History

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

For a start, The Winter Gardens is one of only a few surviving examples of its time. Retaining many of its stunning, original Victorian features, including a breath-taking mosaic tiled floor, and marble steps leading to a jaw-dropping auditorium, the venue is more than just a place to watch a show. A work of architectural art, it’s been in existence since the early days of music hall to wartime concert parties, right through to the golden era of variety. It’s hosted Hollywood stars, operas and today, some of the very best acts 2016 has to offer.

Once known as the Victoria Pavilion, it opened in 1897 and could seat over 2000 people. At that time it boasted a ballroom, a number of bars, a billiard hall and even an aquarium! Now, it stands just as proudly on the seafront, and while it closed for some years in the late seventies, the building, which was suffering structurally at the time, now pulls in visitors from around the county and further afield. It’s a prominent landmark with an illustrious past, and the building is one of just six per cent of listed properties of its kind. It’s something the Friends know all about, since establishing the volunteer group back in 1986, in response to the theatre falling into disuse.

The Friends had one aim: reopen the building that was once at the very heart of Morecambe’s exciting entertainment scene. Registering it as a charity in 1997, they put everything they had into raising the funds needed to purchase the building. Cleaning the venue and carrying out urgent repairs, they formed The Preservation Trust later (in 2006) in a bid to revive the venue’s listed status.

It worked, of course. The building may have a wintry-sounding name, but there’s plenty of life left in this old venue. So wrap up, bundle in and enjoy everything this prestigious Morecambe building has to offer. Lights, camera…action!


RESTORATION AND RENOVATION

AN EVEN BRIGHTER FUTURE AHEAD

It’s been a long, hard road to where we are today and while our efforts have more than paid off, there’s still some way to go. That said, we’re thrilled that the Winter Gardens, which is an ongoing labour of love for the Friends who’ve worked hard to restore it to its former glory, has an even brighter future ahead.

To date, we’ve hosted everything from comedy shows to craft fairs and there’s even been motorbike displays inside the auditorium. We continue to put our all into ensuring the venue is high on the agenda for locals and visitors when it comes to a great night out.

Demand for our guided tours heightens and we won’t stop when it comes to restoring this beautiful jewel in Morecambe’s crown. The aim is to be a catalyst at the heart of Morecambe’s regeneration and we hope to create a multi purpose cultural, heritage and community venue with a variety of uses.

Long term, the Winter Gardens building should have national and international reach and significance, as well as providing learning and engagement opportunities for all.  Most importantly though, is that this iconic and precious venue is preserved for generations to come.

Want to know more about how we’re working towards an even more stunning seaside attraction? Pop in to see the team and we’d be happy to show you around!

 

 


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