Fill the Void

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Artist Helaina Sharpley created a large scale artwork depicting Llandudno Pier and the Pier Pavilion as it would have looked in bygone years.

At 700m Llandudno pier is the longest in Wales. It was designed by Brunlees and McKerrow and opened to the public in 1878. The Pier Pavilion Theatre had an amazing history, first as a concert hall with the Rivière’s Orchestra [1886-1936], then as the home of fabulous variety shows till the 1960s. It was a hub of culture and entertainment for the community . In later years such household names as George Formby, Petula Clark, the Beverley Sisters and Cliff Richard all appeared at the Pier Pavilion. In 1994 it was ravaged by fire, leaving just the ornate wrought iron supports standing.

We wanted to capture the history and memories of this ‘Lost Space’ and ask the community to contribute ideas about what the future development of this “Lost Space” could bring to the town. Over the course of two days we talked to people and captured thoughts and ideas on our billboard.

We also heard some fantastic stories: Several people vividly remembered the night the Pier Pavilion burnt down, which was clearly a very dramatic and emotional experience for all who witnessed it. It was only thanks to favourable prevailing winds and the attendance of fire crews from across the region, that the Pier , the Grand and the surrounding hotels were saved.

Many people had specific memories of going to the Pavilion for school shows and awards ceremonies. We were told that the Pavilion used house a “London Dungeon” attraction in the cellar, which was run by a young man who looked like Elvis, who left a lasting impression on several teenage girls!

People talked about memorable shows they had seen at the Pier Pavilion Theater, which included the legendary Malcolm Sargeant and we even spoke to a very sprightly 93 year old , who had worked there after the war.

Opinions and ideas about the future of the space were varied and we have archived them all here for you to look at.

About the artist

Helaina, who is based in West Yorkshire, creates two-dimensional and three-dimensional wirework pieces for galleries and personal commissions in the UK and internationally. She is particularly influenced by the elegance of Edwardian and Victorian Architecture. Her work has won awards at the British Craft Trade Fair, showcasing the best of contemporary British Craft and Art, and artist David Hockney owns two pieces of her work.

This post is also available in: Welsh