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Tyne and Wear HER(15414): Gosforth, West Avenue, Masonic Hall (now Quaker Meeting House - Details

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Gosforth, West Avenue, Masonic Hall (now Quaker Meeting House




Meeting Hall

Freemasons Hall

Early Modern


Extant Building

The building is built in bright red brick with ashlar dressings and slate roof. It has modified baroque details and well-balanced proportions which are typical of such Queen Anne Revival buildings of the 1890s and 1900s. The floating pediments of the ground floor give the building some distinction. On the upper floor there are ashlar keystones in the flat brick arches of the windows. The windows have glazing bars which divide each sash into four panes. There is a full-height canted bay window. There is no indication of the exact position of the former steeple which is shown on the 1896 plans and a postcard of 1910. The internal roof structure may show where it broke into the trusses. The main door has lost its patterned over-light. The western elevation has been changed by the removal of the ground-floor quoits alley, the insertion of a block to the rear to widen the billiard room and the dining room above, and the addition of the south-west first-floor room. The former coach house/garage facing onto the lane is part of a larger garage complex opening on Back High Street. The building was originally constructed in 1898 as a Men’s Club. Designed by Hicks and Charlewood. William Hicks lived nearby at No. 17 West Avenue. Plans show a central spire set on the roof of a projecting full-height bay window. This has since been removed. The building also had a one-storey glass roofed extension to the west side of the rear building. In 1922 the Masonic Club Ltd applied for permission to make alterations to the west side of the building which included extending the billiard and dining rooms. This work was completed by November 1923.The Masonic Hall first opened on 24th August 1925 after additions to the west side of the building. In 1930 alterations were made to the south-west corner of the building when a living room was added for the caretaker. In 1936 a bar was constructed in the billiard room and a committee room was added to the rear of the building. The architects were Marshall and Tweedy of 129 Pilgrim Street. The building was converted into a Quaker Meeting House in 2010, involving the demolition of the billiard room, kitchen, storerooms, dining room and residential accommodation to rear. Brick with ashlar detail and quaoins and slate roof. The north elevation features a central canted bay window and a main entrance with sandstone Ionic columns to either side. The large wooden door is topped by a glass light with the words ‘Masonic Hall’ painted in gold. The windows are sashes, painted green. The ground floor windows have sandstone pediments above. West elevation - there are circular vents on the first and ground floors. That on the first floor has an ornate iron grille over it. On the south elevation there is a staircase which originally led to the pantry and kitchen on the 1st floor. It was later covered to provide access to the flat. Inside there was a billiards room, a quoits alley with cobbled floor (now roofed over), a rear passageway which gave access into the adjacent assembly rooms, a kitchen and cloakroom, a dining hall with dumb waiter. The present lodge room on the ground floor was originally two rooms – a library and reading room and a smaller conversation room.The original staircase survives, painted beige and white. Fireplaces are boarded over. The Lodge Hall has an original cornice but the pine panelling is modern. The ceiling is painted bright blue, with a red border around it and a large 'G' painted in the centre (refers to God). There is a red carpet with a black and white cheque rug in the centre. The ornately carved furniture (individual chairs and couches upholstered in blue velvet, desks and tables some decorated with the Masonic compass and set square in gold, have been taken to the new Masonic Hall premises. The ante room of the Hall is fitted with cupboards denoting each of the Lodges who used this Hall (Bernicia Lodge, Gosforth No. 1664,




Plans held by Tyne and Wear Archives UD/GO/82/722 original plans for men’s club (1896); UD/GO/82/2168 plans for alterations for Masonic Club Ltd (1922); UD/GO/82/2243 plans for caretaker’s sitting room (1930); UD/GO/82/3800 plans for Masonic Lodge internal alterations (1936); 2nd revision OS map 1919; Grace McCombie, February 2010, ‘Former Masonic Lodge, West Avenue, Gosforth; Philippa Cockburn and Daniel Amat, Archaeological Research Services Ltd, 2010, An Archaeological Photographic Building Recording of a former Masonic Hall in Gosforth, Newcastle

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