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Phase 1 complete on restoration of 'Victorian masterpiece' floor at Morecambe Winter Gardens

How the Winter Gardens foyer floor looks after Phase 1 of the restoration. Image: the Morecambe Winter Gardens Facebook page.

The first stage of work to restore a 'masterpiece of Victorian design' inside the Morecambe Winter Gardens has been completed.

Phase 1 of work on the mosaic floor in the theatre foyer has been finished and supporters of the Winter Gardens were impressed when a photo was posted on the theatre Facebook page.

Years of neglect, vandalism and damage meant the foyer floor had to be covered and protected, with fears that it would sustain more damage unless the work was carried out swiftly.

"The final pieces all in the pattern now complete and our amazing restoration team will return to do the final polish after the tiles are settled," said a post on the Winter Gardens Facebook page on Sunday.

"This is phase one of the restoration of our nationally significant tiles design - the next phase will be the foyer friezes, the staircase and other architectural features."

Work began on the full restoration of the foyer tiles, ceramic floor and features inside the Grade II* listed venue last month. 

Here's how the damaged floor looked prior to restoration work.

This came after a £45,000 fundraising target was achieved following a campaign through the online platform Spacehive.

Read more: Work to begin on restoring Morecambe Winter Gardens floor after £45,000 target reached - Beyond Radio

Aside from online donations, the theatre received money from a grant, tombola, cake sales, donations and events including a stand-up comedy night by Lancaster-born TV comedian Jon Richardson.

The cash raised enabled the Winter Gardens to match-fund a £2.8m grant they received from the government and is a major boost towards a five-year plan to restore the building as a fully-open working theatre.

The venue closed in 1977 but has been able to reopen part-time in recent years thanks to the efforts of volunteers and the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, owners of the building on Marine Road Central.

The mosaic floor was designed in 1897 by the Campbell Tile Company and has been described by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, chair of the Trust, as a "masterpiece of Victorian design".

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