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Tyne and Wear HER(7465): Low Fell, Durham Road, Ale Taster Public House - Details

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Low Fell, Durham Road, Ale Taster Public House

Low Fell



Licensed Premises

Public House

Early Modern


Extant Building

One of the best brick buildings in Chowdene Conservation Area. Has an arcade of four arches at ground floor level springing from fat pilasters. Rendered gable {2}. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This fine building was constructed for Colonel Charles Reid as the George IV Inn, replacing an earlier structure, which stood adjacent. It is an elegant and engaging composition, with large arched windows springing from the ground floor, tall corniced chimneys, and idiosyncratic timber detailing to the corners, with fluting and elaborately moulded corbels. Its smartness was in all likelihood a great contrast with the old, humble, vernacular building, at a time when a respectable clientele were sought. The detailing is cheerful – egg and dart stone mouldings to the brick pilasters; stone outer arches, key stones, and chamfered plinth course; deeply moulded cornicing to the upper windows – and helps create a liveliness appropriate to the social use of the building. The other elevations are much plainer, lacking detail save for arched heads, but yet retain the important historic timber sashes that contribute so much to the integrity of the historic character. The plans depict windows descending lower than those extant, with decorative wrought ironwork protecting the lower sections, a different pattern of glazing bars, as well as multipane windows to the upper floors. It is uncertain, however, whether the final design was altered from the plans, or whether some elements have been replaced. An important aspect of the building is the variety of materials used, and their natural character, as well as the great asset of the planting which embellishes it. The stable, also on the Local List, contributes to the setting of the building, and the wonderful and substantial gate piers situated on the boundary of the site are an intriguing and historically important element of the site. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION George Caris may have been interested in conservation, as the plans show that the original stone building was proposed to be retained during the rebuilding, with a restoration and conversion scheme, with the new pub was to be constructed a little to the south. The stone buildings adjacent to the pub to the north may therefore be remnants of the earlier George IV Inn. MATERIALS Red brick, sandstone, timber, slate ARCHITECT George W Caris (18 West St, Gateshead) DATES 1885 (plans) FUTURE RECOMMENDATIONS Further investigation would be useful to ascertain whether any remnants of the original pub building survive, and any historical information on the site to try and deduce to which building the gate piers belonged. Plans of 1905 held by Tyne and Wear Archives show the gate posts when a garden was added to the site.




Gateshead Council Local List Fact Sheet X20/LL/085; Gateshead Council, 1999, Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Stragies and Character Statements, Chowdene Conservation Area, p 74; Tyne and Wear Archives CB.GA/BC/plan/1885/40, 1905 plan

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