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Located on the corner of Charing Cross Road and Cranbourn Street in the City of Westminster is the Hippodrome. The name changed several times during its time as a music hall and theatre before eventually becoming the London Hippodrome.
An archaic word, a hippodrome is a venue that hosts horse races and other forms of equestrian entertainment. The venue first opened in 1990 for Moss Empires chaired by Edward Moss, with design by Frank Matcham. They spent £250,000 creating the building, and it opened as a hippodrome for circus and variety performances. Giddy Ostend - a musical revue - was the first show at the Hippodrome on 15th January 1900.
The London Hippodrome underwent a series of changes since its creation. In 1909, Matcham reconstructed the building into a variety theatre and music hall. It housed 1,340 seats spread across the Gallery, Upper Gallery, Mezzanine and Stalls. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake premiered there the following year. The venue also staged the UK's first official jazz gig in 1919. However, the theatre was most famous for popular musical comedy and revues, including Ivor Novello's Perchance To Dream, Mr Cinders, Hit The Deck and The Five O’clock Girl.
Later, in 1958, Bernard Delfont took down the theatre's original interior, transforming it into a nightclub called The Talk Of The Town. Numerous big-time artists graced its stage, the likes of which include The Andrews Sisters, Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Tom Jones, The Carpenters, John Denver, Eartha Kitt, Frank Sinatra and many more! The venue shut down in 1982 when the public began losing interest in the form of entertainment. However, the Brecon Jazz Festival named the Hippodrome as one of the UK's twelve venues to have made immense contributions to jazz music.
Peter Stringfellow refurbished and reopened the venue as a restaurant/nightclub in 1983. In 2004, it became the Cirque at the Hippodrome, which went on to win the BEDA award for best UK Nightclub the same year.
In 2009, Jimmy and Simon Thomas, a father and son duo from Leicester, acquired the lease on the London Hippodrome. They renovated the venue extensively, reverting it to the original designs by Matcham to use as a casino and entertainment venue. Whilst planning the renovation, the nearby Cranbourn Mansions became available. They added it to the new design, significantly expanding the size of the venue.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London at the time, inaugurated the Hippodrome Casino on 13th July 2012. It opened with four floors of gaming and a Gold Room casino in the building's original basement. The building also houses six bars, the Heliot restaurant, and The Matcham Room cabaret theatre.
The casino received the Best Land-based Casino at the Totally Gaming Awards in 2013. Jimmy Thomas received a Life Achievement award for his role in the entertainment and gaming scene. The casino's Matcham Room is home to Soho Burlesque, the famous Boom & Bang Circus. It is also the London residency of The Definitive Rat Pack.