Thursday, 6 October 2011

WHITLEY BAY

Here’s a brain-teaser for those old enough to remember chart-topping songs from the early 80s. Which band wrote these lyrics: “And girl it looks so pretty to me just like it always did//Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids.” (** Answer at the bottom.) You may wonder why I am banging on about a Spanish City when I’m supposed to be blogging about the Tyne and Wear coast. Well, during the 20th century Spanish City was Whitley Bay’s answer to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Suitably whitewashed, with a huge dome on top, giving it the appearance of a Brighton Pavilion gone wrong, the Spanish City was a permanent funfair which was first opened in 1910, initially as a concert hall and roof garden with refreshment facilities. A ballroom was added later, then later still the funfair. The complex was closed in the early 2000s, having seen better days. However, there is now a plan to regenerate the site. Earlier this year, it was predicted that the regeneration would “pump millions of pounds into the economy”. Let’s hope this prediction proves true, because this economically troubled part of the country could do with a helping hand.

Whitley Bay’s history goes way back beyond the creation of Spanish City, with its first mention around 1100 during the time of King Henry I. Along with Cullercoats, it developed into a seaside resort around 200 years ago, with many day-trippers making the short journey from Newcastle to enjoy a relaxing spell on Whitley Bay’s seafront with its golden sandy beach. More recently, the town’s nightlife has made it a magnet for Stag and Hen parties, no doubt to the consternation of local residents.

For a list of events in Whitley Bay and surrounding area, see here.

**Answer: Dire Straits (Tunnel of Love).

Map of the area.

'Whitley Bay' photo (c) 2010, Glen Bowman - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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