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The Empress Ballroom, Spanish City, Whitley Bay

SPANISH CITY, WHITLEY BAY (26 K)

David Anderson kindly submitted this postcard of Spanish City, Whitley Bay (by Dennis Print & Publishing; photo by E. Storey) and writes: "the Empress Ballroom in the Rotunda was a regular haunt for your boys." The Spanish City was opened in 1910. Its classical white "pleasure dome" was designed and built by the Newcastle-upon-Tyne architectural firm of James Thoburn Cackett (1860-1928) and R. Burns Dick (1869-1955, who were also the architects for Newcastle's Laing Art Gallery. It earned its name in 1904 when Charles Elderton, who ran Hebburn's Theatre Royal, brought his Toreadors concert party troupe to perform there. The Spanish City became the Empress Ballroom in 1920. In 1979 the Retundar Ballroom was converted into the starlight rooms for live entertainment. The band Dire Straits mention the location in their 1980 song "Tunnel of Love" when they sing
And girl it looks so pretty to me just like it always did
Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids
Oh girl it looks so pretty to me just like it always did
Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids
...
And now I'm searching through these carousels and the carnival arcades
Searching everywhere from steeplechase to palisades
In any shooting gallery where promises are made
To rockaway rockaway from Cullercoats and Whitley Bay out to rockaway


SPANISH CITY

Another view of the central fixture of what is now known as the Spanish City theme park and fairgrounds.


WW I MONUMENT

The WW I Cenotaph behind Spanish City with a view of Whitley Bay and the North Sea beyond. Luftwaffe aircraft from Norway would have approached from this direction to bomb targets in the North East.


WW I MONUMENT

The WW I Cenotaph in relation to the main Spanish City structure.


SPANISH CITY, WHITLEY BAY, 1930

Spanish City, Whitley Bay, about 1930 (photograph by R.W. Swinburn). Inside the Bowl Slide tower was a Helter Skelter which sent the rider spinning round a huge wooden bowl.


CHIPS

Look familiar? Save for the modern styrofoam container and paper, this could have been an order of chips ordered by a Skylighter back in 1944. Then, it would have been wrapped in newspaper.


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