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Home » Multimillion-Pound Works Completed On Newcastle’s Historic Pattern Shop

Multimillion-Pound Works Completed On Newcastle’s Historic Pattern Shop

A £9m revamp of a derelict Newcastle workshop that was at the heart of the industrial revolution has finally been completed, after its original contractor went bust.

City bosses have celebrated the restoration of the Pattern Shop, part of the locomotive works where famed engineer Robert Stephenson built steam engines in the 1800s. The site, behind Central Station, had been left vacant since 2008 and fell into a state of disrepair – but has now been brought back to life as office accommodation.

Efforts from Newcastle City Council and developers Igloo to bring the historic building back into use suffered a setback when North East construction giant Tolent went into administration in 2023, with the works put on a six-month hiatus before new contractors Robertson were brought in to finish the project.

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Local authority bosses say the project endured a “difficult two-year period which overcame a pandemic, a change of contractor when the original contractor went bust and rampant inflation which pushed the cost of building materials through the roof”. But its regeneration is now complete and the building is ready to house up to 300 people in new offices, some of which boast stunning views across the river and the Tyne Bridge.

It is hoped that the Pattern Shop’s makeover will mark a key step forward in the wider Stephenson Quarter development, which has had a troubled history.

Coun Alex Hay, the city council’s cabinet member responsible for city centre regeneration, said: “I am delighted that The Pattern Shop project is now complete. It’s wonderful to see a building so important to Newcastle’s history being reborn for clean, green businesses that will create the next generation of good quality jobs. This complements the council’s priority to create an economy in Newcastle that is inclusive, so everyone has the opportunity to make something of their lives and have a stake in the city’s success.

“The project has had its fair share of challenges, but this fascinating building is testament to the determination and hard work of the council and its partners bringing it back to life and ensuring it continues to be a place for pioneers and innovators for the next 100 years.”

The Robert Stephenson and Co works, where the famous Rocket was built, date back to 1823 and first expanded onto the Pattern Shop site in 1847. It was later rebuilt in 1867 to produce the building which still stands today, before the company moved its production to Darlington in 1902.

Builders’ merchants JT Dove were the grade II listed site’s most recent occupants, but left the building in 2008. Many of the Pattern Shop’s original features have been retained in its restoration – including cast iron pillars in the old engine hall, large arched windows, floorboards, and roof timbers which date back to the days of Stephenson himself.

Igloo, which was brought in as the council’s new development partner for the Stephenson Quarter in 2020 after a previous agreement with the Clouston Group broke down, said it wanted to see the area “once again thriving in a beautiful setting worthy of the pioneers who first put the place on the map”.

Attention will now turn to the 10-storey Pioneer office plans and a conversion of the dilapidated Machine Shop.

Joe Broadley, development director at Igloo Regeneration said: “The Pattern Shop is the first of a collection of buildings and connecting spaces that we are delivering within the Stephenson Quarter, in partnership with the council. Our reputation has been forged by creating places that are good for people, great for the environment and local communities and The Pattern Shop builds on our work over many years in the North East, including award-winning developments in Ouseburn which is now a buzzing and beautiful place.”

While the first tenants of the new offices are yet to be confirmed, the council said it had received interest from several firms.

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