3rd September 2012

A restoration project designed by Lathams has begun at Tynemouth Station – recognised as one of the highest priority buildings at risk in the country.

A restoration project designed by Derby-based architects Lathams has begun at Tynemouth Station – recognised as one of the highest priority buildings at risk in the country.

Craftsmen have embarked on a 52-week project to replace the many panes of glass and to repair ironwork on the Grade II* listed building’s historic canopies.

Additional work will create a performance area on the platform underneath to increase the station’s use as a cultural visitor attraction.

The rescue package was co-ordinated by a stakeholder group, including North Tyneside Council, English Heritage, Nexus and station owners Station Developments Ltd. Some £1.9m of government funding was obtained through the Sea Change programme, allowing the £3.68m project to go forward, with additional funding coming from the stakeholder group.

Lathams was appointed to carry out the complete restoration of the damaged canopies following its work on an initial architectural and conservation study.

Lathams director Stuart Hodgkinson explained: "The structural design of Tynemouth Station is generally recognised as a triumph of Victorian engineering, being set as it is on a huge curve of complex geometry.

"However, it is the ironwork supporting the canopies which is the real joy, carrying extravagant decoration and ornament.

"This is architecture intended to be seen from inside, from the concourse. It was memorably described by Lucinda Lambton as ‘an enchanted forest of ironwork with columns of petrified saplings stretching into the distance’.

"Our goal is to repair this magnificent structure and with new lighting and floors create a venue for arts and markets, music and events.”

The principles of repair and specialist working methods for this important building were established in a pilot scheme carried out with the support of English Heritage. Where new ironwork sections have to be created these will be fabricated to match original patterns as faithfully as possible.

The re-glazing will fit with the approach adopted in the last major restoration scheme in the late 1980’s, including the use of toughened tinted glass. The entire site will be repainted using a colour scheme that was used at the station when it was operated by the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER).

The prospect that the building can soon be removed from its ‘Buildings at Risk’ register has been warmly welcomed by English Heritage.

Carol Pyrah, North East Planning Director at English Heritage said: "To many, it looked like the story of Tynemouth Station would be one of decline and decay. We are therefore delighted that this station - one of the finest Victorian railway stations in Britain - will be saved.

"This was no overnight rescue but one which took many years and many partners, all working together to secure its future. For our part, we have invested our expertise and over £1m towards the protection and repair of this station. And we will continue to provide support for this latest phase of repairs.”

Morris Muter is managing director of Station Developments Limited, which has taken the lead role in the restoration project. He said: "We warmly welcome the start of the canopy restoration work, and look forward to working with our partners over the next year to achieve our main goal of securing the restoration of the station. I look forward very much to the day next year when, for the first time in half a century, we can open the station fully to show its restored canopies and have on view once again one of the finest examples of a Victorian railway station in Britain.”

Restoring at-risk railway 'jewel'