Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The End of an Unpopular Tyneside Eyesore; NEWCASTLE'S WESTGATE HOUSE BIT THE DUST 10 YEARS AGO

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The End of an Unpopular Tyneside Eyesore; NEWCASTLE'S WESTGATE HOUSE BIT THE DUST 10 YEARS AGO

Article excerpt

Byline: NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON recalls the people and places of the NorthEast @

IT'S 10 years since we finally saw the back of a highly unpopular Newcastle eyesore. Westgate House on the city's Westgate Road had cast its considerable shadow over the historic quarter since 1972.

But this week in 2007 the Chronicle reported how demolition work, started the previous year, had been completed.

It seems incredible looking back that anyone would consider building a 12-storey concrete office block to dwarf and overpower nearby Victorian buildings.

But Westgate House was one of the many products of the bold-asbrass Brutalist architectural fad of the late 1960s-early 1970s. It would have been seen as a confident symbol of a modern, forward-thinking Newcastle.

Constructed, ironically, on the site of the Chronicle's original Victorian-built Kemsley House headquarters, by the 2000s it was well-established as one of the ugliest and unpopular buildings on Tyneside, if not the UK.

In the 2005 Channel 4 programme Demolition, it was voted among Britain's 12 least desirable structures.

Since 1972, it had been home to various Government agencies until the last occupants, the Citizens Advice Bureau, moved out from the ground floor in 2001.

One NorthEast acquired Westgate House in 2000 and in April 2005 the agency secured permission from Newcastle City Council to demolish the property, at a cost of around PS1m.

By 2006, it was deserted - and the public walkway under the building's support stilts had become a gloomy, vomit-odoured wind tunnel of swirling empty crisp packets.

One Northeast Director of Regeneration and Tourism, John Holmes, told us at the time: "Westgate House is a brutal intrusion on Grainger Town - the historic heart of the city. Like everyone, One NorthEast is keen to see it removed from the cityscape as soon as possible."

Demolition work would be carried out by Thompson's of Prudhoe.

Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones of Newcastle University is one of the region's foremost authorities on city planning. …

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