Sparing Hippodrome from the bulldozer would delight us all
NOBODY should get too far ahead of themselves in gleeful anticipation.
It is certainly, however, a step in the right direction that experts have been appointed to carry out an appraisal of potential future uses of Derby's former Hippodrome theatre.
Once the stage to the stars, it has been making headlines for the wrong reasons in recent years.
Since the final curtain fell, it has been badly damaged by fires and vandals.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Its owner, ChristopherAnthony, unleashed a torrent of outrage when work ordered by him resulted in the Grade Two listed building being left in a partially-demolished and sorry state.
Continued doubt over the survival of the Playhouse and, in its new guise, Derby Theatre, fuelled a campaign for the Hippodrome to be revived as a new standard bearer for dramatic productions in the city.
That seemed a long shot, given the struggles experienced elsewhere to make theatre pay its way.
But nothing has deterred the admirably-dogged Hippodrome Restoration Trust from pursuing its ambition.
It now says that, if the architects' findings are encouraging, it will move towards acquiring the building.
Whether you regard these hopes as realistic or bordering on far-fetched, these moves are certainly to be welcomed.
For too long, Derby has been accused of failing to protect its old buildings.
Too many which gave the centre of the town, later the city, its distinctive and attractive appearance had a premature date with a bulldozer.
It may be that the Hippodrome will never see leading performers treading its boards again.
But what remains, and what might be restored, would still be one of the most attractive frontages in the city centre.
It could accommodate a shopping arcade, offices, flats or, yes, a theatre.
The city council is understandably reluctant to commit its limited resources to speculative projects.
It may, however, become more tempted if professional opinion can persuade it of commercial potential there.
And funding would be much more easily prised out of national bodies with the backing of an encouraging architects' report.
There is, of course, the possibility that all this may reawaken Mr Anthony's interest. We shall see.
But the people of Derby will just be grateful to see something positive happening at long last on one of the city's most fondly viewed sites.
It certainly deserves better than its treatment of the last few years.