This stunning domed building used to be where Weymouth Pavilion stands now.

The Ritz Theatre was beautiful to look at and was a perfect venue for enjoying entertainment in town. People even used to rollerskate at the Ritz!

Dorset Echo:

The Ritz in 1910

Rare shots of the inside show that it was not just the outside that looked special. The ornate decoration of the ceiling lent elegance to the Ritz, as did the splendour of the balconies. The screen pulled down to cover the stage was used for advertising.

Dorset Echo:

The grand interior of the main auditorium of the Ritz

At other times, however, the team went for an ad-free scenic image.

Dorset Echo:

The Safety Curtain was used for advertising - this image is from 1950

One of these images taken in 1910 even shows the Ritz’s glorious tearooms, which were thought to be where Weymouth Pavilion’s Ocean Room is now.

Dorset Echo:

The tea rooms in 1910

Tragically, on April 13, 1954, this beautiful building was no more. A massive fire left it burnt beyond repair.

Dorset Echo:

The Ritz on fire

Various images give some idea of the scale of the fire. Huge plumes of thick smoke raged from the wooden structure as crowds of spectators stood helplessly watching the beautiful building burn away.

Dorset Echo:

People gather outside the Ritz and watch the fire

Photos of the charred interior reflect on the words printed the following day in the then Dorset Daily Echo and Weymouth Dispatch.

It read: “Blackened, twisted girders hang crazily where once was the moulded ceiling; hopelessly distorted steel is all that remains of the comfortable upholstered steel seats, and black ashes only remain of the heavy curtains and deep pile carpets.”

Dorset Echo:

The Ritz's burnt out interior

These photos are part of Terry Gale’s collection, who acquired these images from various sources.

Another picture, taken after the fire, shows rebuilding work underway with only cranes to be seen.

Dorset Echo:

Rebuilding work underway