A £500,000 restoration scheme has been completed at a historic building in South Tyneside.
Work on the grand ballroom at Jarrow Civic Hall brought to a close an 18-month revamp of the Victorian complex.
Owner John Knowles, who bought the building from South Tyneside Council in 2011, said: “This has been a big project, but the ballroom is at last completed.
“We have carried out extensive repairs to the roof and ceiling and restored the original sprung dancefloor.
“It has been a very big and costly undertaking, but we are very pleased with the final result.”
Originally the Mechanics’ Institute, which included a library used by workers at the old Palmers Shipyard, the building, in Ellison Street, Jarrow, became known for its dances in its grand ballroom from the 1930s onwards, where many romances blossomed.
But the building had fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years before being taken over by local shopkeeper Mr Knowles.
Apart from completing the building, Mr Knowles has also announced he has sold the Sir Charlie’s Restaurant in the building to Italian food business Martinos, which has restaurants in Sunderland and Seaham.
Mr Knowles added: “To be honest, it has been busy and quite difficult running all of Jarrow Civic Hall, and it was always our intention to hand the restaurant on to an experienced chain.
“Martinos was one of several companies who came forward, and they seemed to be the best choice.”
Martinos will open for business at Jarrow Civic Hall on April 11.
Meanwhile, Jarrow singer and multi-instrumentalist Tony McNally will appear at Jarrow Civic Hall at 7.30pm tomorrow.
The show includes a buffet supper and tickets are £10 at the door.