Tyne and Wear HER(12340): Tynemouth, Grand Parade, Aquarium (Plaza Ballroom) - Details
Tynemouth, Grand Parade, Aquarium (Plaza Ballroom)
Tynemouth Aquarium and Winter Garden opened in 1878 (Lynn Pearson says 1876). It cost £82,000 and was designed by John Norton and Philip Massey of London. Its original design included two towers. The top floor with curved glazed roof was the winter gardens, the second floor was the marine aquarium and the basement gave access to the sands and provided a refreshment bar. At the back of the building there was an open air roller-skating rink which could be flooded to provide a seawater bathing pool. This was the North East's second roller skating rink (the first being at North Shields HER 9828). Rincomania was the first phase of roller skating, following the invention of a four-wheeled skate in America in 1863. Rincomania returned to the Plaza in the Edwardian period with improvements in skate design and maple rather than asphalt flooring. The building was renamed the Tynemouth Palace in 1898 and the winter gardens became a theatre. The glass roof was replaced by corrugated iron. It was called the Palace Theatre in the 1920s, the Tynemouth Plaza in 1926 and the Galahad Ballroom in 1933. Roller skating's third phase began in 1930 with Tynemouth Roller Skating Club. The roller-skating rink was in the basement and the open air rink at the back was used for ballroom dancing on summer evenings. Afrer the war a Repertory Theatre was built in the basement for an in-house Repertory Company. An advert of 1962 for the Plaza Tynemouth "The Show Place of the North" lists a spacious ballroom, modern theatre, roller skating rink, amusement park, exhibition hall, licensed bars and café and the "new fabulous Polynesian licensed buffet The Beachcomber - the luxury rendezvous of the north east". In the 1970s the roller skating rink became a skateboard arena. It became an amusement arcade in the 1980s. During the First World War, the building was used as a billet for troops. It was damaged by a bomb in 1940. Tynemouth Plaza was destroyed by fire on 10th February 1996.
North Tyneside Council, 2009, Cullercoats Conservation Area Draft Character Appraisal; Lynn Pearson, 2010, Played in Tyne and Wear - Charting the heritage of people at play, p 18; https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/tynemouth-plaza/; tynemouth.frankgillings.com; Pat Welford, no date, The Tynemouth Plaza, http://tynemouth.frankgillings.com/welford.html; https://www.facebook.com/TheTynemouthPlaza/