For full sets of our Information Bulletins for both years, click below.
Holes in the Roof
Video of our drone survey of the roof, made on a frosty morning in December 2022.
Press Release: Charity Commission can act now to save Hulme Hippodrome for the Community
20th October 2022
On Friday 14 October 2022 the Charity Commission took over legal control of the Hulme Hippodrome building, and the danger is they will allow a property developer to use the site for a new block of apartments. The Hulme Hippodrome is a 120 years old theatre, a Grade 2 Listed Building, and a precious community heritage that is now in peril of being lost for ever.
Since 2003 the Hulme Hippodrome has been owned by a controversial religious charity. Around November 2020 a minority of the trustees of this disgraced charity took money for the building from a south London property developer, and have spent it. The developer then tried to quickly sell on the building at auction, without all the legal paperwork, and advertising that apartments could be built on the site. The developer is a disqualified director by the High Court until 2025, having had 14 of their property companies closed down by the court.
The attempted auction was stopped in February 2021 by rapid community campaigning and by strong representations by Manchester City Council for being advertised contrary to planning law, and by the Theatres Trust for the loss of unique heritage.
The attempted transfer of title of ownership was stopped by the Land Registry in September 2021 after a fair appeals period because the developer had tried to purchase the building by irregular means and inaccurate documents.
The risk now is that the Charity Commission might use its legal powers to give the developer everything they have asked for, overruling all the other authorities and regulators.
The Save Hulme Hippodrome community campaign group secured the support of an angel investor in August 2021 and has made repeated offers to buy the building at a fair price, and commissioned an independent valuation survey of the building to comply with charity law – something none of the other parties did. There is a credible business plan for the future of the building for years to come.
The latest offer to buy the building, made by letter on 6 October 2022, stands and we call on the Charity Commission to do the right thing and use its powers rightly to give Hulme Hippodrome back to the community. This is at no cost to the public purse.
Notes to editors:
1. For quotes, please contact Paul Baker on 07932 639757
2. The angel’s identity is known to senior people at Manchester City Council, and all due diligence has been done.
3. A briefing note with full details, dates, etc is available here
4. A summary of the social history of Hulme Hippodrome can be found on Wikipedia. The article also also has information about the two major press scandals and Gilbert Deya Ministries charity.
Lucy Powell MP urges Charity Commissioner to consider offer from SHH favourably
18 October 2022
From Lucy Powell, MP
To: Helen Stephenson, CEO Charity Commission
Dear Ms Stephenson
I am writing regarding Hulme Hippodrome, a Grade-2 listed theatre in my constituency, which is currently unused and deteriorating. Last year, a number of local residents established a non-profit company, Save Hulme Hippodrome (SHH), with a view to acquiring the building, restoring it and bringing it back to use as a local cultural and entertainment hub.
For the past eighteen months, it was believed that the owners of the Hippodrome, Gilbert Deya Ministries (GDM), had sold the building to a London-based property developer (Charles Gassell Gordon) for £450,000. However SHH have recently become aware that the transfer of the title deed was denied by the Land Registry due to irregularities with the sale, and GDM remained the owners of the building. Furthermore I understand that the Charity Commission have now issued GDM a Section 69 notice and taken complete control of the building.
Before becoming aware of this development, SHH wrote to the owners with a fully funded offer to purchase the building for £450,000, the same amount GDM had previously accepted from Charles Gassell Gordon. Now with the Hippodrome officially in the hands of the Charity Commission, SHH are hopeful that their offer will be accepted and that work can finally commence to restore the building and bring it back into its former use.
The group have the strong backing of Manchester City Council and a number of organisations, including the National Theatre Trust, who have been providing SHH with practical and legal support. A local wealthy investor is lined up to pay the costs and just this month, I understand the investor tabled a legal written offer for £450,000 to GDM. SHH are a bona fide constituted community group with written proof of funds. They are ready to take ownership and begin the work needed to ensure the Hippodrome can once again become a cultural and entertainment hub for the local community.
