Fast Search

You are Here: Home / Sheriff Hill, Sheriff's Highway, No. 140, Zion Chapel

Tyne and Wear HER(7593): Sheriff Hill, Sheriff's Highway, No. 140, Zion Chapel - Details

Back to Search Results



Sheriff Hill, Sheriff's Highway, No. 140, Zion Chapel

Sheriff Hill


Religious Ritual and Funerary

Methodist Chapel

Methodist New Connexion Chapel

Early Modern


Extant Building

Formerly a New Connexion Methodist chapel constructed in 1836, with a school added to the rear in the later Victorian period, it was amongst those ministered to by William Booth. Modest but well detailed, it is an elegant example of local non-conformist architecture and an early survivor for the area. It is described by Whellan (1894) as ‘a small but handsome building, in the Italian style’, and he mentions that it seated 200 people. One of 2 Methodist chapels originally in the area, the chapels were distinguished locally by the names of their patrons. It features a characteristically Methodist gabled façade and unusually shallow pitched slated roof behind a parapet. The detailing to this façade is markedly greater than on the remainder of the building, and therefore it was clearly the principal focus of attention and finance. Making the most outstanding contribution to the character of the building, are the columns with delicately and differently carved capitals flanking the entrance porch, and the carved corbels of the slender central columns to the windows. These are double round-headed lancets with pointed arch heads and chamfered cills. They are particularly special as the detail is very unusual in the area, and they are executed with care and skill, showing off the craftsmanship available in the community at the time of building. It seems to show the influence of John Ruskin, and his book ‘The Stones of Venice’ (1849), in the very accurate replication of natural forms, and lack of repetition, but no firm evidence has been found to confirm this. The stonework of the walling here, too, is neatly dressed, and an unusual moulded chimney crowns the gable. In contrast, the stonework to the sides and rear is still coursed but rubble in quality and the windows are plain with solid square heads, echoing much of the local vernacular building style - simple but robust - and constructed in the sandstone easily available from the nearby quarries. The rainwater goods include parapet guttering, and unfortunately the east plane of the schoolroom roof is now felted over the slates. All walls are rubble filled, and the ground floor is predominantly in suspended timber (apart from some concrete ground bearing slab at the rear). There is a timber suspended mezzanine floor in the main body of the chapel. The roof structure is of a number of King post roof trusses, purlins and rafters. There are also 2 highly distinctive circular chimneys in dressed stone to the rear. The main street location gives the building great prominence, and therefore it makes a highly significant contribution to the local scene, and Sheriff Hill Conservation Area. The building is distinctive in its context, and yet, formed from local stone, and provided by local finance to support local worship needs, is quintessentially Sheriff Hill - of irreplaceable social historical value as well as being especially architecturally distinguished. MATERIALS Sandstone, slate. Stonemason - Joseph Arnell, Joiner - George Cameron, Smith - Mr Jopling, Architect (Schoolroom) Thomas Reay. DATES 11/02/1836 (opened) 1883 (Schoolroom & vestry added) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The condition of this building is currently poor due to lack of maintenance and repair. Particular problems include the front porch detaching from the main wall, erosion to stonework and some decay to internal timbers. Some problems are being contributed to by the internal floor levels being lower than the road, and the use of cement mortar for repointing to the south elevation. A refurbishment took place in 1875, but this does not appear to have included any stonework, however the following year repairs to the porch were undertaken which could conceivably have included new carving, however there was no record of any corresponding work to windows, and the style of carving in both is consistent. It is also possible the carving was done at the same time as the new school was built, however, again there is no indication o




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/225; Gateshead Council, April 1999, Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Strategies and Character Statements, Proposed Sheriff Hill Conservation Area, pp 79-82 (Supplementary Planning Guidance); Gateshead Council, July 2003, Sheriff Hill Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Strategy and Character Statement (Appendix to Supplementary Planning Guidance 1), pp 14-19; ; Directory of Towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead for the Year 1838, M A Richardson; History, Topography and Directory of County Durham, Whellan (1894); bdn (consulting civil & structural engineers) structural report, Feb 2005; TWAS CB.GA/BC/plan/1883/71 & 1939/119; TWAS 1136/168; TWAS accession 2738 – A History of the Zion Chapel Sheriff Hill (1977), The Archaeological Practice Ltd. 2009, Zion Chapel, Sherriff's Highway, Gateshead, Historic Buildings Recording; The Archaeological Practice Ltd. 2010, Zion Chapel, Sherriff's Highway, Gateshead, Archaeological Watching Brief; Peter Ryder, 2017, The Nonconformist Chapels of Gateshead

Back to Search Results