Come and see some of our local heritage at these free events !
Most of us live in a world of buildings; they are all around us and a part of the landscape. It is important to us therefore that they should, as far as possible, be attractive to look at, well designed and suitable for their purpose. To be surrounded by ugly monstrosities can be very depressing and can affect our quality of life. Many buildings will also carry memories for us; a school, place of work or a church where we were married, for example. Some are of historic interest or add character or beauty to their area.
For these reasons buildings may have an importance beyond their practical use, or if no longer required for the purpose for which they were originally constructed.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society does its best to highlight buildings which it believes are of significant merit to be worthy of preservation for the enjoyment and education of future generations, and lobbies to protect them if they become under threat from development. We are not always successful, sometimes practical considerations overrule sentiment, but in many cases we are listened to.
In addition to this, we have also inaugurated a scheme by which, in active co-operation with Newcastle Borough Council, we make bi-annual awards to encourage and reward examples of good design and workmanship for new developments, both commercial and residential, and tasteful refurbishment of older properties. If you know of any such construction, completed during the last two years, which you feel should be considered for such an award, please let us know.
This locally made clock, by Skerrett in 1890, is currently on display for all to see in the town library. It is an important symbol of our town’s heritage and Civic pride. The library was built on the site of the old Municipal Hall and that iconic building’s demolition was the impetus for the founding of the Newcastle -under-Lyme Civic Society in 1968.
Now a new “Civic Hub” is being built on the adjacent site of a recently demolished landmark Victorian school next to the Queen’s Gardens and the library will be moved into part of that new building. The space allocated for the library service is much smaller than it has at present. Consequently the future of the clock is now in doubt as space will be at a premium.
Civic Society members fervently believe that the clock should be prominently displayed in the “Civic Hub”. This view is supported by our local Member of Parliament, Paul Farrelly.
If this is not possible alternative sites within the town centre will need to be considered.
What do you think ?
Let us know where you think the clock should be displayed so that it can remain on view for everyone admire.
There has been a planning application submitted (16/00933/FUL) to demolish the former Savoy Cinema in the centre of Newcastle and to build an 11 storey block of student accommodation in its place. This site is in the Newcastle Town Centre Conservation Area, adjacent to our iconic Guildhall and in close proximity to St Giles Church.
The unsympathetic height, mass and design of the proposed building is unlikely to compliment or enhance the centre of our market town which consists mainly of three storey Georgian / Victorian buildings.
The Civic Society is strongly objecting to these proposals.
If you feel that this proposed development will detract from the character, ambiance and domestic scale of our Town Centre Conservation Area we urge you to make your views known too.
For further information visit –
publicaccess.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk and type Savoy in the search box
Architect’s impression of the new Public Services Hub
Newcastle-under-Lyme is essentially a small mainly Georgian/Victorian market town.
The town centre is a Conservation Area encircled by a dual carriageway ring road. Within this confined area are three main roads, High Street, The Ironmarket and Merrial Street. Many of the buildings in the town centre, now converted into shops, bars banks etc. were originally built as houses and are of domestic scale of two or three storeys. To fully appreciate the town’s heritage it is necessary to look above some inappropriate shopfronts and admire the upper storeys of the handsome buildings.
There are a number of large supermarkets situated outside the town centre that draw trade and footfall away from smaller traders.
There are fortunately still some buildings of architectural merit in the town but redevelopment in the 1960s removed some significant buildings, including the Municipal Hall in the Ironmarket, and replaced them with “modern” buildings that are in conflict with the style of neighbouring properties but at least are of a similar scale.
The Ironmarket is arguably the most attractive road in the town centre. It is a broad, largely pedestrianized, thoroughfare. Many upper storeys have changed little over the years and retain their original character and diversity. Old photographs show the dominance and majesty of the Municipal Hall that once stood proudly adjacent to the Queen’s Gardens. Demolished in the 1960s it was replaced by the current library.
If the plans for a new Public Sector Hub are successful, the library will move to the new building and be confined to a reduced floor area.
The current library building will become surplus to requirements. Its future is uncertain.
The Queen’s Gardens are the green heart of Newcastle’s town centre. Many consider this part of Newcastle second only to the Guildhall in reflecting the character and ambiance of the town.
At present the garden’s backdrop is the very attractive Victorian former St. Giles’ and St. George’s School building.
It has been proposed that this school should be demolished and replaced by a four storey Public Services Hub.
Architect’s impression of the Public Sector Hub
This development is within the Town Centre Conservation Area.
It is difficult to envisage this development sympathetically complimenting the character and ambiance of our Victorian/ Georgian heritage.
Even on a brief visit to Newcastle town centre one can observe developments that have enhanced its appeal and others that have marred its beauty and character.
The area around Red Lion Square retains some of its Georgian/Victorian heritage but York Place, built in the 1960s, now looks dated. Beyond the square there is an area which awaits development where a supermarket has been demolished. Currently it is used as a car park and this area, together with the current site of the Civic Centre facing Merrial Street, is earmarked for retail development and student accommodation.
Merrial Street has a number of interesting buildings including Wilton House, the former Conservative Club, The Ebenezer Schoolrooms and the former police station which now stands empty facing an uncertain future.
The current Civic Centre may not be the most beautiful building in town but it is a good example of the architecture of its time.
The Guildhall is the iconic landmark building in Newcastle. This building has had a chequered recent past. It was left to deteriorate after an unsuccessful period when leased for use as a public house but has recently been renovated, refurbished and brought back into public use as a public access point for council services. Once again its future may be uncertain if the proposed new public sector hub is built elsewhere in the town.
