THE NEW PIER PAVILION, COLWYN BAY
Architect: Professor S. D. Adshead, M.A., F.R.I.B.A., in collaboration with Mr. W. J. Dunning, M.Inst.C.E.
The front of the pavilion faces West over the bay.
This new pavilion takes the place of one which was destroyed by fire last year, as also was its predecessor.
Particular precautions have therefore been taken to make the new building entirely fireproof, and the construction
has also been designed to give extreme lightness with protection from very severe weather.
This has been effected by a light steel structure, rigidly framed and latticed, the walls and the ceiling being
completed over the main iron skeleton by the use of expanded metal lathing on a steel framing. Great care has been
exercised in the choice and application of materials so as to compensate in some measure for expansion and contraction.
The outside cavity walls are finished on the weather side with coloured cement; on the inner side expanded metal
lathing and expansion rods are finished with pumice-stone concrete, the lightness of pumice in comparison with
more customary aggregates having weighed with the designers. For the purpose of wall decoration plaster work has
been specially treated.
Looking towards the main entrance to the auditorium
The same view in December 2003, a sorry sight.
The verandahs are a prominent feature. There is ample projection to meet weather conditions, and, supported by
cantilevered steelwork from the main structure, this eliminating support from the deck level, they are without the
heaviness so often to be noticed in this type of construction. Asbestos sheeting, supported direct upon the steelwork,
makes the main roof absolutely fireproof: the flat roofs of an improved type of reinforced steel decking have the
same high fire resisting qualities, while all the windows, doors, and other interior fittings are of metal.
The "lay-light" in the ceiling of the auditorium - 30 feet by 12 feet - is entirely suspended from the steel trusses.
General view of the auditorium and lay light in the ceiling
The maple floors are protected against fire by layers of thick asbestos sheeting. Lavatories, kitchen, store rooms etc.,
are finished in terazzo and granolithic paving on expanded metal.
Lighting and heating have had particular care and attention, the electrical equipment being housed in iron boxes,
with the wiring enclosed in galvanised screwed steel tubing, so that there is no risk either of fire or failure of
installation. The stage switchboard is fitted with the latest devices for colour control and dimming, and there is
provision for flood lighting the exterior of the building. To guard against the possibility of a check of the main
electrical supply, there is an auxiliary lighting system connected to storage batteries. Current will be automatically
released to pilot lights if for any reason the main supply fails. The special heating arrangements consist of two modern
gas fired boilers, from which hot water is circulated through radiators. Many of the pipes are arranged under the pier;
others are run alongside the steel roof principals with a view to heating, without obtrusiveness, the upper portion of
the hall and preventing downdraughts. An electrically driven accelerator assists the circulation of water.
Ground floor plan
The design for the auditorium, by Mary Adshead (daughter of Professor Adshead), and carried out under her supervision,
suggests a tent or marquee supported by ornamental poles and ropes, and decorated with a number of abstract motifs
derived from musical instruments and nautical emblems. The colour scheme is grey and white, with some scarlet and
yellow, the dado being vivid emerald green in a scarlet and yellow reticulation. The roof trusses are painted white
with red lines to harmonise with the design. The proscenium, the doors flanking the proscenium, and the windows are
curtained with mole velvet. The doors opposite the proscenium are curtained with green velvet to carry through the
scheme of the green dado. Metal frame canvas seats help to convey the idea of a grand tent or marquee.
The mural decorations by Mary Adshead in the auditorium
Mr Eric Ravilious strikes an original note in the decoration of the tea-room. The theme represents a scene on the
bed of the ocean. Pink and green seaweeds float through the ruins of a submerged palace.
The tea-room wall decoration by Eric Ravilious.
A study by Ravilious for the mural - note the study differs from the actual mural itself and it also shows
two doors - it is possible this could be another mural on the opposite wall, which does have two door ways in it
through to the kitchen.
The auditorium, which has accommodation for between 700 and 750 people, is equipped with a stage suitable for
concert work and light theatrical programmes and has also a floor specially sprung for dancing.
Generally this building gives the impression of striking exactly the right note in the architecture of pleasure.
There is a stimulating gaiety about exterior and interior and there was much wisdom in placing the main facade West,
where it commands the town and bay in just defiance of two unfortunate precedents.
The building was designed by Professor Adshead in collaboration with Mr. Dunning, the Engineer to the Council,
who undertook the entire superintendence of its erection.
The general contractors were:
Horseley Bridge & Thomas Piggott, Ltd.
and the principal sub-contractors and supplier included:
Henry Hope & Sons Ltd. (laylight, main shafts and leaver gearing operating the vents in lantern lights,
also special doors and windows)
The Penmaenmawr & Trinidad Lake Asphalte Co., Ltd. (flat roofs)
Edgar Fitton & Co., Ltd. (heating plant, hot and cold water services)
Musgraves (Liverpool), Ltd. (sanitary fittings)
W.W. Large (plumbing work)
Adams Bros. (Liverpool) Ltd. (plasterwork, painting and decorating)
T.W. Edwards & Sons (maple flooring)
Marbello & Durus, Ltd. (terazzo and granolithic floors)
John Hunter & Co. (electric lighting and fittings)
Holophane, Ltd (stage lighting equipment)
The furnishing and equipment was supplied by:
D. Allen & Sons
Butler & Timmis
G. Bevan & Co.
J. Dicken & Son
Electric Department of the U.D. Council
Gas Department of the U. D. Council
Gaskell & Chambers Ltd.
Kendal Milne & Co.
John May (Sheffield), Ltd.
Rhydwen Jones & Davies.