Ten historical facts about the Spanish City Dome

Whitley Bay's Spanish City Dome.
Whitley Bay's Spanish City Dome.

As new plans are drawn up by potential operators of the Spanish City Dome, here are ten facts about the iconic building:

1:- Spanish City is a collection of Grade II listed seaside pleasure buildings and pleasure grounds built in 1910 on the Whitley Bay seafront to the designs of celebrated Newcastle architects, Cackett & Burns Dick (designers of the Laing Art Gallery and Tyne Bridge Towers).

2:- The Rotunda building is one of the earliest examples of Hennebique ferro-concrete design and construction in the UK involving a dome construction for the roof.

3:- In 1910 the dome was the second largest in the country after St Paul’s Cathedral with a diameter of 15.24 metres. Cackett & Burns Dick was the first architectural practice in the UK to use the reinforced concrete system to build such a large dome.

4:- Stylistically, the Rotunda provides an important link between the traditional seaside ‘palaces’ and piers of the late Victorian period and the Modern Movement, particularly in its use of reinforced concrete.

5:- The Spanish City Pleasure Gardens were opened in May 1910 and catered for every visitor’s need: a large entertainment hall, shops, kiosks, cafes, roof gardens and promenades with extensive views of the coast in one direction and the Pleasure Gardens with their attractions and rides in the opposite direction.

6:- The early pleasure grounds included rides such as The Social Whirl, Water Chute, River Caves, Mystic Maze, Pleasure Wheels, the bumping bumps, Hall of Mirth and Ye Olde Mill. Ye Olde Mill was the only ride of its kind north of London and was a fantastical boat ride through various caves displaying different landscapes.

7:- In 1912 it was adapted to offer the visitors an experience of the South Pole, to coincide with Sir Robert Scott's expedition. Even 100 years ago, Spanish City was offering an opportunity to a mass visitor market to experience a leisure-learning environment about events and places they could only dream of visiting.

8:- Spanish City was considered to be the ‘Playground of the North’, and attracted families from across the region and beyond for fun-filled days by the seaside.

9:- Whitley Bay is a prime example of a Victorian phenomenon, a seaside town stimulated by the growth of railways into a holiday resort easily accessible by most social groups. It was a popular holiday spot, and boomed during the 1950s and 1960s until the decline of home based destinations in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

10:- The Spanish City Dome was Grade II listed on 19th February 1986.

To read the full story on the plans for the Spanish City Dome announced today, follow this link http://www.newsguardian.co.uk/news/local/new-operator-outlines-transformation-plans-for-the-dome-1-7584478