The Riviera, Den Crescent, taken 5 years ago
The Riviera is the centrepiece of the short but appealing Den Crescent overlooking the Den.
Grace Griffiths' 'History of Teignmouth', 1989 edition, talks of building going on in the town in the early nineteenth century. "The old Assembly Rooms, built in the late eighteenth century on the site of the present Esplanade House, East Teignmouth, were felt to be inadequate for the new company in the town, and new Rooms, now known as the Riviera, were erected from designs by Patey.
"The new Assembly Rooms where '100 couples could dance at ease' and with many other attractions, were used for balls and other social functions throughout the season … In 1871 the building was handed over to the East Devon Club. In the twentieth century it was converted to a cinema and is now used as a cinema, bingo hall and for similar purposes."
Since that was written the Riviera has been privately redeveloped. It is believed that the upper floors have been converted to apartments, and penthouse apartments added although none of them appear convincingly occupied. The owner is seeking a use for the cinema space, presumably the former grand ballroom.
In the view of this observer Teignbridge District Council should have bought the building when it had been derelict for so many years and secured a Lottery grant to create a contemporary version of the Assembly Rooms for the community and visitors: meeting and function rooms, a gallery, a theatre/cinema, bar and café – such as many towns enjoy.