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THE WINTER GARDENS

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  VICTORIA PAVILLION, VICTORIA PAVILION, EMPRESS BALLROOM, ORIENTAL BALLROOM, PEOPLES PALACE AND AQUARIUM, KINGS PAVILION, WINTER GARDENS MUSIC HALL
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The Morecambe Winter Gardens (originally the Victoria Pavilion building- sometimes spelled Pavillion) is a music hall built in 1897. It is the surviving part of the Winter Gardens complex that originated with the building of the "People's Palace" or Oriental Ballroom, in 1878. These two glass-roofed buildings were known collectively as the Victoria Pavilion & the Oriental Ballroom and after the death of Queen Victoria they were renamed the Kings Pavilion & the Empress Ballroom.
The Winter Gardens were very popular throughout the 20th century and in the 1930s they were extensively refurbished. However in the late 1960s/70s they fell into decline and the whole complex was closed in 1977. In 1982 the Ballroom was demolished, however the Pavilion building was bought in 2006 and a charitable trust was formed.

The Victoria Pavilion music hall was built to the designs of Mangnall and Littlewood, with Frank Matcham as consultant. Located on the main Morecambe promenade, the main elevation is an ornate, symmetrical composition in brick and terracotta. A big central gable with an elaborately scrolled outline decorates the rear wall of the auditorium and is flanked by projecting square towers with shaped gables. At ground level, the entrance is set between shopfronts.

Internally, the general form is Magnall and Littlewood's, although the design of the balconies and some other details may have been modified as a result of Matcham's involvement. The hall is very wide and covered by a vast segmental tunnel-vaulted ceiling which is divided into richly decorated panels. The curve of the ceiling embraces a huge tympanum above the proscenium and boxes, decorated at the sides with painted muses, etc. The proscenium is framed by coupled columns supporting an enriched entablature. A deep serpentine-fronted balcony returns along the side walls with five rows of seats. The upper (gallery) tier is set back and has shallow slips above the side promenades of the lower tier.

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