I would therefore be grateful if you could let me know what plans the Commission have to sell the building and what procedures will be in place to determine which offer is ultimately accepted. I would also strongly urge the Commission to consider the impact on the local community, who have for years campaigned and sought to save the building. With the SHH’s offer, there is now an opportunity to bring the Hippodrome back into public use as a cherished and beautiful centre for arts and culture for generations to come and I would urge the Commission to consider their offer favourably.
With best wishes
Labour & Cooperative Member of Parliament for Manchester Central
Signatories in support of Open Letter
Over 170 Supporters so far (23rd October)
A wide range of people and organisations from Manchester and across the country have added their name in support of our open letter.
Olivia Adamson, University of Manchester
Eileen Allen, Manchester Guided Tours
Ray Allen, Interested resident
Jama Abdukayumov, Edward Williams Architects
Zoe Ashpole, Manchester resident
Dr Jenna Ashton, University of Manchester/ Lecturer in Heritage Studies (with a focus on community heritage assets)
Paul Baker, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
David Bailey, Friend of Hulme Hippodrome
Miguel C Balagtas, Architecture/Architectural Designer
Tony Baldwinson, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Faz Barber, SHH Supporter
Stuart Baron, Manchester resident
Mike Bath, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Cara Berger, University of Manchester
Martin Bolt, Musician
Cath Booth, Local resident
Simon Borkin, Friends of Stretford Public Hall
Douglas Boyd, Ex Hulme current Manchester resident with interest in retaining cultural links
Sean Braithwaite, Niamos, Playhouse, Manchester
Elena Brearley, Creative Practitioner
David Brotherton, Manchester Tour Guide
Alice Brotherton-Burns, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Anne Brown, Local Resident
Laura Brown, Quadriga Contracts Ltd/University of Manchester/Local resident
Aaron Burton, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Amanda Burgess, Local Resident
Damion Burgess, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
David Butler, University of Manchester
Dr David Calder, University of Manchester
Danielle Carbon-Wilson, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
David Clare, Concerned Local Resident
Julie Clare, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Catherine Chesworth, Local Resident
Richard Clarke, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Rose Constantine, Private citizen
Alistair Cox, Personal
Sam Davies, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Robert Delahunty, Local resident
Ms. Claire Louise Dixon, Prop maker
Paul Dobraszczyk, Bartlett School of Architecture
Michael Duffield, Local worker
David Eatock, Community Arts
Cllr. Ekua Bayunu, Green Party Councillor for Hulme
John Ellison, Carno Station Action Group
Janet Evans, Private individual seeking a common sense outcome
Alexandra Fairclough, Local Resident
Susan Ferguson, Personal interest (architect)
Steve Fishwick, Personal Interest
Corinne Ford, Local resident
Andrew Fordyce, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Gideon Foster, Brewer at Niamos, Hulme Playhouse
Emma Fox, Manchester tour guide
Julie Froud, Local Resident
Victoria Garlick, I did my PhD on WH Broadhead. The Hippodrome was a key part of his theatre circuit.
