1. ITV Report

Inside the Whitley Bay Spanish Dome as first stage of work is completed

The inside of the Spanish Dome in Whitley Bay

The first major stage of the restoration of the Spanish Dome in Whitley Bay has been completed.

Work started last week to restore the iconic seafront landmark to its former glory.

The project is a key part of North Tyneside Council’s £36m Seafront Master Plan to reinvigorate the coastline between Cullercoats Bay and St Mary’s Island.

The first floor ceiling, which was installed shortly after the dome was first built, has now been removed, opening up double height space from the bottom to the top of the building and returning the rotunda area to its original splendour.

It means visitors will be able to look straight up and see the interior view of the dome for the first time in around 100 years.

The view looking up from the bottom to the top after the floor was removed Credit: North Tyneside Council

“It is absolutely fantastic that this first major milestone has been reached so soon after the restoration work began.

“The rotunda area is visually stunning and is even more impressive now that the ceiling has been removed and you can look straight up to the top of the building and see the dome itself. To think that people will be able to see the area in a way that hasn’t been witnessed for 100 years or so is amazing.

“I’m delighted to see the changes already taking place and this is a great example of the progress we’re making to breathe new life into

– Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside
The view of the floor from the lower level before removal 2 - Credit Andrew Hepinstall Credit: North Tyneside Council
The area where the floor used to be Credit: North Tyneside Council

A bit about the work

The operation involved erecting scaffolding inside the ground floor before experts carefully removed sections of the wooden flooring above piece by piece to open the entire space.

Meanwhile, enabling works are well underway which will see parts of the dome’s west wing demolished.

Some sections of the walls will remain to preserve as many original features as possible.

Two twentieth century extensions will also be demolished as part of this first phase of works taking the façade back to how it looked around the 1920s.

Lead paint which covered the interior of the building is also being completely stripped out in order to meet safety standards, while the next stage of work will see the ageing foundations strengthened.

Since purchasing the building in 2001, the council has carried out £3m of essential structural repairs to the exterior to make it wind and water-tight.

Steel girders from the old floor Credit: North Tyneside Council
  • New construction jobs and apprenticeships will be opened up during the work as well as up to 100 employment opportunities which will be created for local people when the dome reopens.
  • Commercial operator Kymel Trading Ltd will run the attraction as a wedding and conferencing venue featuring a tea room, fish and chip takeaway and seafood restaurant.
  • The Spanish City restoration comes after North Tyneside Council successfully secured £3.47m of funding from the Heritage Lottery