The history of the Pavilion is a checkered one with highs and lows over its long life. The Tower Gardens Pavilion was opened in 1879 having been commissioned by the Earl of Scarbrough as part of his ‘Pleasure Gardens’. In its heyday the building provided the town’s largest dance, party and concert accommodation. The Pavilion has also been used for an auction house, a flag manufacturer and in more recent years as an American diner and a pub. Its last use was as the Inn on the Park, a pub that was in business on the premises from 1998 until 2007. Since then it has stood mainly empty with limited use by the scouts and part is still used by a nursery.
In 2009 East Lindsey District Council commissioned an Options Appraisal study that involved community consultation about the future of the Pavilion. This was valuable work and highlighted a number of uses the community would like for the building but did not come up with a sustainable plan that was able to translate into action.
By 2014 East Lindsey District Council were considering the cost of demolition as an option to deal with the building. This prompted a bit of an outcry from parts of the community and the Tower Gardens Preservation Group was formed to launch a petition to save the building. They made an application to take the building under a Community Asset Transfer and a Broad strokes document was submitted in February 2014. A full business plan was required to be submitted by May 2015 unfortunately as of the present time their aspirations have not materialised into a viable plan.
In 2015 ELDC asked the Skegness Partnership CIC to put in a bid to look at the overall feasibility of the site on behalf of the Save the Pavilion Group. The Partnership did so and was successful in securing funding. At a similar time Skegness Town Council started to consider its own accommodation requirements, in light of the risk that ELDC may dispose of the Town Hall which has very high running costs and to consider the option of relocating to a redeveloped Tower Garden Pavilion.
In 2019 ELDC transferred the site to Skegness Town Council and construction works began in the summer to bring a new, multi use building to the park. The building will include a hall, a cafe, a full ‘Changing Places’ disability toilet suite, and an office for the Town Council.