Winter Gardens, Cleethorpes

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Winter Gardens
North East Lincolnshire,
Coordinates53°33′07″N 0°01′07″W / 53.55194°N 0.01861°W / 53.55194; -0.01861Coordinates: 53°33′07″N 0°01′07″W / 53.55194°N 0.01861°W / 53.55194; -0.01861
OwnerNorth East Lincolnshire Council
TypeEntertainment complex
Genre(s)Music, Dancing, Nightclub

The Winter Gardens in Cleethorpes, England, was an entertainment venue on the town's sea front. It accommodated over 500 people and held conference, dance, dinner and live band events.


Design commenced for the venue as an amusement hall in the 1920s.[1] It started out as the art deco style Olympia in 1934, and it was built with compensation which local railway worker George Eyre received from an accident which resulted in his legs being amputated.[citation needed] George's wife, Rose, owned the land on which Olympia was erected.[citation needed] After the post-war refurbishment in December 1947, the establishment was reopened as the Winter Gardens.[1] The Winter Gardens held a range of events including rock gigs, a Melody Night and a Tea Dance.[2]

On 15 August 2013, plans were unveiled for a £3.5-million housing development on the former Winter Gardens site in Cleethorpes.[3]


Music and showmanship[edit]

Suzi Quatro
Roxy Music
Bryan Ferry
Sex Pistols
The Hamsters
Brix Smith
Black Sabbath
The Stranglers
Thin Lizzy
Doctor Feelgood
Wishbone Ash
Winter Gardens stars

Musicians that played the venue include AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Brix, Caravan, The Clash, Colosseum, Dexys Midnight Runners, Dr. Feelgood, The Damned, Edgar Broughton Band, Egg, Family, Free, Genesis, The Hamsters, Hawkwind, The Heartbreakers, Elton John, Judas Priest, Suzi Quattro, Queen, Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry, the Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, Taste, Thin Lizzy, and Wishbone Ash, some of these up-and-coming during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[4][5][6]

Annual folk festivals were hosted for many years,[when?] featuring concerts, ceilidhs, craft stalls, and workshops and performances by local dance teams.[citation needed] One of the most popular events was presented by the Colin Chamley Band along with local singer Sandra Browne.[citation needed]

Northern soul events also took place at the winter gardens and established it as one of the major venues for Northern Soul in the UK and up there with Wigan Casino and The Twisted Wheel.[citation needed]

Melody Night took place every Wednesday evening, through to 2 am, and was famous throughout the county of Lincolnshire and beyond, thanks to the local economy needing to bring in contractors from all over the country. However its nickname of "The Bags Ball" still lives in the memory of those that frequented it, much more than its official name of "Melody Night".[citation needed]

It also became famous during the early 1990s through to 2001 with the rise of the house music scene, drawing visitors from across the United Kingdom, holding monthly events such as After Eight, Democracy and Freedom, which saw the likes of Italian duo Fulvio Perniola and Gianni Bini of the production team Fathers of Sound, Nigel Benn, JFK, Chris & James, Renaissance (club) DJ's Ian Ossia and Nigel Dawson playing there.[7]


On 28 February 1939, Olympia as the Winter Gardens was known then held its first boxing event in association with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).[8] Many boxing matches have been held in Winter Gardens main room since the late 1970s.[9] Local Grimsby boxing promoter Joe Frater, who was the first black promoter at the time, he organized dinners and many sell out boxing events over the years.[when?][10][11]

Former Grimsby Town player Dave Boylen held sports dinner charity events for the Artie White Foundation at the Winter Gardens since 1997, which saw the likes of Denis Law attend the venue.[12] Other famous footballers included the likes of George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton and his brother Jack Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst, Nobby Stiles to attend the venue.[2]

Horse Racing
Three-times Grand National winner, Red Rum made two guest appearances at the Winter Gardens.[2]

were held annually Winter Gardens has played host to a number of professional wrestling events from 2003 to 2006 under Frontier Wrestling Alliance (FWA), local Grimsby wrestler Stevie Knight competed many times there.[13]


Construction of new apartments begun in June 2015 on the site of the former Winter Gardens

After many years of entertainment The Winter Gardens were closed for good on 15 February 2007.[1] Demolition started in the summer of 2007 through a decision made by North East Lincolnshire Council the previous February.[14] Prior to demolition there had been local representations for and against closure.[15]

After demolition an apartment development began on the site, but was halted because of the economic downturn. In June 2013 the site was still empty, being used as a car park at £4 a day. Work started on the 25 apartments development in June 2015.[16] First phase of the Winter Gardens land redevelopment was completed by April 2018, which consists of three-story town houses.[17]


  1. ^ a b c Ruston, Abby (11 February 2018). "Ten things which were demolished or destroyed in Grimsby – do you miss any?". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Longstaff, Jack (15 February 2017). "Memories of the Winter Gardens which closed 10 years ago today". Grimsby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Corken, Hannah (20 December 2016). "December 20, 1976 – the day the Sex Pistols came to Cleethorpes' Winter Gardens". Grimsby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Cleethorpes mayor dissuaded from Sex Pistols 'Anarchy' tour date". BBC News. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  6. ^ "The Clash Live Cleethorpes Winter Gardens 20 December 1976". Blackmarketclash. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ Thorp, Alex (10 December 2017). "Do you remember Freedom at Cleethorpes Winter Gardens in the 90s?". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Event: Tuesday 28 February 1939 – Olympia, Cleethorpes". BoxRec. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Venue: Winter Gardens, Cleethorpes". BoxRec. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ Kelso, Paul (10 December 2002). "Promoter fights his corner as intimidation stalks the town". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. ^ Hubbard, Alan (3 May 2003). "Boxing: Why Promotin' Joe Frater won't be leaving town". The Independent. London. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  12. ^ Lynch, Connor (15 August 2017). "English football legend Harry Redknapp is coming to Grimsby". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Venue: Winter Gardens, Cleethorpes". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  14. ^ Mark, Dave (13 February 2007). "End for Winter Gardens". The Yorkshire Post. Leeds. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  15. ^ Mark, Dave (9 February 2006). "Seafront flats to replace resort's Winter Gardens". The Yorkshire Post. Leeds. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  16. ^ Kinnaird, Sam (3 June 2015). "Work to start on Winter Gardens site in Cleethorpes this month". Grimsby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 July 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  17. ^ Ruston, Abby (14 April 2018). "Sea views and modern features in new townhouse on Winter Gardens site in Cleethorpes". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 26 April 2018.