As joint patrons of the Friends of the Pavilion Group Pollyanna and former Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom made a very special journey into Nottingham in August. They boarded a 1910 London omnibus (left) – one of only two remaining on the road – which was built in the same year as the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath to deliver a formal bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The package containing the bid – which is the culmination of three years work by the group – was safely delivered through the purple doors by Simon, Pollyanna and Bid co-ordinator Charles Beresford (above centre)
The bid of £3.5 million would enable Matlock Bath's iconic Grand Pavilion to be turned into a community arts venue.
An enthusiastic crowd gathered to wave the bus on its way, accompanied by fanfares and flag waving. Locally based rock band Chase The Rain played songs on the top deck throughout the journey, entertaining the thirty supporters who also made the journey. Pollyanna said “This is a wonderful opportunity to turn a remarkable, but sadly neglected building into a very exciting addition to the area’s facilities and a wonderful resource for the local community. The prospect of a multi function venue which would support exhibitions, theatre, talks, concerts and charitable events would not only enrich the area for the residents but also encourage tourism to the area providing a vital boost for local retailers and businesses.”
Matlock Bath's beautiful but somewhat neglected 1910 pleasure palace has been rescued by this remarkable community campaign and its future – as far as is forseeable – is secure. Run by a charity formed by local people, The Grand Pavilion is already open - even if it is a little bit scruffy! While they wait anxiously for the results of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid which would fund the restoration as a theatre and venue, ‘The Pav’ (as it is fondly known locally) is already open for occasional events. Although Pollyanna was abroad during the annual Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend at the end of May, so could not open her own gallery as usual, her work was exhibited on the walls of the Pavillion, which was the largest Open Arts venue in the county, with around 900 visitors.
In its glory days this unique building hosted Theatre, Comedy and concerts by bands such as Cream and Deep Purple shows. After some years as a nightclub it fell into disuse and disrepair and had been closed for four years before the Friends group took it on. While it was closed the building was even used as a location for an episode of the popular TV show ‘Most Haunted’ – but Pollyanna has yet to see any spirits on any of her visits!