History: The Jubilee Hall in Poundbury

The Jubilee Hall during The Dorset Food & Arts Festival 2017
The Jubilee Hall during The Dorset Food & Arts Festival 2017

Taking elements of the past and making something new has been at the very heart of Poundbury since its creation

Nowhere else is this better demonstrated than with Jubilee Hall in Queen Mother Square.

Inside you’ll find major structural elements, decorative fragments and relics all recycled from Weymouth’s demolished Royal Jubilee Hall.

The Royal Jubilee Hall was erected in 1887 to commemorate the 50 year reign of Queen Victoria.

Over the years it had many uses. In 1900, it was converted to a theatre and ran a weekly routine of variety, music hall, plays, revues and movies.

Impresario Albany Ward changed the name to Royal Jubilee Hall which ran to 1926 as a variety theatre.

From then on it found life as a new cinema/theatre, The Regent, built by famed WE Trent within the framework of Royal Jubilee Hall.

It gave way to bingo some time in the 1970s and despite a spirited campaign from local environmentalist Dr Geoffrey Poole, it was finally demolished in 1989.

The hall’s structurally important features were retained and laid to rest, exposed to weather, in a quarry at Perryfields, Portland and nearly forgotten.

This was until 2011, when there was an inspired idea by the Duchy of Cornwall and Woodpecker Properties to recover some of these historic relics and incorporate them in Jubilee Hall at Queen Mother Square.

After a careful restoration of the cast iron columns and brackets, the building is now complete and the Duchy of Cornwall had plans to turn it into a local producers’ market.

Not in any sense a reconstruction of the past, Jubilee Hall is very much a new building in its own right yet carries the unmistakable feel of its ancestry. This concept was first echoed by The Prince of Wales in his 1989 book, A Vision Of Britain. Here, The Prince expressed his admiration for a new shopping centre in Skipton called Craven Court, which utilised a Victorian-looking roof over an old street.

The memorable HRH The Queen’s visit to open Queen Mother Square in 2016 saw Jubilee Hall host a special photo exhibition commissioned by the Duchy of Cornwall. The exhibition featured the people who live and work in Poundbury and was visited by Her Majesty The Queen during the royal visit. The doors of Jubilee Hall were then open to the public to visit the exhibition for a day in December 2016.

It has also featured prominently in the last two years, as a venue for part of the Dorset Food and Arts Festival.


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