Gateshead Town Hall restoration wins building award

A major scheme to restore one of Gateshead's finest Victorian buildings has won a national award.The Institute of Maintenance & Building Management has awarded the nine-month restoration of the Old Town Hall for a British Building Maintenance Award- one of only three to be presented nationally this year.

The British Building Maintenance Awards is an annual competition that provides an opportunity for individuals or organisations to submit details of special projects to be considered by a panel of expert judges.

The restoration and refurbishment scheme included:

· The internal refurbishment and development of the main hall as a cinema and entertainment venue,

· Substantial restoration and conservation of the external fabric of the building,

· Refurbishment of the small hall to create a new café,

· Restoration of the original Victorian plasterwork, sash windows and doors.

· Rewiring and improved lighting, new energy efficient boilers and improved access.

The internal works were designed and constructed by Gateshead Council's Design Services and Local Environmental Services while John Niven Architects designed the external works. The contractor was Historic Property Restoration.

The Grade 2 listed building sited within a conservation area, was built in 1870, originally providing offices for the Town Clerk, Surveyor, Rate Collector and Nuisance Inspector, along with a police station, Magistrates and County Courts, cells, fire engine house, drill yard and a large public hall and refreshment rooms.

The building has had a wide variety of uses since the new Civic Centre opened in 1987, but was recently reoccupied by Gateshead Council as part of a £1.2m plan to create a 'cultural hub' for arts and other cultural projects in Gateshead.

After decades of neglect, the Performance Hall and stage area has now been converted back from office space and returned to its former state for public performances, with its first role as temporary home for the Tyneside Cinema whilst its Pilgrim Street premises are being restored.

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