Spanish City Dome to feature in new exhibition

Newcastle University students Alison Belshaw and Sarah Morris, who study Museum Studies and are helping curate the exhibition, with Mayor Norma Redfearn and Old Low Lights Manager Pearl Saddington bottling up their memory jars.
Newcastle University students Alison Belshaw and Sarah Morris, who study Museum Studies and are helping curate the exhibition, with Mayor Norma Redfearn and Old Low Lights Manager Pearl Saddington bottling up their memory jars.

An exhibition will chronicle the rich history of an iconic building.

Dome Sweet Dome will explore the role that the Spanish City Dome has played on Whitley Bay’s seafront over the years.

The free interactive exhibition, which is being organised by North Tyneside Council and the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, will allow visitors to learn more about the major work currently under way to restore the Dome to its former glory through films and information displays.

Objects salvaged from the building during the work will be on show, including original features like pieces of balustrade, while old glass bottles from the former Wilkinson’s Lemonade Factory in North Shields, which was destroyed during the Second World War, will also feature.

Photographs taken during the Spanish City tours will be on display, music from the Dome’s era will be played and those in attendance will be able to share and discuss their memories.

There will even be a small recreation of the Empress Ballroom with mannequins and period costumes where people can dress up and take photos of themselves, while visitors will be invited to bottle up a memory in a memory jar.

The exhibition will be open to the public every day for two weeks from Friday, March 10, at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre at North Shields Fish Quay.

In the run-up, event organisers are urging anyone with any Spanish City-themed memorabilia to get in touch as their items could be included.

Pearl Saddington, centre manager at the Old Low Light, said: “Despite being one of the most recognisable and famous landmarks in the North East, many people have never set foot inside the Dome.

“This exhibition aims to give visitors the chance to see the Dome in a different way, through new eyes, by putting on show some of the fascinating objects discovered during the restoration and displaying close-up images of some of the building’s iconic features, including the dancing ladies.

“We’d love to hear from anyone who has any interesting Dome-related items which could form part of the exhibition.”

Mayor Norma Redfearn added: “I am delighted that residents and visitors will get the opportunity to find out more about one of our most-loved and iconic buildings.

“This free exhibition will really bring to life some of the stories from the Dome’s past while detailing the exciting future in store as the restoration work progresses.

“It has been a long time coming but there is now a real sense of optimism and excitement and this is a great way to celebrate the huge success of our recent public tours and to give people the chance to follow this fascinating story all the way through.”

Electronic copies of any Spanish City-themed memorabilia can be emailed to SpanishCityDome@northtyneside.gov.uk and physical items can be dropped off at the Old Low Lights at Clifford’s Fort during opening hours.

The event is part of the activity programme linked to the Spanish City restoration, which has been made possible thanks to £3.47m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

For more information about the Spanish City restoration project visit http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/646/spanish-city-dome