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Trebaruna

Sea Life Centre Brighton

In the 1920's a large ballroom was build in the back of the aquarium for dacing was very fashionable back then. After the war (military used the aquarium) the whole thing was a bit neglected and in a bad state. In 1967 the first dolphins arrived. They used to be in a small pool near the entrance (today the giftshop). But because they were so popular, they build a bigger show-tank, at the location of the ballroom. The last couple of dolphins left for the Turks and Caicos islands when sea life to over the aquarium (somewhere in the 1990's i guess?). After that the show-tank was turned into a coralreef with sharks, green turtles etc. Very well done! You can see them from above but also under water (including through a standard sea life glass tunnel)

Sea Life Centre Brighton
Trebaruna, 13 Jan 2009
    • Trebaruna
      In the 1920\'s a large ballroom was build in the back of the aquarium for dacing was very fashionable back then. After the war (military used the aquarium) the whole thing was a bit neglected and in a bad state.
      In 1967 the first dolphins arrived. They used to be in a small pool near the entrance (today the giftshop). But because they were so popular, they build a bigger show-tank, at the location of the ballroom.
      The last couple of dolphins left for the Turks and Caicos islands when sea life to over the aquarium (somewhere in the 1990\'s i guess?). After that the show-tank was turned into a coralreef with sharks, green turtles etc. Very well done! You can see them from above but also under water (including through a standard sea life glass tunnel)
    • sealion
      ...and they still have all the seating from the show!
    • Cat-Man
      i'd love dolphins to be back in the Uk, But the aquarium have done a grand job in converting this pool/room from a Dolphinarium to a Shark encounter with a classic sealife tunnel
    • johnstoni
      I wouldn't put it quite like that, I think this isn't really the sort of environment I'd like to see sharks or marine turtles kept in to be honest.
    • John Dineley
      The area was also a car museum prior to being the dolphinarium. The small original dolphin pool was then used for sea lions:

      Brighton Aquarium & Dolphinarium

      Yes the last two animals where involved in ill-fated Into The Blue project:

      INTO THE BLUE

      [​IMG]
    • sealion
      It would be great if they could somehow creat a glass roof over the take, giving the turtles and fish some light during the day, I think it would be quite spectacular. The only problem is that i'm pretty sure the room is too far underground for anything like that. :(
    • John Dineley
      Actually it is on street level. If you could look to your left in the picture there are blocked out windows which look out onto the seafront. When the dolphinarium was operational they were blacked out during shows as the dolphinarium had stage lighting and also a water display at the end of the performances. The picture below shows a photo from the stage and you can see day-light even though the black-out blinds are in the closed position. Outside shows the windows did give quite a bit of light, enough for the public to see the dolphins.

      The roof of the dolphinarium from the outside was actually a promenade where you could walk. It has since been built on. There were plans to build a large ‘glass’ dome over the pool when the new dolphin keeping standards came in but, of course, this never happened.

      I have put up a paper on my web site that was published at the time explaining the water treatment system of the 'new' dolphin pool which has a plan of the pool within it.

      http://www.aquaticmammalsjournal.org/share/AquaticMammalsIssueArchives/1973/Aquatic_Mammals_1_3/Wallis.pdf

      It has to said that for it's time - 42 years ago - Brighton Dolphinarium was quite 'state of the art' and they did spend quite a bit of money on it - £250,000.

      Which is supported by the fact that it is still structurally sound enough to be used today.


      [​IMG]

      Brighton Aquarium & Dolphinarium
    • sealion
      I see. I've had a look at my old guidebook and i've found a photo that clearly shows the white strips as being blinds (I had thought they were some kind of 60s decoration before!) and I can clearly see that there are windows along the top of the wall because a bit of the blind is broken!
      After only visiting the Aquarium after it was converted into a Sealife centre I had always got the impression that this room was underground due to the windowless walls/steps around it. (Now that I think of it I think there are steps up from the main aquarium hall to this tank!)

      The current outside of the Aquarium doesn't give much away though.
      http://www.brighton-net.com/n1pics/sealife3.jpg

      It's a shame they didn't make people more aware of the windows or use them more because many articles and websites state that the Brighton Dolphins were kept underground. Next time i'm in Brighton I may have to go on a hunt to see if I can find window evidence from outside!
      EDIT: I don't even need to go there, i've found the perfect tool! Google Street View! (I knew this would come in handy!)
      General View:
      brighton - Google Maps

      some suspicious windows and a vent on ground level:
      brighton - Google Maps

      sealife seem to own a lot of old "windows" but these aren't shaped like the dolphinarium ones.
      brighton - Google Maps

      blank windows carry on...
      brighton - Google Maps
    • John Dineley
      Yes this is outside of the old dolphinarium and the windows have been boarded up. Ironic really that Sealife have effectively stopped any natural day-light getting to their main tank. The previous photo also showed the second entrance to the aquarium which is now disused.

      If you have a look at the making of The Fruit Machine at Flamingoland you will see the artificial wall the designers put up gives you good idea what the original Brighton windows looked like - obviously they went to the aquarium and copied them for the film set.

      Flamingoland - Location filming The Fruit Machine

      [​IMG]
    • sealion
      Ah yeah, you can see that the top bit of the windows have been covered up differently the the rest of the ex-window. I wasn't sure because of the semi-circular shape, because I had assumed that the windows were long and rectangular like the blinds, but these certainly fit in with the fruit machine copies! They did a good job in recreating something so similar in such a different place, often filmakers don't pay so much attention to such details!

      It's a shame they've boarded them up completely, they would've made a spectacular addition to a somewhat impressive room! Especially if they had un-boarded them completely and put in the lower bits aswell which would have allowed for a spectacular sea-view! Would probably have stopped people calling the tank "underground" and moaning about the lack of natural light! Would make the tank decorations a little less tacky, let in natural light, a sea view and ad some herritage! Bad Planning Sealife!

      EDIT: got the guide book out again and had a look at the map, the "madeira drive street level entrance" marked! I had always thought the dolphinarium faced east but it appears to be north!
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  • Category:
    SEA LIFE Brighton
    Uploaded By:
    Trebaruna
    Date:
    13 Jan 2009
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    Comment Count:
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