Professor Cathy Gelbin, Dept. of Drama, University of Manchester
Paul Gardner, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Philipp Gelbin, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome and Artist
Sophie Gibson, Burnley Empire Trust
Grainne Gordon, Local Resident
David Govier, Local Resident
Elizabeth Gow, Local Resident
Catalina Guian-Illanes, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Kevin Hainsworth, Personal interest
Siobhan Hanley, Siobhan Hanley Comms
Susan Hardy, Community member
Paul Harrison, Charity director
Jackie Haynes, Artist & Manchester Resident
Marion Hewitt, Save Hulme hippodrome group member
Brenda Hickey, Save Hulme Hip
Stephen Hoar, Historian
Suzi Hoffmann, Personal and All Fm community radio
Carmel Hughes, Local resident
Margaret Hollins, Mancunion
David Holman, Community
F. Hunt, Local Resident
Timur Iablokov, Freelance Architectural Designer
Carol Iqbal, Save Hulme hippodrome group member
Katy Jackson, PhD Student
Bryony Jameson, Leeds Heritage Theatres
Alison Jeffers, Live locally and want to support this campaign
Lorna Jellicoe-Jones, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Phil Jones, ASP Events Ltd / Edge Street Live
Kim Joslin, Secretary Hulme Labour Party
Georgia Kenington, Local Resident
Sarah Kennedy, Local Resident
Ewan Kenny, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Olabisi Ketiku, Local charity organisation member
Craig Lambie, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Valerie Lane, Interested supporter
Tom Lyall, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Vicky Lowe, University of Manchester
Jo Magee, Local resident
Sara Mahoney, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Sarah Mander, Community member
Lauren Massey, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Charlotte Marceau, Used to help out, thought the community project was valuable
Joanne Maylott, Local resident
Deidrie McLaughlin, Save Hulme Hippodrome
George Mills, The future of the hippodrome must be in the hands of local people not some external company who has no real interest rooted in such a valuable asset in a diverse and dynamic neighbourhood
Ora Mitchell, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Trevor Morson, interested in preserving this historic building
Rita Mulvey, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Mrs E Murray, Personal – used this theatre with parents as a child
Christine Myery, Concerned ex Manchester resident
Laura Nardella, Person in the community
Tom Niblett, Architecture, theatre and arts
George Nixon, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Mike Nolan, Private citizen
Lucy Nolan, Interested in preserving local history
Susan Nolan, Interested in preserving local history
Dave Norman, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
John O’Donnell, Local resident
Allan Openshaw, Volunteer at Save Hulme Hippodrome (and previous attendee of Hulme Hippodrome)
John Oughton, Supporter of local determination for local heritage
Chris Paul, CEO Wythenshawe Community Media, Trustee Director Walk The Plank, Founder/CEO IDEA, Founder City Life Magazine, former Councillor
Gemma Powell, Young resident of Hulme
Kit Pratt, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Nicholas Ralph, Manchester resident
Jimmy Rapanut, Tim Groom Architects Limited
Florentina Robino Rapanut, Preserving the building
Jane Ray, Supporter
Susan Rayner, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Janey Riley, SHH Niamos
Duncan Robertson, Dk Services Group Ltd – Technical Safety for the community
June Robson, Local resident
Andy Roman, Public interest
Steve Roman, My interest is in saving our Victorian and Edwardian heritage.
Katrina Roman, I think old buildings should be rescued
Sissy Rooney, Street Style Surgery Ltd
Graeme Rowland, I have been to gigs at the Hippodrome
Denise Sackett, Manchester Tour Guide
Dominic Sagar, Architect supporting Hulme community projects
Simone Sanchez, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Constanze Schliebs, Neighbour
Jonathan Schofield, Writer and tourism professional
Roger Shelley, SHH Suporter
Jon Silver, Local Resident
Mr Ian Smith, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Sandra Skuse, Supporter of Save Hulme Hippodrome
Lois Smith, Preservation of historic buildings
Trish Spillane, Local supporter, rare historical buildings must be saved
Brian Stark, Heritage Photographer
Mike Stoneham, Cultural heritage
Maureen Stirpe, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Judith Swift, Save Hulme Hippodrome Supporter
Thomas Swingler, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Ruth Taylor, Local resident
Simon Taylor, I am a supporter of the campaign to save hulme hippodrome.
