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Swalwell, Napier Road, Presbyterian Chapel



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Nonconformist Chapel

Presbyterian Chapel

Early Modern


Extant Building

Now premises of Comma Print. This solid red brick building clearly shows its origins as a Presbyterian Chapel, but with a twist. The austerity of the rituals associated with the church are visible in the rather stern appearance of the architecture, especially the small size and lack of ornament in the fenestration in comparison to most places of worship. On the other hand, the architects respond to the context of the building, specifically the premises of the Swalwell District Industrial & Provident Society next door, with which it makes a fine composition, and with the Sun Inn they create an engaging welcome to Market Lane. By reinterpreting its key architectural motif of an extravagantly shaped gable (with informative plaques), transforming ball finials to urns and adding a pediment in place of a half-moon crown, they provide some visual interest and make the building legible by drawing attention to the point of entry (which might otherwise be expected to be on Market Lane). Other than this, the only relief to the visual austerity is provided on the slate roof by the looped ridge tiles and tall, improbably jovial finials. Recessed panels and pilasters in the brick create a rhythm, followed through by simple stone dressings and flat brick arches to the window heads. The thick section timber windows appear to be original, and whilst the signage for the current use is not particularly sensitive in size and position, it is minimal. It would be positive if the roller shutter to the door could be removed. MATERIALS Red brick, stone, slate, terracotta DATES 1898 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION They were choral arrangements sung by 30 Dutch, British and Australian woman imprisoned by the Japanese during the Second World War. To cope with captivity the woman formed a choral group in their prison camp on Sumatra, Indonesia. The inspiration for this was Margaret Dryburgh. Margaret was born in Sunderland, the daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. W. Dryburgh. The family moved to Swalwell in the 1900's where he was the minister at the Presbyterian Church at the Ebeneezer Chapel in Market Lane. The family was very well liked in the village and they were all keen and talented musicians. The film -makers contacted Bill Fletcher, who played the organ in the Swalwell Chapel where her father was minister, to find out about her Tyneside background. The film,' Song of Survival', was shown in Britain on Channel Four. In December 1997, a film, called 'Paradise Road', was released that showed the women's struggle to survive a horrific time in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in Sumatra during the Second World War, Margaret Dryburgh, was played by Pauline Collins. LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/185; Tyne & Wear Archives T292/Plan/236;

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