The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
Shown in the picture above is the Grand Pavilion, perhaps the least well known of Rhyl’s various pavilions. As you can see, the Grand Pavilion stood on the promenade walkway, at the shore end of the pier. It was built by the private company that owned the pier.
The Grand Pavilion opened in 1891 as a concert hall; public meetings and exhibitions were held there. The auditorium could hold up to 3,000 people, and its theatre organ was reputed to be the largest in the world. Conceived as rather upmarket sort of place, it slid downmarket eventually as Rhyl began to cater more for working people on short holidays rather than the middle classes.
By the end of the decade, the Grand Pavilion was hosting ‘music hall’ and variety shows, but failed to become very profitable. In 1901, after only ten years in use, it was destroyed by fire. Being made of wood, it made a fine blaze; the organ was damaged beyond repair.
The Grand Pavilion shows that the seaside tradition of building funny-looking things on the promenade stretches back a long way. Also, it serves as an early example of how something unprofitable can catch fire – entirely by coincidence.
In due course in that location the Pier Amphitheatre was built and later rebuilt, and eventually became the Gaiety Theatre. At present the site is occupied by the Seaquarium. Please click here for info: www.seaquarium.co.uk/rhyl.php