Winter Gardens, Morecambe

After playing several summer seasons in the 1980’s as an organist – and playing and demonstrating for Yamaha, Technics and Hammond at national organ shows – David now occasionally deputises as guest organist at the famous Winter Gardens in Morecambe.

Originally known as the Victoria Pavilion and Oriental Ballroom, the Winter Gardens in Morecambe was opened to the public in 1897. The Grade II listed building is one of the North’s oldest and most iconic buildings for music and entertainment and its history is a “roll call of stars of popular music and variety theatre”. Known as the ‘Albert Hall of the North’, when it opened, it was one of the UK’s largest entertainment venues – with its 118ft roof span – with its 2,500 capacity.

Over the years, it’s seen the likes of Sir Edward Elgar, the Halle Orchestra, Shirley Bassey, The Rolling Stones, Max Wall, Beryl Reid, Billy Connolly, George Formby, Adam Faith, Laurel and Hardy, The Shadows, Matt Monroe, The Who, Tony Hancock, Abbott & Costello, Dame Julie Andrews, Frankie Howerd, Morecambe & Wise, Frank Randall, Vera Lynn, Ambrose and his Orchestra, Lonnie Donegan, Dame Joan Hammond, Lonnie Donegan, Thora Hird, Max Wall, Laurel & Hardy, Al Read, Jack Watson, Spike Milligan, all grace its stage.

There have been many owners and operators of the Winter Gardens over the decades, and it went from thriving to derelict, and now it’s thriving again thanks to its new governance, the Preservation Trust with the help of their restoration volunteers and the Friends of the Winter Gardens who are slowly restoring this remarkable building – that’s been a mecca of music and entertainment – back to its former glory.

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