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Tyne and Wear HER(7439): Bensham, Cuthbert Street, Redheugh Library - Details

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Bensham, Cuthbert Street, Redheugh Library







Extant Building

Now The Sound Room, Redheugh Studios. DESCRIPTION / STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This refined, restrained brown brick building, lying low to the land, was formerly the Redheugh Library, one of the first community libraries in Gateshead, and in all likelihood partly inspiring the later, curvaceous Borough Treasurer’s Department. Its flat, layered planes are reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style, but despite the stark contrast in the context, it succeeds extremely well here, drawing the landscape in with integral planting beds to the perimeter wall (at the base of the visual hierarchy). The horizontality of the building planes are skilfully complemented by the vertically proportioned windows, with the only notable detail stout moulded door surrounds in painted concrete(?). Subtle variation is provided by the use of differing brick bonds – English Bond to the western end, elegantly curved and originally housing the reading room, with stretcher bond to the remainder of the main building and English Garden Wall Bond to the perimeter. The layout appears to have been broadly similar to that of the central library, with a central lending area and a reference room to the right of the entrance, plus a basement for storage. Whilst the external appearance of the building has been compromised due to problems with vandalism and alterations necessitated by a change of use (skylights removed and windows blocked up, with haphazard repair works), it is remarkable that it has survived at all in such a hostile location. Although they are covered up, the deep sash windows do survive to the apse, with skirtings below, and the old radiators have been incorporated into the new heating system. In the basement doors can still be seen with their original handles and keyholes, but all the historic shelving has been stripped out. MATERIALS Brown brick, concrete, timber DATES 1939 LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List Fact Sheet X20/LL/059

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