The Now and Then column with Aled Jones: The loss of Bridlington’s Grand Pavilion

These two excellent images, from Bridlington resident Aled Jones, shows how a glorious area above Bridlington’s north beach has changed over the years.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:45 pm
This postcard shows Bridlington’s original Grand Pavilion Theatre in 2010. Image submitted
This postcard shows Bridlington’s original Grand Pavilion Theatre in 2010. Image submitted

Mr Jones, a vintage postcard collector and avid photographer, sent in this wonderful postcard of Bridlington’s original Grand Pavilion Theatre, and has also captured the site of the pavilion through a modern day image.

The photo shows the big wheel at the forefront, dominating the view.

Mr Jones said: “Impressive public buildings not only connect people with their own culture but help to maintain a beautiful and vibrant environment to live in.

“So, what on earth were they thinking of, when a demolition order was placed on Bridlington’s original Grand Pavilion Theatre in 1936?

“Built by a Leeds-based contractor in 1906 with a sturdy steelwork body, it was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of London to huge local acclaim in July of the same year. The ceremony was part of celebrations which included the opening of the Victoria Terraces, a visit to the Spa gardens and buildings, and a lavish procession through the town of twenty six carriages, a horse-backed escort and six marching bands.

“The Grand Pavilion must have still seemed as if it was new when it was torn down only three decades after its glorious construction.

“How many people who saw its Phoenix-like creation also witnessed its bewildering destruction?

“The reason for its untimely demise?

“In order to maintain an unspoilt view across the North Bay! Jaw-droppingly sad, as it was replaced by a mere boating lake.

This lovely vintage postcard, from around 1910, shows the Grand Pavilion (viewed from the North Beach) in all its considerable former glory, appearing more like a fairytale castle than an actual theatre.

“It was just as impressive inside, having an ornate banqueting hall that had to be seen to be believed.

“The old Grand Pavilion was situated at the northern end of Royal Prince’s Parade and provided an unforgettable venue for summer shows and local amateur productions, rather like the Spotlight Theatre today.

“The entire area now, as the modern photographic comparison confirms, has been turned into a seasonal funfair.

“Many celebrity entertainers performed at the Grand Pavilion in its brief thirty year history, the most famous were the Scottish singer and comedian Sir Harry Lauder, the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, and the English actress Beryl Reid.

“The venue also saw use as a picture palace and hosted, in 1912, the town’s first children’s beauty competition.”