The Winter Gardens Morecambe opened in 1897 as the Victoria Pavillion Concert Hall and Variety Theatre, as an extension to the existing Winter Gardens Complex which opened in 1878 (https://www.morecambewintergardens.co.uk/early-beginings/). Over the years it was the home of the internationally renowned Morecambe Music Festival, played host to Sir Edward Elgar, the Halle Orchestra and many others from variety, music and theatre. From The Who to Dame Julie Andrews, Chung Ling Soo to Lawrence Olivier, the venue’s history is a roll call of stars of popular music and variety theatre.
Built as both a concert hall and variety theatre, its 2500 capacity was one of the largest in the North West and it quickly became known as the Albert Hall of the North. With its lavish interiors, striking architectural features and a view to rival the bay of Naples, the Winter Gardens was at the heart of a thriving seaside resort. By the mid-1970s, its fortunes were in decline and by 1977, the decision was taken to close the whole complex, culminating in 1982 with the demolition of the original Winter Gardens leaving only the Theatre remaining and in a perilous position.
However, a group of dedicated people formed the Friends of the Winter Gardens and have worked together since then with one aim to reopen the building that was once at the heart of Morecambe both architecturally and as a centre for culture and entertainment. With the formation of the Preservation Trust in 2006, ownership of the Winter Gardens was transferred to the charitable body who have spent years cleaning, restoring, and fundraising to continue this aim. Now under new governance, the Preservation Trust with the help of our restoration volunteers and the Friends of the Winter Gardens are a step closer to those dreams of many decades ago to finally restoring this remarkable Grade II* building.