More than 150 people enjoyed a first-hand look at the rapid changes taking place inside the Spanish City Dome.
North Tyneside Council, in partnership with Robertson Construction and architecture firm ADP, held a number of guided ‘hard hat and photography tours’ on Friday and Saturday (24 and 25 November).
It was the last round of public tours to take place before the building reopens next summer (2018) as a unique, new visitor destination.
A total of 24 tours have been opened up to the public since restoration work began last autumn (2016).
More than 450 people have been lucky enough to secure a spot – with all places allocated using an online randomiser.
Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Norma Redfearn said: “When we set out on this journey we wanted as many people as possible to witness the progress being made for themselves as we know how important the Dome is to everybody.
“I am delighted that we have managed to offer tours while the work has been taking place and I would like to thank our partners, Robertson and ADP, for their help in making them happen.
“Every single tour has been a huge success, everyone has been so complimentary and got so much out of it – like most people, I just can’t wait to see the work finished and the building restored to its former glory before reopening next summer.”
During the latest round of tours, groups were able to see recent changes, including new paintwork inside and outside and progress of the new east and west extensions with floor-to-ceiling windows providing spectacular views.
One of the participants, Alison Spedding, of North Shields, said: “I was delighted to have been selected from over 1,000 applicants for the latest round of tours of the Dome.
“It's great that the Dome is being restored and developed in such a spectacular way - and I was greatly impressed with the lengths that they are going to in order to retain some of the original features.
“The opening up from the floor to the top of the Dome will restore the Rotunda to its original state and will be a fantastic space.
“The tour was extremely interesting and I was really pleased to hear that most of the materials and labour are being sourced locally as far as possible.
“I honestly can't wait for the Dome to open and see what a fantastic job has been done with the building.”
Others were equally as full of praise with the following feedback received afterwards:
“Fantastic! Absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to see it finished. You’re doing an amazing job and should be very proud.”
“Thank you so much for the thoughtfulness, care and passion you’re all putting into this project. Can’t wait to see it completed!”
“Fantastic that the building is being so lovingly restored … can’t wait to see it finished.”
“Absolutely lovely to see life being brought back to the Dome. Thank you so much – you should be proud of all you’ve achieved.”
“Good to see that they are maintaining the original where possible and that new structures are following original designs.”