Looking Back at The Rex

The Rex, Promenade, Whitley Bay.

The Rex, Promenade, Whitley Bay.

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In June, 1907, George Hunter, chairman of Whitley and Monkseaton UDC, officially opened the temperance hotel, The Waverley.

Miss Doris Winifred Jefferson began working there as cashier in 1926.

A Dudley Hallwood caricature of the staff was used in 1937 to promote the hotel, licensed since 1931, with its change of name to The Rex. George Henry was the manager of the hotel and Doris Jefferson was now the cafe manageress.

AJR Lyons was the head waiter, and the chef at this time was WV Fryer, with ‘Jimmie’ buffet.

Band leader Charlie Mann hosted the Saturday dinner dances, which required guests to attend in evening dress, and cost the sum of 25 shillings. He also hosted the regular Sunday concerts.

The slogan to promote the hotel to holidaymakers was “Make the Rex your headquarters for the finest seaside holiday of your life!”

Manager George Henry left the hotel in 1941 and Doris Jefferson took his place.

In October 1946, it was sold to Queen’s Head (Newcastle) Ltd, but retained its name.

Following its sale, the Rex Ballroom was to carry on as normal under manageress Miss Jefferson, but with George Young’s Orchestra carrying on the tradition of the Saturday dinner dances.

The residential parts of the hotel were, at the time, in occupation of civil servants from the new Ministry of Pensions site in Longbenton.

Reg Ward was the chef for 27 years from 1948, and became famous for his amazing ice-carved swans and his model ships, made entirely from fruit.

Jack Faith was the owner in 1961. It was at this time that a painting of the fancy dress ball of the Round Table was created, which hung on the wall for many years.

By 1974, it was George Rowell’s band providing the entertainment for ballroom dancing.

The Rex has recently closed down.

If anyone has further information on the hotel, ask for Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on 0191 643 5270 or email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk