Residents are being reassured that Denbighshire County Council has found no evidence of Little Venice within Queen’s Buildings and it will continue to preserve historical elements of the buildings still intact.
Since the council took over the building in 2019 no evidence of Little Venice has been found and the previous owners who had the building for a number of years before had never found any remains or evidence of the attraction either.
Due to the lack of maintenance from previous ownership, most of the Queen’s Buildings are now beyond economic repair so the council is currently carrying out demolition works with development partners Wye Valley to recover the site.
The works began on January 25 and it is expected to be completed during the summer.
Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council and Lead Member for the Economy, 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 throughout 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, 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.
Colin 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.”
For the most up to date information about projects involved in the Rhyl regeneration programme, please visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/rhyl-regeneration