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Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall (photo credit Winter Gardens Blackpool)

Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall

Blackpool, England, United Kingdom

First Opened: 28th May 1931 (92 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Andalusian Village

Architects: J.C. Derham (architect), Andrew Mazzei (interior designer)

Former Names: Spanish Congress Hall, Spanish Courtyard

Website: www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk Link opens in new window

Address: 97 Church St, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL Link opens in new window

English Heritage Grade II* Listed Building: #1072007 Link opens in new window (added 10th October 1973)


Overview

Originally opened as the Spanish Congress Hall in late May 1931, the hall was part of several new additions to the Blackpool Winter Gardens. At its opening the hall was said to seat 2,000 under a roof that “gives the effect of perpetual sunshine”.

Blackpool Winter Gardens overview
Blackpool Winter Gardens first opened in July 1875 with a winter garden and roller skating rink, however it would not receive its official opening until July 1878 by which time several additional features had been added to the complex. The Opera House, originally opened as Her Majesty’s Opera House and designed by UK theatre architect Frank Matcham, was added in June 1889, and the Empress Ballroom was added in 1896. A palm house was added in 1897, at the same time as the Pavilion (originally constructed in 1878) was altered.
The original Winter Gardens Company was taken over in 1928, and in the immediately following years a number of additions and upgrades were made to the complex, generally designed by J.C. Derham and themed by Andrew Mazzei. Olympia Hall was opened in June 1930, and in May 1931 the Floral Hall was refurbished and several additional function spaces were added: the Baronial Hall, the Galleon Bar, the Renaissance Restaurant, the Windsor Bar, and the Spanish Congress Hall.

The Spanish Hall’s interior decoration was executed in the Atmospheric style with an Andalusian village theme by French-born British art director Andrew Mazzei.

The rectangular hall is roughly 79ft by 64ft (24m by 19.5m) and its vaulted ceiling consists mainly of large skylight panels, allowing for the admission of large amounts of natural daylight.

Wrapping around the entire hall is a three-dimensional frieze depicting Andalusian villages and vistas, complete with clouds painted on the walls above which give way to the skylights. At all four corners of the hall there are segmental battlemented balconies with clusters of Spanish village buildings. Tiny lights inside the buildings help create a warm glow when the daylight from above has faded.

According to the English Heritage listing for the complex Link opens in new window, the east end of the hall has a balustraded balcony and above it a large applied relief arcade with barleysugar columns, the apertures revealing a Spanish landscape mural; whereas the west end has three Moorish arches with balconies all set within a large semi-circular, elaborately decorated mounting.

In 2012, Blackpool City Council completed a light-touch refurbishment of the hall. In August 2019, Conlon Construction completed a 14-month, £1.9 million restoration which won them a Silver award at the National Site Awards 2019 hosted by the Considerate Constructors Scheme Link opens in new window.

Further Reading

Online

Historic Photos & Documents
News of the Spanish Hall’s opening, as printed in the 29th May 1931 edition of the <i>Fleetwood Chronicle, Flyde News and Advertiser</i> (JPG)
News of the Spanish Hall’s opening, as printed in the 29th May 1931 edition of the Fleetwood Chronicle, Flyde News and Advertiser (JPG)
Report of the opening of the “Spanish courtyard”, as printed in the 29th May 1931 edition of <i>The Liverpool Echo</i> (190KB PDF)
Report of the opening of the “Spanish courtyard”, as printed in the 29th May 1931 edition of The Liverpool Echo (190KB PDF)
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Photos of Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall

Photo credits are noted where data was available at the time of inclusion. Photos displayed here may be subject to copyright; refer to our Copyright Fair Use Statement regarding our use of copyrighted media and contact us Contact Us with any concerns.

Photos
Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall: Spanish Hall during an event, courtesy <i>Winter Gardens Blackpool</i>
Spanish Hall during an event, courtesy Winter Gardens Blackpool
Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall: Spanish Hall post-renovation, courtesy <i>Conlon Construction</i>
Spanish Hall post-renovation, courtesy Conlon Construction
Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall: Andalusian village closeup, courtesy <i>Bakes, Bikes and Boys</i>
Andalusian village closeup, courtesy Bakes, Bikes and Boys
Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall: Hall dressed for an event, courtesy <i>Michael D. Beckwith</i>
Hall dressed for an event, courtesy Michael D. Beckwith
Blackpool Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall: Spanish Hall, courtesy <i>Winter Gardens Blackpool</i>
Spanish Hall, courtesy Winter Gardens Blackpool


Photographs copyright © 2002-2024 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2024 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

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