building in mind as he wanted to convert it into a multi-story car park – something not popular with the people of the city, Not long after, whilst allegedly carrying out some remedial work to the roof, a substantial part of the building collapsed and was rendered unsafe. Since then there has been a serious arson attack and the building remains partly derelict with most of its beautiful internal décor stripped away.

There is currently no plan in place for this iconic building. An organisation, the Hippodrome Trust is seeking to restore the building for use as a theatre but its current owners, a London bank, appear content to wait for it to fall down

derby hippodrome

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