A unique opportunity to take a sneak peak behind the scenes inside the Spanish City Dome as it undergoes a major transformation is up for grabs.

 

North Tyneside Council is to stage a series of tours as part of the ongoing restoration to return the iconic building on Whitley Bay’s seafront to its former glory.

Over two days 90 people will get the chance to witness and document the works underway to bring the Dome back into use.

The project has already seen the rotunda area returned to its original splendour following the removal of the first-floor ceiling, which was installed shortly after the Dome opened in 1910.

Three 45-minute guided ‘hard hat and photography tours’ open to groups of 15 will be held on Friday 27 January at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.

Another three tours – also for groups of 15 – will take place the following day (Saturday 28 January) at 9am, 10am and 11am.

Places will be allocated at random and residents can register their interest by emailing SpanishCityDome@northtyneside.gov.uk leaving their name and contact details and stating how many spaces they would like and which time slot they would prefer.

Participants are also welcome to take photos during the tours to form part of a special exhibition about the Dome’s heritage, which is due to be held at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre at the Fish Quay. The only requirement is that the photos aren’t published publically ahead of the exhibition.

Exact dates are still to be confirmed, but the free exhibition, which will run daily for two weeks, will also feature some interesting items and artefacts uncovered from the Dome during the restoration works.

One of the items to go on display includes an old glass bottle from the former Wilkinson’s Lemonade Factory in North Shields which was destroyed during the Second World War.

Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, said: “These tours are a really unique and exciting opportunity for residents to see close-up the fantastic work going on behind the scenes to breathe new life into the Spanish City Dome.

“I am delighted that we are able to invite groups of lucky people inside the building – the removal of the first-floor ceiling has completely transformed the rotunda area and restored its original magnificent splendour.

“We look forward to seeing the photographs taken by visitors during the tours and putting them on display at what promises to be a fascinating exhibition at the Old Low Light.”

Places are limited for the tours due to safety reasons but further events are planned throughout the rest of the year – more information about these will be released nearer the time. Applicants are advised that disabled access is not available beyond the ground floor. Any children must be supervised at all times.

Email applications for the current round of tours are open from Thursday (12 January) until 23 January. Successful applicants will receive an email confirming their place so it is only necessary to apply once.