Building Name

Victoria Pier and Pavilion at Colwyn Bay

1898 - 1900
Colwyn Bay
Clwyd, Wales
The Victoria Pier & Pavilion Company (Colwyn Bay) Limited
New Build
Widnes Foundry Company

Designed by Mangnall and Littlewoods of Manchester, Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier was one of the later British piers to be built, opening on 1st June 1900. As first constructed, Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier was just 316ft (96m) long and 40ft (12m) wide, comprising a timber promenade deck with seating and railings along its length, and a large 'Moorish' style pavilion. The pavilion, built by William Brown and Sons, Salford, was set to the right of the deck, with a walkway allowing access to the pier-head to the left. A modern feature of the pier was the illumination by electric light, and this proved to be quite a spectacle at night.  The pavilion was built to a high standard, and the interior was finished in a typically ornate fashion. One of its most notable features, and an innovation for that period, was a large electric ceiling fan, housed in the largest of the three ornate cupolas on the roof. With the capability of seating 2,500 people in great comfort, the pavilion had a balcony that extended around three of the four walls. At the pavilion entrance were shops, and a tearoom for use during the intervals. Renowned for the quality of its performers, this pavilion enjoyed playing host to many of the famous operatic and ballet companies of the day.  As the popularity of the resort increased, so word spread of the pier's high standard of entertainment, and in 1903 the Victoria Pier Company decided to extend the deck to a length of 750ft (227m) in order to facilitate outdoor theatrical performances. Elegant shelters were then constructed for the convenience of the audience.

During the First World War Colwyn Bay played host to many wounded troops, and the pier pavilion was used for more appropriate entertainment, perhaps a concert party or pantomime, in an attempt to cheer the men. Proving to be very popular, a new 'Bijou' theatre was built in 1917 to allow this form of 'lighter' entertainment to continue, and thereby attracting a greater cross-section of visitors to Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier.  As was so often the case, the pavilion was completely destroyed by fire in 1922. The District Council subsequently purchased the Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier and work began immediately to repair the damage. In July 1923 a second pavilion was opened, having cost £45,000 to build. Unfortunately only ten years elapsed before the second pavilion was destroyed in another blaze, followed shortly afterwards by a fire that destroyed the Bijou theatre.

The third pavilion was opened on 18th May 1933, but the theatre was never replaced. Built at a cost of £18,500 in a moderne Art Deco style, the new building was of iron and concrete. It featured a decorative scheme by Mary Adshead. To either side of the Ballroom was a Bar and Cafe; the cafe featuring Art Deco murals by Eric Ravilious



Reference    Manchester City News 3 June 1899 Page 5 Column 3
Reference    Builder 3 June 1899 Page 544 with extensive note
Reference    British Architect 9 June 1899 Page 414 with notes
Reference    Building News 2 June 1899 page 742