23 Sep 2016

Spanish City Dome restoration begins

ADP’s proposals to bring the Spanish City Dome on Whitley Bay’s seafront back to life are being realised on site by Robertson Construction.  

The £10m Spanish City project is part of North Tyneside Council’s £36m Seafront Master Plan to reinvigorate the stretch of coast between St Mary’s Island and Cullercoats Bay through a mix of local authority and private investment. The landmark development will sympathetically restore and transform the now derelict Grade II listed Edwardian seaside pleasure building into an exciting and vibrant visitor destination.

Initial works will see the first floor ceiling removed to open up the rotunda area as well as demolition of a disused building. 

Previously removed historic features dating back to when the building first opened in 1910 will be rebuilt and put back in. 

Master craftsmen will recreate ornate cornices, decorative plaster and internal features while the original loggias, which were removed in the early 1970s, will be reinstated using modern construction techniques and materials. Once rebuilt, the loggias will be enclosed with glass so they can be used all year round.

They will also recreate tall decorative tops and cupolas in their original 1910 design, allowing the famous ‘dancing ladies’ statues to return to their rightful place on top of the cupolas.
Traditional Edwardian-style shopfronts, doors and windows will be installed using joinery details from the few salvaged original doors and windows.

New modern extensions will be added at either end of the building and there will be a new rear entrance with a lift to the upper floor.


The rotunda area will be restored to its original splendour by removing the first floor ceiling and putting the central columns back in, opening up the double height space, while the balcony and balustrading will also be reinstalled.

The Plaza area outside the Dome is being reshaped to make it more accessible and pedestrian-friendly, linking Spanish City to the wider changes taking place along the seafront as part of the master plan.

The first phase of work is expected to be complete in autumn 2017 when the Grade II listed building will be handed over to commercial operator Kymel Trading Ltd to run as a high-quality leisure, wedding and conferencing venue. The second phase will involve an internal fit out by Kymel with the aim of opening in 2018.

Chris Holmes, Director of project architects ADP, said: “Spanish City is an early example of a seaside pleasure building with a dome constructed from Hennebique reinforced concrete, which was very innovative for its time.

“It’s going to be very exciting to see our design proposals realised on site, where we will be using some of today's innovative construction techniques to sensitively restore this culturally significant landmark so that it can be enjoyed by the local community and those who visit Whitley Bay.”

Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “I am delighted that this latest part of our plans to transform the inside of the Dome is getting underway. Essential structural repairs have already been completed to the building and this latest work will see the magnificent interior beautifully restored with many of the stunning original features retained.

“The Dome is such an iconic building and perceived by many across the borough to be the jewel in the coast’s crown. So many people have happy memories of time spent there and I know they will be keen to watch the work progress over the coming months and witness the changes as they take shape.

“This is such an exciting time for Whitley Bay and for the whole of North Tyneside. The council is successfully delivering massive regeneration along the coast, the riverside and in our towns. We are absolutely determined to make the borough the destination of choice for business, for tourists and where people want to live.”