Tyne & Wear

Whitley Bay's Spanish City restored to former glory

Spanish City Image copyright Martin Avery
Image caption The restored building features "fine dining" and event spaces

A landmark Spanish-themed building in the North East of England has been restored to its former glory.

Spanish City in Whitley Bay, with its distinctive dome, was built in 1910 and was a popular visitor attraction before falling into disrepair in the 1990s.

Following a £10m restoration, the grade II-listed building reopens on Monday.

The new "leisure hub" features cafes, restaurants and a wedding venue, and will host public events such as fairs and cinema screenings.

Image caption The first floor terraces have been fully rebuilt to reflect the original proportions
Image copyright North Tyneside Council
Image caption The architects used historical images and drawings as reference where original details had been lost
Image copyright North Tyneside Council
Image caption The work involved the demolition of some adjacent buildings

When it was built in 1910, the dome was the largest freestanding dome in the UK after St Paul's Cathedral.

It housed a concert hall, restaurant, roof garden and tearoom - and later a ballroom and fairground were added to the site.

The attraction was immortalised in the 1981 Dire Straits song "Tunnel of Love".

North Tyneside Council invested £4m in the work, secured £3.47m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and gained a £2.5m grant from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Image copyright North Tyneside Council/Martin Avery
Image caption The dome area has been opened up and refurbished
Image copyright North Tyneside Council
Image caption The dome, constructed in 1910, is 75ft (23m) high and has a diameter of 50ft (15m)

Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside's elected mayor, said: "The new Spanish City looks absolutely wonderful.

"This is the start of an exciting new chapter in the rich history of this iconic building and is the culmination of years of hard work by the council and our partners."

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