Tyne and Wear
The iconic Dome of the Spanish City by Newcastle architects Cackett and Burns-Dick has been a Whitley Bay landmark since it opened in 1910. The concrete dome is a remarkable piece of engineering innovation, believed to have been one of the UK’s largest unsupported concrete domes when it was built.
The dome forms the centrepiece of an entertainment complex including a promenade, theatre, restaurant, and roof garden. By the 1920s the theatre had become the Empress Ballroom and Whitley Bay was frequently advertised as the ‘Blackpool of the North East’.
Following World War Two (when the prominent white Dome had been camouflaged) Spanish City became a popular venue for music and dancing and later became a bingo hall. The Spanish City is perhaps most famous for its funfair, immortalized in Dire Strait’s 1980 song ‘Tunnel of Love’, but this was sadly demolished in 1999.
Situated on Whitley Bay’s seafront, Spanish City is grade II listed and is currently undergoing restoration.