Project: Romance in the Dome

For much of the 20th century Whitley Bay’s Empress Ballroom was a hub of activity where couples and friends met to dance, socialise and have fun.  The Romance in the Dome project, funded by North Tyneside Council and delivered by North Tyneside VODA and Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future (RPRF), captured people’s memories of Whitley Bay’s most iconic building as it undergoes restoration.

In 2015 the project team, including RPRF volunteers, interviewed a number of people whose memories of the Empress Ballroom and the Rotunda were closely linked to their teenage years; growing up, socialising and meeting their future partners.  Their stories provide an insight into the important role the Dome complex played in the area’s social life, the range of activities that took place there over the years and also some of the social norms which influenced how you met and interacted with your friends and future partners.

Molly has everyone in stitches before the interview starts. Interviewers Dorothy and Trish then have to try and bring things under control!

Molly told us: “There was a band on – Harry Atkinson, the resident band – and it was a place where teenagers would go. We would eye up the boys and they would eye up the girls. It used to be such a nice place to go. When you met people there was no bother; they didn’t serve any alcohol, they just had tea or coffee, so there wasn’t any drunkenness and your parents felt ok about you going there.”

Watch the film which was made about the project here:

Click on the image below and read the whole story of project: