Mystery as auction banners disappear from Golders Green Hippodrome
PUBLISHED: 11:04 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 20 March 2017
A mystery surrounds the future of a much-loved hippodrome in Golders Green after adverts authorising its sale were removed from the building.
Savills UK have removed their banners from the 104-year-old Golders Green Hippodrome, in Golders Green Road, which was due to go under the hammer on May 9.
The El Shaddai International Centre bought the freehold of the building from the BBC in 2007 for around £5million.
Thomas Radice, from Middleton Road, told the Ham&High he saw a notice seeking possession on the side of the walls and could not understand why the Department for Communities and Local Government was the applicant for the writ of possession.
He said: “When I passed the Hippodrome a few days later I saw Savills had put up a much bigger notice, then this week all the notices were gone.
“Something’s a bit odd. It’s a total mystery about the ownership of this building. Who is the official owner and what is happening?”
Alan Dein, who lives in Temple Fortune, added: “I had a good look at the building and the signs have gone. They were removed on Tuesday, maybe Wednesday.
“I had a word with Barnet Council about the status of the building as it’s really important such a significant building doesn’t go for sale under the noses of planners.
“It’s a total mystery where we need Sherlock Holmes; this is the mystery of the disappearing ‘for sale’ sign. What is going on?”
The two residents are among many that would like to see the building become an entertainment venue once again.
Simon Friend, a commercial film producer, said: “Many people would like to see the theatre returned to its former glory.
“Anyone who is familiar with the history of British theatre knows that the Hippodrome was once a celebrated venue on the touring circuit. As as a commercial producer, as well as a local resident, naturally I would be delighted to see it returned to its former glory as a theatre providing great value to the local community, and I am keen to be part of efforts to realise this.
He added: “I hope that it being removed from auction does not diminish the possibility of this happening.”
The hippodrome, which is Grade II-listed, was built in 1913 by Bertie Crewe as a 3,000-seat music hall.
It has staged performances and live concerts with a host of performers including Danny La Rue and Marlene Dietrich.
In 1960, it was bought by the BBC and used as a concert and rehearsal venue for the BBC Concert Orchestra until 2003.
It remained vacant and derelict until 2007 when it was sold to the church for around £5m.
A spokeswoman for Savills said: “The client has withdrawn from the auction. We are not involved anymore.”
The DCLG and The El Shaddai International Centre have been contacted for a comment.