The ‘Now and Then’ column with Aled Jones: Focusing on the Royal Victoria Rooms

Regular contributor to the Free Press Aled Jones has compiled another ‘now and then’ comparision article – this time looking at the Royal Victoria Rooms.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th June 2022, 10:55 am
This postcard from 1921 shows the Victoria Rooms in their former glory. Postcard courtesy of Aled Jones
This postcard from 1921 shows the Victoria Rooms in their former glory. Postcard courtesy of Aled Jones

Mr Jones, who collects vintage postcards of Bridlington, compares and contrasts the site in 1921 with a modern day photograph.

The Rooms acquired ‘Royal’ status in 1888 when there was a visit to the town by Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor the Duke of Clarence, who took lunch there with local dignitaries.

Mr Jones said: “For nearly a hundred years, crowds of people had used the Royal Victoria Rooms at Bridlington for public and official meetings, auctions and Masonic gatherings, teas and banquets, drinks and parties, and stage shows and entertainment.

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A modern day photograph of the area. Photo by Aled Jones.

“The venue tragically burnt down in September 1933 but is forever remembered for being a hive of activity.

“It was both a civic and public venue rolled into one, and the site of Bridlington’s first ever theatre.

“Nothing much survives other than steps leading from Cliff Terrace (also demolished) to the Rooms’ entrance right on the north pier. Sadly, most visitors descend those steps without ever knowing the remarkable edifice they used to serve, though there are a few foundation stones to the left as you come down.

“This beautifully framed sepia postcard from 1921 shows the Victoria Rooms in their former glory.

“A group of Edwardian-dressed ladies enjoy the sun and sea air on the harbour.

“Perhaps they are looking forward to spoiling themselves with afternoon tea in the Rooms’ glass-built conservatory on Prince’s Parade, surrounded by the beautiful gardens there?

“The Rooms used to occupy an imposing position where Garrison Square now is, commanding superb views of the harbour and sea.

“In terms of tourism, it was a vital landmark development. You see, Bridlington lacked any major entertainment venue and had a reputation for being ‘a boring place’ where people simply promenaded and sailed. Almost overnight, the town was transformed into an exciting place that people would want to visit time and again.

“Built in the mock-Gothic style of architecture, the Victoria Rooms must have dominated the harbour area, providing the ideal backdrop for many a budding photographer.

“In later days the Rooms housed a Fisherman’s Shelter, complete with maritime museum, and an amusement centre on the ground floor.”