Grade II listed Jesmond buildings put under the heritage spotlight

Banqueting Hall Lodge in Jesmond
Banqueting Hall Lodge in Jesmond

Jesmond Dene Banqueting Hall and Lodge are being put under the heritage spotlight as the City Council looks to set up a campaign to preserve and develop the site for generations to come.

Jesmond Dene Banqueting HallThe properties were gifted to the people of Newcastle upon Tyne over 130-years ago (in 1883) by Sir William George Armstrong with the deed stating they should be used for lectures, recitals, concerts, banquets and meetings under the themes of the arts, literature, science or education.

The campaign is aimed at protecting two of Newcastle’s best loved heritage assets with an open invitation [Expressions of Interest] to businesses, groups and organisations, who might have a range of exciting ideas to help refurbish and breathe new life into the buildings but in keeping with the wishes of Sir William Armstrong.

Councillor Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “Jesmond Dene Banqueting Hall and Lodge are etched into the heritage of the city as widely respected examples of classical Victorian architecture. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to breathe new life into the much-loved buildings and help to secure their future whilst remaining true to their original ideology and purpose.

“We're committed to this original purpose, it was Sir William Armstrong's wish that the park and its buildings serve the city, that they should be places to facilitate art and creativity and to empower people with knowledge and education. We very much look forward to receiving creative suggestions over the coming months to complement our Green Flag Awarded park.”

The campaign will allow people to creatively think about how to best use the ingredients of location, assets, heritage and future income, with any development being subject to planning and Listed Building Consent.

If you feel passionately about Jesmond Dene Banqueting Hall and Lodge, and would like to submit your plans and intentions for the site please download the application pack from the following website: www.newcastle.gov.uk/communityassetlist

The summary of the Deed of Gift from Sir William Armstrong, an information sheet and a site plan are available through the link.

The expressions of interest will be open for an eight-week window.

Expressions of Interest

Both the Banqueting Hall and Lodge are being advertised as a single unit, and not individually. The offer is only by means of a lease as the City Council are not in a position to offer the freehold of the property.

The Banqueting Hall including the controlled ruin on the lower level of the building is occupied as an artist’s workshop. The Lodge is vacant having previously been used as caretaker’s accommodation.

The successful bidders will have to demonstrate a clear plan of action showing how both the Banqueting Hall and Lodge can be repaired and redeveloped; and how the ongoing maintenance costs will be funded.

Parts of the Banqueting Hall and Lodge are in a poor state of repair, which signals an ideal time to look at how the buildings can be refurbished and protected for future generations to enjoy.

The Banqueting Hall is currently subject to a rolling 6-monthly tenancy agreement with a local arts group, the Armstrong Studio Trust. The successful bidder will become the Trust’s direct Landlord. All ‘Expressions of Interest’ will need to consider how the tenancy will be dealt with in the context of the overall scheme.

More information about Sir William Armstrong: www.williamarmstrong.info