The Theatres Trust

Pavilion (Torquay)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1912 - 1976
  • Current state
  • Current use
  • Address
    Vaughan Road, Torquay, Devon, England


The Pavilion was built on a site formed partly of land reclaimed from the sea, on a concrete raft on which a framework of steel stanchions and girders was erected. Henry Augustus Garrett, Borough Engineer of Torbay laid out the Princess Gardens, the Terrace Walk, Pier Pavilion and Torquay Pavilion: the work lasted from 1890-1930. The architect of the Pavilion was Edward Rogers, winner of a competition in 1896, who, with H C Goss drew up the final plans, which were passed in 1903. Because of Rogers’s death construction started only in 1911, the work having been taken over by Garrett. The facing tiles, in Doulton’s Carrara enamelled stoneware made the Pavilion appear like a white Palace. The impressive central copper-covered dome was topped with a life size figure of Britannia. Two smaller domes on each side of the entrance were surmounted by copper figures of Mercury. Fine cast ironwork in Art Nouveau style edged the steps to the promenade deck and the octagonal bandstands or summerhouses. Other exterior decorations were of flowers, urns topped with pineapples, scrolls, etc. Opened in 1912, there was a foyer and auditorium with lounges and cafe, all oak-panelled and elegantly plastered. There was a curved balcony, stained glass and potted palms, with open-air promenade and tea garden. A Municipal Orchestra was founded. In the 1970s, demolition was proposed but the building was listed in 1973. It closed in 1976, when it was leased to Rank and the interior was destroyed in adaptations for various types of amusements including, later, skating. Most recently it has been used as a shopping arcade, which closed in 2013. Planning permission was granted in 2016 to convert the former Pavilion to a hotel foyer, and construction of an adjacent hotel.

Hide further details

  • Events
    • Owner/Management: Local Council, owners
    • Owner/Management: Marina Developments Ltd, lessee
    • Owner/Management: Torquay Waterside Developments Ltd
    • 1896 Design/Construction:
      • designed by Edward Rogers (revised in 1903 with H C Goss) - Architect
    • 1912 - 1976 Use:
    • 1912 Alteration: built to designs of Rogers & Goss
      • H A Garrett - Architect
    • 1931 Alteration: equipped for outside broadcasts
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1976 Alteration: interior destroyed
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1976 Owner/Management: Rank, former lessee
  • Capacities
    • Original: 1227
    • Later: 1946: 1227 1972: 1150
  • Listings
    • Grade II
  • Stage type
    • 1976: Rake 1:48
  • Dimensions
    • Building dimensions: Ground area: 19,377 sq ft; Auditorium: 140ft
    • Stage dimensions: 1976 Depth: 27ft Width SL: 26ft SR: 26ft
    • Proscenium width: 28ft 9in x 18ft high
    • Height to grid: 43ft 6in
    • Orchestra pit: Original 25 Dressing rooms: 6 single, 2 chorus

Of the period

Auditorium of the Empire Theatre during conversion to the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 1993
Festival (Edinburgh)

Have you seen?

Side elevation of the site previously occupied by The Royal Pier Theatre, Aberystwyth, 1998
Royal Pier Pavilion

Protecting theatres for everyone