Memories of the Christmas pantomimes

Hippodrome 2002
From a private collection
Old Hippodrome (date unknown)
Image reproduced with permission from Brighton History Centre

My Grandma used to take us to see the pantomime each Christmas at the Hippodrome. It’s now now used for bingo I believe, but you can still see the decorative tiles in the entrance.

I recall the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Peter Pan with Julia Lockwood. I think the star of the Sleeping Beauty, around 1953, was Jimmy Wheeler, an old music hall artiste whose catch phrase was “Aye, Aye, that’s your lot!” which he said as he left the stage. What that had to do with the Sleeping Beauty I’ve yet to work out!

After Peter Pan, we deserted to Babes in the Wood on Ice at the Sports Stadium in West Street. Altogether more thrilling!

Comments about this page

  • I didn’t know that the Hippodrome was still there! Shame it’s not a theatre any more. Vesta Tilley was my father’s godmother; details on Mike Casselden’s websites.

    By Pamela Dean (25/10/2003)
  • I remember as a youngster being taken to see Petula Clark and Frankie Vaughan at the Hippodrome and then waiting to see them at the stage door afterwards. Frankie Vaughan came to my junior school one year to present the prizes at our Prize Giving. If I remember correctly, one of our teachers used to teach him. I wanted to go to see the Beatles but my parents wouldn’t let me as I was ‘too young’ at 13 (how times change!). My husband’s parents actually played there in the late 40s/early 50s. They had a troupe of performers which toured the ‘Music Halls’ and circuses both here and on the Continent. It was a balancing/acrobatic act – with midgets – and I believe it was known as the Tommy Burke Troupe. My husband’s father also did the same sort of thing – his name was Willie Pantzer. If anyone has any knowledge/posters/programmes etc or anything of any interest that could give us more detail of Tommy’s or Willie’s life we would be most greatful. Hubby, who was a child at the time, knew Max Miller, Vera Lynn (Aunty Vera to him) and several of the other music hall acts who were contemporaries of his parents: Tommy and Addy (Adelaide) Burke – formerly Pantzer.

    By Pam Pantzer (20/05/2005)
  • I remember seeing many shows and top entertainers at the Hippodrome back in the 1950s: Billy Daniels, Billy Ecksteine & Sammy Davis Jnr. And of course pantomimes. I don’t think ice shows were ever held there, but they certainly were at at the Ice Stadium in West Street. Happy days!

    By John Starley (19/12/2005)
  • For Pam Pantzer: I sent you an earlier message about Willie Pantzer and items that I have. Please get back to me if you get this and let me know if you are interested.

    Editor’s note: Due to the restrictions of the UK Data Protection Act e-mail addresses are hidden from public view – the exception is if an e-mail address appears within the body of the message, in which case it is seen as ‘permission to be made public’ and will be published.

    By Ed Buhrer (07/06/2008)
  • Pam Pantzer, you can email me at about the Willie Pantzer items.

    By Ed Buhrer (08/06/2008)
  • I remember when I was a child we had no money to go to the Hippodrome shows but my sister and I did appear in the late great Espinosa’s childrens’ shows. We were pupils of the Molly Ball school of Dancing. In later years, my husband, Paddy and I appeared in Tom Arnold’s production of Dancing Years on Ice at the Hippodrome, where we had singers like Olive Gilbert and Sylvia Cecil singing the lead roles. They were great and exciting times and I have many happy memories of the Hippodrome. My mother was very sad to see it turned into a bingo hall - but used to go there to play bingo anyway!

    By Pat Hannon nee Bessent (27/03/2010)

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