Bridlington’s Lost Buildings – Entertainment

Report on our meeting held 1st February 2016

Prior Rick Hudson welcomed members and an invited guest and handed over to the Scribe, Bro George Parrott, for notices. The Scribe also invited the Prior to give his talk “Bridlington’s Lost Buildings – Entertainment”.

Bro Rick began by entreating members to carry out historical research and enjoy the detective work involved. He did however warn of the dangers of flying off on interesting tangents, and began his talk on one such tangent following the life of John Lamplugh and the links to White Lodge, Fun City, and Rosendale house and gardens.

He showed that Rosendale house still stands although it has changed. It is the Harry Davis building on Prospect Street. The property was bought by William Holmes of Leeds and the Peoples Palace was built in the extensive gardens in 1896. Bro Rick described the two levels of the building and explored some of the key moments. The venture was never a financial success, was offered to the Corporation as a potential town hall site on several occasions by various owners, and eventually had to be demolished after bomb damage in 1940. The four associated lock-up shops on Quay Road lasted until 1996 and the estate is now the Palace car park.

The Tudor styled Victoria Rooms were Bridlington’s first public rooms of note, opening in 1848. Bro Rick told the story of this building funded by the sale of shares and bought by the Local Board in 1879, becoming the town hall in 1893. Perhaps the most exotic performers were the Ethiopian Burlesque Opera Troop in 1863, with Colonel Harrison’s Pigmies in 1905 a close second. A photograph from 1854 showed the building in all its glory. The Victoria Rooms and connected buildings were destroyed by fire in 1933. The site is now Garrison Square.

The Floral Hall was also destroyed by fire. It was built in 1921 reusing several aerodrome hangers and decorated in the Moorish style on what is now Beaconsfield car park. The owner was Percy Selwyn Newbound who also owned the Alexandra Hotel. Less than two years after construction, fire broke out whilst the performers in “How Time Flies” were giving a private performance for London agents. All escaped safely but the performers lost their belongings. The Corporation bought the site hoping to sell it on for development, which 92 years later, they have.

Bro Rick’s then described the original Grand Pavilion, built on a bulbous extension to the Princes Parade and opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1906. Notable entertainers to appear here were Sir Harry Lauder, Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, and a very young Beryl Reid. Like the Peoples Palace and Victoria Rooms, it had use as a cinema. In 1912 it was also the venue for Bridlington’s first children’s beauty competition. It was demolished in 1936 and a new Grand Pavilion was built on Victoria Gardens. This has also been demolished and is the site of the new Leisure Centre development.

The vote of thanks was given by Val Walker. She thanked the speaker for his well researched and entertaining story of some of Bridlington’s lost buildings.