Client: North Tyneside Council
Architect: Capita
Contractor: Robertson Construction

Whitley Bay’s Spanish City restored to former glory

The rejuvenation of the Spanish City promenade represents a key component of North Tyneside Council’s Coastal Regeneration Strategy. Hardscape worked closely with landscape architects, Capita, to develop an appropriate solution for this historic location. 

Situated in the seaside town of Whitley Bay, the Spanish City is now a heritage site. Opened in 1910, the landmark domed building was home to a concert hall, restaurant, roof garden and tearooms. Featuring a permanent funfair, the Spanish City was originally conceived as a smaller version of Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach. 

Hardscape applied modern landscaping techniques and several Artscape methods to bring the seafront promenade back to life. Flamed Magma Granite paving offsets a series of solid Crystal Black Granite units, skillfully crafted by Hardscape. These base units support curved wooden benches and create a unique public seating area. The wavelike slopes of the benches evoke the movement of the former fairground rides. 

A selection of these distinctive amusement names, such as Figure 8, Mystic Maze and The Social Whirl, appear in custom font on the base of each bench. Hardscape etched the lettering into the granite units using a sandblasting technique that mixes pressurised air with an abrasive, to delicately remove layers from the stone. The letters were then highlighted in a vibrant white paint. 

The paving bands of the new amphitheatre display lines from the 1981 Dire Straits hit, ‘The Tunnel of Love’, a song which immortalised the Spanish City. Hardscape fashioned these poignant lyrics with a waterjet inlay of Royal White Granite onto Crystal Black. 

Strategically positioned spotlighting accentuates the craft of the Artscape processes involved and ensures that the site’s playful messaging remains visible after dark. 

Techniques & Materials Used

Artscape etched and painted lettering on Crystal Black Granite benches, waterjet lettering inlays in Royal White Granite on Crystal Black, flamed Magma Granite paving with Royal White Granite copings and corduroy tactiles.