Construction & Property

Published: October 18, 2019 | Updated: October 18, 2019

Six figure restoration turns historic cricket pavilion into stunning business venue

The restored viewing gallery at Bournemouth’s Cooper Dean Pavilion, now renamed the Gallery at Dean Park, which offers spectacular views over the 6.5 acre former Dorset and Hampshire cricket ground.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

One of Bournemouth’s most historic buildings has been sympathetically restored to create a stunning business venue.

A 14 month project has resulted in the viewing gallery at the town’s Grade 2 listed Cooper Dean Pavilion being reopened for the first time in over two decades.

Steeped in history, the renamed Gallery at Dean Park looks out over 6.5 acres of the former Dorset and Hampshire cricket ground which once hosted players from the legendary W.G. Grace and Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji (‘Ranji’) through to Prince Philip.

The newly refurbished meeting and conference space, complete with break-out rooms and catering facilities, is now available for business use.

The total cost of the restoration, including the Gallery at Dean Park, ran into six figures.

The newly renamed Gallery at Dean Park can hold up to 40 people.

A limited company, Dean Park Early Years Training and Development Ltd, has been launched by Dean Park Day Nursery, in association with Park School.

The new venture, which trades under the name Dean Park Training, will hire out the meeting facilities to local businesses and also offer training packages for early years’ practitioners and educators.

A picture dating from 1914 with the Cooper Dean Pavilion hosting Bournemouth Cricket Week.

The training programme will be led by Kelly Yates, Dean Park Day Nursery’s Nursery Manager, who has more than 20 years’ experience teaching in the early years and primary sectors.

She said: “We’re excited to celebrate with Bournemouth’s thriving business community and fellow early years’ professionals after what has been many months of hard work and passion to restore and revive such an important piece of Bournemouth’s local history.”

The restored Gallery at Dean Park can hold up to 40 people and features three large panes of glass ranging in size from 385cms x 228cms to 253cms x 228cms.

A crane was used to install the glass, allowing spectacular views over the Dean Park ground which dates back to Victorian times.

It was used for lawn tennis, croquet and athletics from 1869 with cricket first played in 1871.

Park School, an independent day school for pupils aged two to 11 years based on the edge of Queen’s Park, acquired the lease of the site from the Cooper Dean Trust in 2014 for a seven figure sum.

It has since been used for sport by Dean Park Day Nursery, Park School and a range of other local schools.

Melanie Dowler, Headteacher, said: “The revitalisation of the Pavilion and the opening of the Gallery begins a new chapter in the history of the ground and offers so many opportunities for local businesses and educators to connect and benefit the future of local children.”

The team behind Dean Park Training: Bryony Smyth, Melanie Dowler, Kelly Yates and Andrew Main.

Local traders involved in the restoration included Marco Windows (glass), George Sexton (insulation and fittings) and Carl Hunt (flooring).

Bryony Smyth, a Director of Park School and Dean Park Day Nursery, said: “We are very pleased with the final result which will ensure this wonderful building is enjoyed by future generations.”

The Gallery at Dean Park is now available for hire with costs ranging from £175 for a twilight booking (6pm to 9pm) to £350 for a full day.

More details can be found at