Bringing Down The Curtain at Weymouth Pavilion
Almost one hundred years ago the Pavilion (as now) was a subject much exercising the minds of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis Borough Councillors. It would be more accurate to say that 'a' pavilion was being discussed. Technically a pavilion was a light ornamental building or pleasure house and Weymouth did not have one. By 1900 Weymouth was increasingly popular as a seaside resort for ordinary families, who naturally wanted entertainment. But there was nowhere in the town they could go and be entertained and be sheltered from bad weather. Many people felt that if Weymouth was to be a first-class resort, such a building was urgently required. By 1906 a sufficient head of steam had built up for the decision to be taken.
The site chosen for this new pavilion was at the southern end of the Esplanade next to what was then known as the Pile Pier. There were objections of course. As one would expect the Ratepayers Association disliked the spending of any public money. More interestingly, perhaps, one councillor thought the location was pretty bad. It was too far from the railway station and in a much too exposed position in bad weather for those who had to walk to it.
Despite objections the plan went ahead. Land was reclaimed from the foreshore and an architectural competition launched in 1907 to find a suitable design. The winning design from an anonymous hand was chosen in October 1907 and a sketch and lengthy description appeared in the 'Southern Times'. This design included an auditorium with stalls and gallery seating, an Oriental café and outside verandahs. The frame was of steel with the main fabric of wood. Construction began in early 1908. The total cost, including land reclamation, was £14,150.
See more historical info here.
Weymouth Pavilion historical survey
We are now coming to the end of our project, but we are still keen to hear about your memories of Weymouth Pavilion, so please continue to drop us a line. Your memories do not have to be 'major' events, or to have happened a long time ago. As you all know soon this building will not be there and your experience of last years Christmas Panto is as important as having visited the last building on this site, the Ritz.
See the start of the project here.