History of the Arlington Ballroom in Southend-on-Sea
A cultural hotspot dating back to the 1920s, The Arlington Ballroom was originally a music hall, where residents of Southend and Leigh could dance, socialise and enjoy live music. Music halls were popular in Britain from the early Victorian era until the early twentieth century, although popularity waned gradually with the advent of radio and cinema. Over the years, The Arlington Ballroom changed hands many times, never quite recapturing its glory days. By 2013, when the ballroom was purchased by local entrepreneurs William and Susan Verner, it had lost its charm and become quite tired.
The Arlington Ballroom Before Its Restoration
A local businessman and former British and European Karate International Champion, William Verner stumbled across the weary building in late 2012. Due to their family affiliations with the ballroom and Latin dancing world, they saw the potential to reinvent the establishment and return it to its former dance hall glory.
Will and Sue made use of their eldest daughter Anna, an art director for the BBC, who helped re-design the space into a truly Art Deco ballroom. The notion of a ‘ballroom’ not only harks back to that glamorous and stylish era, but it felt appropriate to take the building back to its design roots too. It therefore uses the glamorous and stylish Art Deco design tradition throughout. The pieces fell into place not only with the design of the interior, but exterior as well. If you look around the local area, you can see beautiful examples of the 1930s streamline architecture in place already, especially buildings such as Argyll House on Westcliff-on-Sea seafront. The family have rejuvenated a piece of local heritage while keeping true to local history. The renovation project was a long and arduous one, but the final result has made it all worth while, producing a stylish ballroom and function suite that the local area can be proud of.