Corin Thorpe, Software Engineer
Becca Toop, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Lamin Touray, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Professor of Early Film & Polisario entertainment Chair of Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust
Catherine Tolan, Member of the public
Jane Turner, Neighbour to the Hippodrome since 1981
Eliza Tyrrell, Local Resident
James Varney, Hulme Resident
Mr David Wade, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Moz Walsh, Age Friendly Manchester
Rob Watts, University of Manchester
Duncan Wenham, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Deborah Whiteley, Concerned supporter
Luke S Whiting, Individual supporter
Oli Wilson, Director of Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd
Anastasia Wiest, Manchester Green Party
Adam Wright, public interest
Cllr Annette Wright, Local councillor Hulme Ward, Manchester
Jonathan Wright, Individual/ Save Hulme Hippodrome
Jeremy Whyatt, Interested party who wants to preserve the building
Open Letter Briefing
- The Charity Commission are using their powers under Section 69 of the Charities Act 2011. We know this from an automatic alert sent to us by the Land Registry.
- Due to a legal complications and alleged irregularities or fraud, the money offered by the property developer has already been banked by the charity (probably around November 2020) and spent by the trustees before the Charity Commission’s interim managers became more closely involved (March 2021), even though the property developer didn’t get ownership of the building as a result, only gaining a Unilateral Notice in the land register. It would be legal and proper for the Charity Commission to receive the funds from the angel and to reimburse the property developer, which is exactly what the Unilateral Notice provides for and why it was added as a backstop.
- The Charity Commission have placed Gilbert Deya Ministries under formal investigation twice: from 20 September 2004 to c.2006; and again from 28 July 2016 to date, with Interim Managers appointed on 22 March 2021. No findings from either investigation have yet been published to the best of our knowledge.
- On 4 June 2014 the High Court ordered that a multi-million pound network of 14 property firms in south London to forced into liquidation following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. Commenting on the Court’s winding up decisions in 2014, Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor at the Insolvency Service, was quoted on their official website as follows: “The prolonged and systematic abuse of both the insolvency and the corporate regime enabled [this property developer] to facilitate his personal business interests … Nobody should be left in any doubt that we will act whenever we discover there are serious failings, as here, in particular by confidence tricksters such as [this person].”
- We have further legal details on the reasons given by the Land Registry for their rejection of the TR1 dated 11 January 2021, including that it was signed by only one of the three named property trustees in their attempt to transfer the Hulme Hippodrome to the property developer. The other charity trustees and property trustees have subsequently recorded their non-consent to the attempted transfer. It was non-compliant in charity law as well as in property law.
- The rich social history of the Hulme Hippodrome is summarised on its Wikipedia page.
Scale Model of Hulme Hippodrome going on display at Central Library
The scale model of #HulmeHippodrome made by students at #MMU’s #SchoolofArchitecture will soon be on public display at #CentralLibrary, St Peters Square, thanks to #ManchesterCityCouncil and the library.
Below Mike Bath #SHH & Cllr Siobhan O’Connor #MCC discussing design options.
The model is excellent publicity – it opens up building’s ordinary exterior to show inside the ‘hidden gem’ that is the glorious auditorium of #HulmeHippodrome. We will publicise the dates of our exhibition as soon as we know them.
Memories of Hulme Hippodrome
Listening to yourself on the old wireless can be unnerving. Talking with these lovely people about the acts we saw at the Hulme Hipp. Jeff Hill
Vintage FM July 5th – Memories of Hulme and the @HulmeHippodrome. Go here to listen to the interviews
@Hulme and the #HulmeHippodrome#VintageFM
Community campaign group aims to breathe life back into Hulme Hippodrome
In the year that the 5,000-seat entertainment venue The Factory opens in Manchester at a cost of £186m, KEVIN GLENTON, from Mancuniun Matters went along to Hulme Hippodrome, where up to 3,000 people were once entertained by A-list stars such as George Formby, Stan Laurel and Gracie Fields.
This now-decaying venue was at the heart of the community and a campaign group is fighting to preserve the building and provide another home for arts and culture.
Read the full article here
Who we are and what we do
These slides were shown to our Steering Group on 10 May 2021 (1min 12secs)