Winter Gardens Pavilion

An opulent Victorian theatre with splendid plasterwork decoration in need of repair and restoration.

200708mp wintergdns pavilion03 detail
Address
97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HU
Risk Rating
6 (risk rating: 3, star rating: 2, community rating: 1)
Local Authority
Blackpool Council
Operator
Blackpool Entertainment Company Ltd
Architect
Thomas Mitchell, with auditorium later altered by Wylson & Long
Date of Construction
1878
Listing
Grade II*
Capacity
Estimated at 1,200

Significance

The Winter Gardens is a vast entertainment complex containing a number of individual entertainment venues constructed between 1875 and 1939. The Pavilion was one of the first buildings to be constructed and was converted to a theatre by Thomas Mitchell in 1889. The present auditorium of 1896-97 is by Wylson & Long. It is no longer used as a theatre, the proscenium stage having been blocked off, but it is still a most impressive space. It has a splendidly opulent music hall interior, with two balconies running round three sides and a richly decorated ceiling.

Why is this theatre at risk?

Since 2013 parts of the building have been progressively deteriorating. The roof is leaking and the decorative plasterwork is falling away with immediate repair works estimated at around £2 million. Whilst preventative measures have been put in place to make the roof of the Pavilion weathertight, further repair and restoration works are still needed.

Current situation

Blackpool Council intends to transform the Pavilion and Horseshoe into a museum. It is hoped that the new museum will repair and restore the Pavilion, protecting the important architectural features of this unique theatre and restoring the significant plasterwork by Wylson & Long.

Update

July 2017:

Blackpool Council announced that they will not proceed with the proposed museum in the Pavilion and Horseshoe at the Winter Gardens due to the restoration and development costs involved with the conversion. The works carried out so far have included surveys of the building’s condition and further investigation into the historic significance of the Pavilion, all of which will be useful moving forward.

Image: Winter Gardens Pavilion, Theatres Trust