Sunshine and a day at Whitley Bay’s Spanish City – it seems a long way off.
Our pictures were taken on September 26, 1999, by photographer Trevor Ermel just before the famous fairground closed.
How many holidaymakers and day-trippers visited the notable location over the decades, one wonders?
The unmistakable structure of the Spanish City, with its spectacular dome, opened in May, 1910 – days after the death of the popular King Edward VII.
The original pleasure palace had a 1,400-seat concert hall, restaurant, roof garden and tearoom. A ballroom was added in 1920, a decade when Whitley Bay was advertised as the ‘Blackpool of the North East’.
The first fairground had operated since 1908, and soon attracted thousands of visitors every day.
The origins of the ‘Spanish City’ name came from a Travelling ‘Toreadors’ concert party who played in a temporary Spanish-style painted stage set in 1907. The popular act returned to Whitley Bay each summer and it was decided that a permanent amusements needed to be created.
The middle decades of the last century saw the Spanish City’s hey day.
For many of us born and bred on Tyneside, it was a must-visit location in our formative years – and beyond. The funfair was the subject of the 1981 Dire Straits song, Tunnel Of Love.
The Corkscrew rollercoaster arrived as a national first in the 1980s, bringing with it a new generation of funseekers.
By the late 1990s the complex had fallen into disrepair and was closed in 1999.
But, as we’ve been reporting in the Chronicle, the revamped Spanish City Dome is set for a welcome rebirth.
The exciting project, scheduled to be finished by the summer, will see a new leisure hub with restaurants, cafes and shops.
Source : Chroniclelive