Posted: Mon 22nd Feb 2021

Denbighshire Council says no evidence of ‘Little Venice’ waterway in Rhyl’s Queen’s Buildings

North Wales news and information

Denbighshire County Council says it’s found no evidence of the rumoured “Little Venice” waterway within Rhyl’s Queen’s Buildings.

Unverified accounts of the existence of the 1900s themed attraction underneath the building have been floating round for many years.

But council officials have moved to dispel the myth as they say they have found no evidence of it being there since taking over the property in 2019.

They said the previous owners had never found any remains of the attraction either.

Due to the lack of maintenance from previous ownership, most of the Queen’s Buildings are now reported to be beyond economic repair.

The council is currently carrying out demolition works with developers Wye Valley to reclaim the site.

The works began on January 25 and it is expected to be completed during the summer.

Council leader Hugh Evans OBE has reassured residents it will continue to preserve historical elements of the buildings which are still intact.

He said: “After thorough inspections and due to extreme damage we have had to start demolishing all of the Queen’s Buildings apart from the Queens Chambers on Sussex Street.

“We are working with contractors to save the few historical items that remain in the buildings, however since taking ownership it has become clear that most items are beyond repair.

“We respect the history of the Queen’s Buildings and we will continue to retain as much of the buildings as we can throughout the development of this key catalyst project within the wider Rhyl Regeneration programme.

“The buildings play a vital part in benefiting the economy throughout Denbighshire and I am glad the works allow it to continue as part of Rhyl’s future.”

Plans have been put in place to save as many items during the refurbishment of the site as possible, including conserving sections of the ceilings in the Theatre and Queen’s Market.

A complete section of the balustrade from the mezzanine is also set to be preserved, as well as a section from the Queen’s Market former ballroom sprung floor.

Rhyl historian Colin Jones has been informing the council about the history of the building from his many years of study.

He said: “From my studies, I can confirm Little Venice was an exhibition in the basement of Queen’s Palace, which was based on a bigger exhibition in London, but there was nothing at a lower level such as an ‘underground river’.

“The Little Venice exhibition remained in the basement for two or three seasons and was then taken out and replaced by a miniature version of Constantinople (Istanbul) which was long gone before the fire in 1907.”



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