The area adjacent to the Guildhall in the High Street was demolished in the 1930s and replaced by Lancaster Buildings. This “new” building is a good example of architecture of its time and has recently become a Grade II Listed Building.
Commendably the facade of the Castle Hotel was substantially retained when the site behind was redeveloped and the new Roebuck shopping centre frontage compliments the street view and respects its neighbours.
Behind High Street in Market Street, Mellards Warehouse has been restored and refurbished to a very high standard and serves as an excellent example of sympathetic updating of a building to meet today’s needs.
Castle Walks, which extends from the bus station to the Ironmarket, consists of new build shops of two storeys with varying roof levels that have been carefully designed to compliment the surrounding area.
The south side of the High Street between Friars Road and the Grosvenor Roundabout has little to commend it as it consists largely of characterless utilitarian buildings. The north side of this road retains some of its Victorian feel with a mixture of different frontages, roof levels and architectural features and details.
At the end of the High Street there is an attractive sunken garden within Grosvenor Roundabout and across the ring road stands 1 London Road, a modern block of flats that many consider an inappropriate and out of place development.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society welcomes all new members.
If you are reading this page you must be interested in our town and probably want to ensure that its history and character are preserved for future generations to appreciate.
The Civic Society does not oppose progress and understands that the needs of our community change and develop over time but we do not wish to see our interesting, historic heritage swept aside and replaced by generic new buildings that fundamentally change the character of this Georgian / Victorian market town.
The objectives of the Society are to promote and encourage the following :-
The Society currently meets at 7.30 pm on the first Monday of each month in St. James’s Church Hall, Clayton, Newcastle.
Not all everyone can attend meetings but all our members receive detailed minutes to keep them up to date.
Our annual subscription is just £7.00 per year payable in January.
If you want to help to make a difference by joining the Civic Society please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society’s formal objection to the planning application made to demolish the former St Giles’ and St George’s Primary School.
“The current former school building has undeniable architectural, historic and heritage value and it forms a fitting, delightful, single storey backdrop for the Queen Victoria statue and Queen’s Gardens. Unfortunately at present its frontage to Barracks Road cannot be seen or judged because of the very unattractive wooden fence surrounding the site. This school is one of the few remaining architecturally interesting Victorian school buildings remaining and it is of great value to Newcastle’s heritage especially as it is located within the Town Centre Conservation area. We do not believe that sufficient attention or effort has been made to explore alternative uses for the former school and its demolition would greatly diminish the town.
The most outstanding characteristic of the Conservation Area has to be its blend of Georgian and Victorian architecture. Newcastle is, essentially, a market town centre of domestic scale comprising of numerous small traders operating within the ring road on three main thoroughfares. The site in question is located at the north end of the town centre with its frontage onto the duel carriageway ring road. Access to and from the site is limited and congested at peak travel times. The concentration of civic services into the proposed hub will draw footfall to the site and away from many traders in the High Street and town centre. Separate buildings suited to the needs and purposes of the separate services are preferable. Locating services in separate buildings encourages movement around the town rather than concentrating it into a smaller area.
The St Giles’ and St George’s site is too small and cramped for the proposed “Hub”. We believe a four storey building will be too dominant and out of scale for this site which is within the Conservation Area. However to date we have not been told anything about the proposed structure, its style or materials. Whatever the architects propose for this site it is unlikely to improve upon what already exists. The former school played an important role in the lives and education of local people. It is part of the town’s heritage that should not be lost.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society strongly objects to the demolition of this important landmark building and urges the Borough Council to reconsider its intention to vacate the Ryecroft site and relocate to a centralised “Hub” on the former St Giles’ and George’s school site.”
This year Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society was nominated for an English Heritage Angel Award for the conservation work undertaken on the Queen Victoria Statue that stands in the Queen’s Gardens in the Ironmarket.
English Heritage received over 100 nominations for an award. This resulted in very strong shortlists. Unfortunately our project was not shortlisted but NuL Civic Society has received the certificate below in recognition of the quality of our nomination and the work undertaken to conserve and preserve the Grade 2 listed statue.
To view the winning projects please visit the English Heritage website using this link http://historicengland.org.uk/news-and-features/angel-awards/winners-2015/
We are please to report that the restoration of the decorative ironwork at 28 High Street has been successfully completed. This prominent landmark building overlooks Red Lion Square and the War Memorial in the town centre. It has changed little over the past hundred years and was, for many years, Wain’s Chemists.
Parts of the decorative ironwork over the fascia had been lost and the remaining panels were covered in many layers of paint.
We contacted Calibre Metalwork Ltd in Stockport who came and removed the remaining panels. They expertly stripped them back to the metal revealing the original fine, detailed castings which they used to make new panels to replace the missing ones.
The quality and craftsmanship of their work is outstanding. Throughout the project Calibre Metalwork Ltd. kept us informed of progress and liaised closely with our roofing contractors. We would have no hesitation in recommending Calibre Metalwork Ltd. (www.calibremetalwork.co.uk) to anyone considering similar work.
We contracted Steve Emery Roofing Ltd. of Newcastle-under-Lyme to make waterproof the roof area whilst this work was undertaken and to repair/replace the leadwork. As is often the case, inspection revealed some quite extensive areas of rotten woodwork which also needed to be replaced. Although the job became more complicated than we originally thought, Steve Emery Roofing Ltd. completed the work to a very high standard.
Fortunately both our contractors worked well together and although the job took rather longer than anticipated we are delighted with the end results as are the building’s owners who made a substantial contribution towards the costs of the project.