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I remember being taken to the pantomime at the Ritz

Monday, March 17, 2008

I remember being taken to the pantomime at the Ritz as it then was.
This would have been in 1952/3.I was only 4 or 5 at the time and I
think I may have gone on two successive years. The one I particularly
remember was in 1953 which would have been the last one before the
fire. I don't remember the name of the panto but I do remember the
potted palms and the red carpet in the foyer. The auditorium seemed
huge and I can remember looking up at the ceiling and seeing the
inside of the dome. There was also a man in an animal suit, possibly
monkey, who ran around the aisles encouraging audience participation.

The next memory is of standing at the top of Everest Road with my
mother and sister watching the Ritz on fire and seeing the dome
My father was an officer with Dorset Fire Brigade and was the
mobilising officer on the day of the fire. He always said that the
fire brigade were concerned when the building was later demolished as
they had worked valiantly to save as much as possible and there was
little damage to the foyer and ballroom and the auditorium could have
been rebuilt. The rapid spread of the fire was caused through its
wooden construction.

Geoff Pritchard

"Package Deal" Band

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just like to say how much I enjoyed the 'pavilion past' website and video.

I have attached a couple of photos you may be interested in, they were taken in the ballroom and are of groups I was with, the first is the "Package Deal" Band about 1967/68, and the second is "Hexagon" sometime in the early ninties.
Package Deal Band

Hexagon sometime in the early ninties
Thanks again and good luck with the project.
Andy Prior

booklet/DVD launch in local press

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pavilion memories are recorded on film story in the local paper, the Echo. By Miriam Phillips on Tuesday 4th March 2008.

Follow the link to see the story and photo of us all celebrating the launch of the booklet/DVD.

Karen Bidwell was also interviewed by WessexFM.

Pavilion Past project booklet/DVD released

Saturday, March 08, 2008

This booklet and film is the result of a creative digital:works project that was developed in association with Westfield Technology College, with funding from the Local Heritage Initiative. It allowed two schools to work closely together for the first time in their history. It has also helped the schools build links with educational resources in the area such as Dorset History Centre and greater links with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

Over an 18-month period Joe Stevens, the digital:works artist involved throughout, worked with young people, volunteers and teachers from Westfield Technology College and St Andrew's Primary School. The project saw the children interviewing local residents about their memories of the Pavilion. More than 50 children aged seven to eleven filmed the interviews themselves, which were then put on to the DVD. They also carried out practical investigations into the historic uses of the building, which was once named The Ritz, by looking at books and old newspapers.

David Sekers from the Heritage Lottery Fund said the £8,400 donation for the project was money well spent. He said: "The project hugely rewarding and really heart warming because it shows that every generation wants to find out about their roots and it is inspiring that the children were so interested in their heritage."

Local artist Joe Stevens came up with the idea for the project two years ago and said it has been thoroughly worthwhile and paid tribute to the hard work of both the children and the teaching staff. He said, “this project is a very good example of successful partnerships working. In particular the children from each school have joined forces and worked as a team.”

Inclusion co-ordinator at the college Karen Bidwell said the project will become part of a local archive for years to come. She added: "The children were really passionate about searching for important memories and also how life was in Weymouth as far back as 1908."

Nerys Watts, South West Regional Manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund said “This is yet another example of what the younger generation can achieve given the opportunity, and how the exploration of their heritage has enabled these young people to develop a greater sense of identity, and an appreciation of the diversity and breadth of their heritage, which they are sharing with a wider audience.”

If you would like to get a copy of this booklet/DVD contact Westfield Technology College on 01305 833518 or email joe@pavilionpast.org.uk.

One fine morning in April

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tony Bugler told us of his experience one fine morning in April as he looked to the south towards the pavilion he saw a column of smoke rising from the roof of the Ritz. Taking a rowing boat, he rowed across the bay to investigate. By the time he reached the Ritz the whole building was fully ablaze. He could not get very close because of the great heat. It was a tragic sight that this lovely building should disappear before my very eyes. A friend from the Isle of Wight told him that she had heard the news on the radio. An hour later the Ritz was completly gutted only the frontage and foyer suvived.