Tomorrow (August 29) at 8am Mayor of Ramsgate Cllr Trevor Shonk and the Mayoress Mandy Shonk will officially opens Wetherspoon’s biggest UK pub on Ramsgate seafront.
The Royal Victoria Pavilion had languished empty and neglected since 2008 when Rank Leisure casino moved to Westwood Cross. In 2011 serious damage was caused by a fire and the building was listed on the Victorian Societies’ Building at Risk Register in 2013. These photos, taken by Barry James in 2015, show the extent of deterioration inside the historic building before Wetherspoon started work on it.
Planning permission for the pub was granted last year and a lease deal with Thanet council came soon afterwards.
Work at the premises began last September and included a new zinc roof installed on the large main roof, in keeping with the original building, and the reinstatement of the pavilion’s classic dormer oriel windows.
The grade II listed building has been carefully restored in a £4.5 million project, working to photographs and designs, keeping as close as possible to the original concept, designed by notable architect Stanley Davenport Adshead and originally completed in 1903.
When does it open and what will the hours be?
The Royal Victoria Pavilion opens officially tomorrow (August 29) at 8am.It will be open from 8am until midnight Sunday to Wednesday and 8am until 1am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Food will be served throughout the day, from opening until 11pm, every day.
It will be open for family dining, with children, accompanied by an adult, welcome in the pub up until 9pm, throughout the week.
Staff have been training with a ‘soft’ opening running Friday to yesterday (August 27) where people with pre-opening vouchers were able to visit for food and drinks (Video by Adam Dark below)..
The pub, and Ramsgate seafront, was hit by a power cut yesterday evening meaning the last session was unable to run.
Manager Chris Whitbourn said it was disappointing to have to close yesterday evening but all is on track for tomorrow.
What can customers expect?
The pub will specialise in real ales, as well as craft and world beers, serving a wide range of different draught ales, as well as bottled beers, including those from local and regional brewers.
The building will be wheelchair accessible and have a specially-adapted toilet for people with disabilities, on the ground floor.
The new-look venue, on the site of the former dance hall and then casino, features two floors and two bars. There is a ground floor rear beer garden, where smoking will be permitted in a designated area, as well as a first-floor roof terrace.
Historical photos and details, as well as artwork and images of local scenes and characters of the area, are displayed inside, together with information boards about local history, including details on both the building and town.
Specially commissioned artworks, by local artist Julia Baxter, are also on display, as well as pieces by other isle artists including a limited edition print by Leise Wilson, original prints by Dawn Cole and original paintings by Dave Mullet.
Managers Chris Whitbourn and Charlotte Mason head up around 150 staff at the site, which has a customer area of almost 11,000 square foot, plus a ground floor and first floor terrace.
Royal Victoria Pavilion- the first opening day
This property was built as a concert hall and assembly rooms, on the site of an old stone yard. It is said to have been built in six weeks. The opening ceremony was performed by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, on 29 June 1904.
She was greeted at the railway station by large crowds and given a golden key to open the grand Pavilion. It was named in memory of her mother, Queen Victoria, who had spent several summers in Ramsgate as a young princess, a name which continues in the name of the new pub.