Unique chance to go inside Spanish City Dome

Special tours are being held to give people a look at restoration work.

Thursday, 12th January 2017, 8:00 am
The view of the floor in the Spanish City Dome from the upper level before removal. Picture by Andrew Hepinstall

Whitley Bay’s Spanish City Dome is undergoing a major transformation to bring the Grade II-listed building back into use.

North Tyneside Council is to stage a series of tours over two days to allow 90 people the chance to witness and document the works.

The project has already seen the rotunda area returned to its original splendour following the removal of the first-floor ceiling, which was installed shortly after the Dome opened in 1910.

Three 45-minute guided hard hat and photography tours open to groups of 15 will be held on Friday, January 27, at noon, 1pm and 2pm.

Another three tours – also for groups of 15 – will take place the following day (Saturday) at 9am, 10am and 11am.

Places will be allocated at random and residents can register their interest by emailing [email protected] leaving their name and contact details and stating how many spaces they would like and which time slot they would prefer.

Email applications are open until January 23. Successful applicants will receive an email confirming their place.

Participants are also welcome to take photos during the tours to form part of a special exhibition about the Dome’s heritage, which is due to be held at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre at the Fish Quay.

The only requirement is that the photos are not published publicly ahead of the exhibition.

Exact dates are still to be confirmed, but the free exhibition, which will run daily for two weeks, will also feature some interesting items and artefacts uncovered from the Dome during the restoration works.

One of the items to go on display includes an old glass bottle from the former Wilkinson’s Lemonade Factory in North Shields which was destroyed during the Second World War.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “These tours are a really unique and exciting opportunity for residents to see close-up the fantastic work going on behind the scenes to breathe new life into the Spanish City Dome.

“I am delighted that we are able to invite groups of lucky people inside the building – the removal of the first-floor ceiling has completely transformed the rotunda area and restored its original magnificent splendour.

“We look forward to seeing the photographs taken by visitors during the tours and putting them on display at what promises to be a fascinating exhibition at the Old Low Light.”

Places are limited for the tours due to safety reasons but further events are planned throughout the rest of the year – more information about these will be released nearer the time.

Applicants are advised that disabled access is not available beyond the ground floor. Any children must be supervised at all times.