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Tyne and Wear HER(8261): Gateshead, Saltwell Park, Saltwell Towers - Details

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Gateshead, Saltwell Park, Saltwell Towers






Early Modern


Extant Building

A large house standing in Saltwell Park (formerly the estate of the house), built in 1871 for William Wailes, the stained-glass manufacturer. The style of the building is largely a mixture of Gothic and Elizabethan with some French influence. The general external appearance is dominated by asymmetrical towers, steeply pitched roofs, plain and crenellated parapets and tall chimney-stacks. Dark brick with yellow brick dressings and some yellow brick decorative patterns. The south front is of 2 storeys. Square projecting corner-turrets with crenellated parapets, and a taller turret projecting towards the right end. This turret rises through the ground floor and first floor as a 3-sided bow with 3 single lights per storey. It continues upwards through the main parapet to form a third-storey room in the roof. The turret has its own parapet with stone string-courses, sloping stone capping and fish-scale tiled roof of very steep pitch. This roof has 3 triangular sides, corresponding to the sides of the bow-front below, and is continued back to cover the turret. Along the roof-ridge runs a decorative wrought-iron railing with open work decorative finials at each end. The main south front has a continuous parapet with sloping stone capping and a stone string course. A second stone string course divides the storeys. Large plate-glass windows of 4 lights with mullions and single transom, and one opening casement each. In recessed bay towards the middle, a square-headed doorway with rectangular fanlight over and 12-panel door. Large 2-storey bow front on west side of similar character, but with heraldic devices set into parapet. On north side, a 3-storey projecting entrance tower with crenellated parapet and polygonal stair-turret rising above parapet level to a circular pyramidal roof with decorative weather-vane. Projecting wooden porch with curved roof. Some of the original panelling commissioned from Gerrard Robinson is preserved in the Shipley Art Gallery {LB description}. William Wailes, Newcastle stained-glass artist, bought part of Saltwellside, and in 1856 designed the spectacular Gothic Saltwell Towers, built 1860-71. Of red brick with black and yellow decoration, it was Elizabethan in style, with dramatic towers, turrets and pinnacles.The interior, originally sumptuous with fittings and furniture by Gerard Robinson. In 1876 Wailes (d.1881) sold Saltwell Towers to Gateshead, but leased it back. A later occupant was J.A.D. Shipley (d.1909), whose picture collection became the Shipley Art Gallery. In 1914-18 Saltwell Towers was a hospital during WWI, but afterwards stood empty until used as the Local and Industrial Museum, 1933-68. Dry rot forced its closure and it remained derelict ever since. LISTED GRADE 2




Department of National Heritage, List of Buildings of Special architectural or Historic Interest, 10/37; British Red Cross, 2014, List of Auxiliary Hospitals in the UK during the First World War; (accessed 2014)

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