Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Rothesay Pavilion 70th anniversary

Rothesay Pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion marked its 70th year this July, having opened on July 1, 1938.

It quickly gained popularity as a wartime venue for dances and similar events, as the Isle of Bute hosted a major naval base during World War II, HMS Varbel, within the Kyle of Bute Hydro, a grand hotel which did not fare so well in the survival stakes, and was demolished some years ago – leaving only its gateposts and a patch of grass to mark its existence.

The building has been listed since 1988, and its category changed from B to A on April 21, 2005, in recognition of being one of the most significant pleasure buildings of the style in the country, and having survived in remarkably intact condition. While it has seen some modification over the years, and lost a number of period details and features, its appearance is substantially unaltered. It has also remained in continuous use during its life.

The Pavilion is owned and operated by Argyll & Bute Council, and is available for hire, and is described as offering spacious and flexible accommodation for a wide range of events and performances. Sadly, even being on an island does little to prevent troublemakers and criminal causing problems, and youth related activities such as discos and similar events are no longer welcome, having been the scenes of various troubles, with violence, drink and drug related problems, and police attendance finally resulting in the end of such events, at least for the time being.

The upper floor hosts a cafe, but this too has ceased operating in recent years, and was still closed the last time we had a wander around the deserted building.

Despite the positive note regarding the building’s listed status, this means nothing in regard to maintaining the building, it provides only status, not the funding needed to go with it, and the Pavilion is in real danger of being lost if not maintained and refurbished. As recently as April 2008, The Buteman reported that pavilion supporters were going to have to fight with other projects if they wanted a chance of getting a share of available funding.

Being worthy and wanted is no guarantee of success, and the Winter Gardens lay derelict for years before they were finally rescued from impending demolition, and restored to become the town’s Discovey Centre for tourists, and cinema too, now that these have all been demolished – also once fine examples of Art Deco architecture like the pavilion, and replaced by ‘luxury flats’. Sound familiar?

You can visit the Rothesay Pavilion web page, which has a gallery of pictures taken in 2001.


July 11, 2008 - Posted by | Civilian | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The Rothesay Pavilion has just celebrated its 70th anniversary. […]


    Pingback by Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 5. The Rothesay Pavilion - A Son of the Rock -- Jack Deighton | October 3, 2008

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