Wednesday 12 October 2011

Two Zeds on a post...

My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.  (Woo Hoo, I've done all 26!)

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

A brace of Zeds in Derby!


This rather tatty looking building was, until the beginning of 2010, the Zanzibar nightclub in Derby. Located on London Road, which runs alongside the Westfield Centre, heading straight for the middle of town, you would think it would be perfectly positioned to attract loads of trade, but it would seem not! In fairness, most of the other clubs are on the further edge of town and that seems to be where the night time scene is, but surely a building of this size and distinctiveness could fulfil some useful purpose in our city!

Instead, it sits here slowly going more and more derelict...

paint peeling, algae growing...

once exotic palm trees looking decidedly forlorn...

..and a straggly bunch of weeds threatening to grow right up the turbaned mascot's nose...


But this place was not always a Night Club.

The building first opened as a cinema, the Gaumont Palace, on 17th September 1934. Fronted by a flight of white steps, it boasted a marble and walnut lobby which gave way to a grand auditorium with seating for over 1,000. The art deco ceiling housed over 500 light bulbs and there was a ten rank Compton organ which filled the room with a huge sound.

Even now, the shape of the building and some of the exterior decoration give an impression of how it must once have been.

Gradually, cinema attendances dwindled. I distinctly remember my Mum telling me that television had taken the place of the big screen and that the age of the cinema was passing. Forty-five years later, the fortune of the 'pictures' has turned around completely, but in the mid 60s, its days seemed numbered.

The Gaumont changed it's name twice, first becoming the Derby Odeon (in 1965) and later the Trocadero (Troc) at which time it was split to house both a cinema and a bingo hall. These are the reincarnations which I remember. I know that I went to the Odeon Saturday morning Kid's Club on at least a couple of occasions, but only remember the Troc from the outside!

I would be thrilled to walk along here one day and see scaffolding. This building is worthy of restoration!


A fifteen minute walk across town brings us to another 'zed' which is enjoying rather better fortunes.

This is Zizzis, a busy restaurant in the Frairgate area of Derby centre. It's a while since I've eaten here, but the food was great and the waiter memorised our order (in spite of there being about 7 of us).

Across the front of the building is this quote from Sir Henry Royce of Rolls Royce fame:

Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.

Did I mention that the food is Italian?  For a peep at the menu, click here.

Zizzis completes this round of Alphabe-Thursday very nicely. I've enjoyed posting all about my county and I've discovered places and information which were totally new to me. It's been good to take you for the ride but, next time around, I think I shall choose a slightly less work-intensive theme :)


  1. Lovely images - as always - from Derbyshire!

    Happy A-Thursday!

  2. What an informative post! I'm amazed at all the Z's you fit into this one. It's been a fun tour around the countryside with you.

  3. I think you deserve a pint from the Zanzibar for making it all the way through. How fun!

  4. Well done! Mission impossible accomplished!

  5. Oh, well done on having diligently tackled and now having completed the final phase of the this not insignificant challenge so impressively. It has Ben marvellous seeing and learning about all the many wonderful places you've taken us to. You ended as strongly as you started.

  6. Much clapping from Tucson, Arizona....
    What a challenge and like you said very work intensive on your part.
    It has been quite fun for us.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Amazing that you found at least one place for all 26 letters!

  8. I love looking at your photos. Such pretty buildings.

  9. You really did your homework to come up with all these great posts! A to Z! Thanks for the great share and the beautiful images.

  10. I appreciate your travels and picture-taking! The Zanzibar is a beautiful building. I hope it does get renovated and used as a theater or playhouse again! {:-D

  11. Great photos, as usual. The Zanzabar sign still looks pretty fresh, though.

  12. Ah, you found your Zed! Great post - there is a similar forlorn and neglected looking Zanzibar, complete with the turbaned headed fellow, close by here in Newcastle (under Lyme that is) - I wonder if one of these two or any of the ones that closed will ever be restored to former glory?:)

  13. I only started reading your blog half way through your A-Z! It has been great, and I only live a short drive from some of these places and also used to work/drive through some of the location.

    So thank you

    Vanessa x

  14. Fantastic post, and two wonderful Z places to see! Congratulation on the completion of this alphabe-thursday!

  15. Hello.
    You've put a lot of hard work & thought into your tour, which I have thoroughly enjoyed & feel somewhat sad it's ending.
    You'd make a great tour guide for anyone visiting!

    Awesome post!

    Thanks for sharing & visiting. I appreciate it.

    The Evening Zephyr

  16. The restaurant sounds really wonderful. I love it when it combines great service with wonderful food.

  17. Wow! Mission accomplished! I enjoyed traveling with you on this alpha thursday exercise!

  18. I will be very sorry to see this series end. It's been delightful!


  19. Well done you, to see it through to the end. I have really enjoyed every single one and I know several friends have enjoyed it too.

  20. Good job with the A-Z of Derbyshire! I think your little photographic tour of your area has inspired me to do something similar for the next round of Alphabe-Thursday....though to be honest, I don't know if I can be as successful as you were with this project :)

    I love the Zanzibar building and I do agree with you that it's a shame it's in such a shape. Hopefully someone with a lot of money will come upon it and bring it back to life! That would be so cool, right?

    P.S. You won the giveaway on my blog so I'll be contacting you soon about the details :)

  21. well done, H! You made it through every letter and stayed in Derbyshire - quite an accomplishment and very interesting for all of us!

  22. You did it! I am so amazed!

    And so sad that this wondrous journey has come to an end.

    I have really, really loved traveling this beautiful country with you.

    Thank you for linking up for this round.

    This was a real gift.

    Hugs and blessings and A++++++++++++++++++++++

  23. Yay!! You did it, H! And a load of work it was. Jenny gave you the right grade... I'll add a few ++ for good measure. The Zanzibar has some super kitschy elements, and still, it holds some promise and it's sad to see it so neglected. I like the building that houses Zizzi. Plenty of Zzzz there... and now it's time to go catch mine. :-)

  24. excellent for Z! and two to boot!
    It IS sad about some of the old magnificent buildings falling into decay. I suppose that is happening everywhere as people's interests and locations to which they're willing to travel change. The good news is that in some areas, beautiful old buildings are being restored.