£1.6m regeneration will raise curtain on refurbished Pendle Hippodrome

Pendle Hippodrome refurbishment

A Lancashire construction firm is carrying out a £1.6m refurbishment that will breathe new life into the Pendle Hippodrome Theatre in Colne.

Readstone, based in Altham, has embarked on the year-long programme of work that will ensure the New Market Street theatre meets modern needs, while retaining its period features and original charm.

The project, funded by the Government’s Levelling Up money, involves alterations to the ground and first floor of the former historic Derby Arms public house, including the installation of three passenger lifts and the redevelopment of the existing theatre’s foyer, box office and toilet areas.

Simon Whittam, Readstone project director, said: “When we received the brief to create a West End style theatre in Colne we immediately wanted to be involved.

“I’m a local lad myself – I live in Laneshawbridge and went to school in Colne, so the Pendle Hippodrome and Derby Arms have long been staple landmarks throughout my life. To be able to ensure the building’s longevity within the town is extremely humbling and we can’t wait to share updates of the work with the public as the project progresses.”

The Pendle Hippodrome Theatre was opened in 1914 as a cinema and variety theatre. In 2014, the Hippodrome owners bought the Derby Arms with a vision to link the two buildings and provide disabled access and facilities.

Kevin Mason, director of the Pendle Hippodrome Theatre Company, said: “The Pendle Hippodrome Theatre has been entertaining audiences for almost 110 years and within that time not a lot has changed within the building.

“While it is important to us to retain the historic features of both the theatre and the Derby Arms, including decorative cornices and cast-iron seats, there is a lot of work to be done to future-proof the building and make it accessible for all – right now there are a lot of steps.”

The contract has secured full-time work for 12 Readstone staff over the next year and additional work for up to 10 subcontractors as the project begins to ramp up.

The Pendle Hippodrome Theatre is a part of a £6.5m project to restore Colne’s Heritage Quarter as the go-to destination for visitors to Pendle.

Colne Market Hall will be refurbished with improved space for market traders and housing for town centre living will be created.

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