In 1895 the houses opposite Uncle Tom’s were demolished and the “City Assembly Rooms” were built by local bookmaker brothers Henry & James Draysey. This was a dance hall and four years later they had built an indoor circus ring behind the Assembly Rooms, further down Inge Street. This opened late in the year, no doubt to benefit from the Christmas trade. It was called the Tivoli and just five weeks later it closed – it was a total failure.
Believing that throwing more money at their failed circus venture, would overcome the problems, they had the circus rebuilt as a conventional theatre with the stage at one end and all the members of the audience facing the same way. The acts on stage included performing baboons and boxing ponies! By 1903 they were still struggling to make any money and handed the theatre over to impresario Thomas Barrasford who changed the name of the theatre to The Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome changed hands a few times and could be regarded as reasonably successful. the fact that it is still open and holding a place in the hearts of thousands of Brummies means that eventually thing worked out in the end.
But for this story we will go to a point almost halfway through The Hippodrome’s history to get a picture of what this junction between Inge Street and Hurst Street looked like in 1965.
That year the Rolling Stones would go on to have a hit with “I Can’t get No Satisfaction” and the Beatles film “Help” would be released. Also on at the cinema you could have enjoyed “Carry on Cowboy”, one of 31 films in the “Carry on” series. One of the most familiar, and recognisable, faces in the “Carry on” films was Sid James, who a decade earlier had cut his broadcasting teeth with Birmingham born Tony Hancock in “Hancock’s Half Hour” on the radio and TV.
It was in April 1965 that Sid James appeared with Margaret Rutherford in the comedy stage play “The Solid Gold Cadillac” at The Hippodrome. Click the button below and then the “play” arrow to see them both coming around the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street with two other cast members.
The two actresses accompanying Sid & Margaret were Sheree Winton (on the left), and Valerie Colgan. Sheree Winton was the mother of television presenter Dale Winton and she died in 1976 after taking a barbiturate overdose following a lifelong battle with clinical depression. Valerie Colgan is known for her parts in the second Alien film, “Aliens” (1986), and the film “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).
Here are the cover and credits pages from the programme for the show at The Hippodrome that started on the 17th of April 1965.
Having seen the short video, why not play it again? This time looking to see the shops and other buildings that lined the opposite side of Hurst Street and the “Back-to-Backs” on the corner of Inge Street.