Tyne and Wear HER(13505): Newcastle, Market Lane, banqueting house - Details
Newcastle, Market Lane, banqueting house
Eating and Drinking Establishment
18th century banqueting house. Restoration awaited. Over much of the 18th century, the five-bay house which is now the Market Lane Hotel, was owned by the Simpson family, members of the merchant adventurers. When the house was extensively rebuilt in the fashionable Baroque style, the banqueting house was added behind the house for entertaining in style, allowing the ground floor of the house to be used as office and parlour. The banqueting house lies parallel to the house and faces it across a small space which may originally been a garden. It has a steeply-pitched roof. The high ceiling in the main room has ornate cornicing, which would have been expected in a high-quality room of that period. The banqueting house is of brick construction. In 2001 the roof and upper walls of the potentially unstable structure were dismantled and the exposed first floor provided with a temporary covering. Demolition of later structures appended to the western face of the building resulted in the loss of a flight of stairs to the raised ground floor. The banqueting house is is extremely poor condition. Roof timbers and sash windows which have been removed are now stored on the upper floor. Portions of decorative mouldings from the first floor are stored in the heavily propped basement. The building measures 13.5m x 6.3m. It includes a low brick barrel-vaulted cellar. The brick is laid in very irregular bond including mixed header and stretcher courses. Sandstone details include the lintels over the windows and east-facing door. There is a simple but decorative two-brick deep string-course which runs round the building at first floor level.There is a sloping ground-floor passageway between the northern wall and the southern wall of the now demolished building B, which allowed access to the part of the property adjacent to the Lort Burn. The western elevation includes a vaulted hatch to the cellar and traces of the external stair. On the now dismantled upper floor was a niche topped by a brick relieving arch which internally formed an elaborate keyed archivolt with the banqueting room. This opening was filled by a modern window until demolition in 2001. The purpose of the aperture is uncertain. It probably acted as a receptacle for tableware used during receptions. The ceiling was of lath and plaster fixed to 3 x 3 inch joists. There is a fireplace in the southern wall of the ground floor and a timber stair up to the first floor. The upper banqueting room had been divided into two rooms at some point - the cornices were ornate Corinthian in one half and simple in the other. Two fireplaces heated this room - the one on the southern wall is original, that on the north wall an addition. Cackett and Burns Dick produced plans of the building in 1900 which show a dog-leg stair running tranversely across the building. It is recommended that the timbers from the banqueting house (now in store) are dendrochronologically dated.
Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p 144; The Archaeological Practice and Grace McCombie, 2002, The Banqueting House and Adjacent Structures, Pilgrim Street and Market Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne - Survey and Historical Background; The Archaeological Practice, 1994, 52-78 Grey Street and Adjoining Lands; Vindomora Solutions, 2018, The Market Lane and adjacent Banqueting House