Winter Gardens (Grade II Listed). The Blackpool Winter Gardens were first opened to the public in 1875 and the Pavilion and ancillary buildings designed by Thomas Mitchell were officially opened to the public by the Lord Mayor of London in 1878. Many subsequent additions to the original buildings took place and principal amongst these are the Empress Ballroom designed by Manghall and Littlewood - opened in 1896 and the Opera House designed by Charles McKeith - opened in 1939. The latter is the third Opera House to be built on this site. The original was the first building in Blackpool to be designed by the celebrated theatre architect Frank Matcham and was opened in 1889. In 1978 the Winter Gardens and Opera House were refurbished by the First Leisure Corporation plc, who employed David Quigley as the architect for this work.