History in Structure

Salvation Army Men's Palace

A Grade II Listed Building in Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Latitude: 54.9717 / 54°58'17"N

Longitude: -1.6012 / 1°36'4"W

OS Eastings: 425627

OS Northings: 564188

OS Grid: NZ256641

Mapcode National: GBR SR1.N1

Mapcode Global: WHC3R.C9RH

Plus Code: 9C6WX9CX+MG

Entry Name: Salvation Army Men's Palace

Listing Date: 29 June 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424948

ID on this website: 101424948

Location: Battle Field, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1

County: Newcastle upon Tyne

Electoral Ward/Division: Ouseburn

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Newcastle upon Tyne

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Newcastle Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Men’s Social Services Centre for the Salvation Army, by Gordon Ryder & Peter Yates, 1974. Blue brindle brick with steel windows.


Men’s Social Services Centre for the Salvation Army, by Ryder & Yates, 1974. Blue brindle brick with steel windows.

PLAN: situated on the north side of City Road in an elevated position, adjacent to the early C18 Keelman’s Hospital. The building occupies a site that slopes steeply from south to north. This curving, roadside accommodation block also has an integrated superintendant’s rooftop apartment.

EXTERIOR: a three-storey block with a pronounced curve at its eastern end. The building has an asymmetric pattern of fenestration comprising numerous narrow single, paired or triple strip lights, pivoted vertically, to all floors; the irregularity reflects the intended flexible nature of the interior space.

South elevation: a central entrance giving direct entry to the ground floor is accessed via a curving, brick ramp, stepped at the west end and protected by a white boomerang-shaped canopy (with an underside of timber boards) raised on thin steel columns. The irregular arrangement of strip windows is interrupted at the east end by the first-floor dining room glass oriel window which is partly cantilevered out to mirror the curve of the building. At the west end, the south elevation of the rooftop apartment rises above the roof - its detailing is considered to be a direct visual reference to the roof line of the adjacent Keelman’s Hospital, with its domed clock tower.

Right return: this is angled against a pre-existing right of way and is largely blind with the exception of a single strip window and a rectangular ground floor opening, probably a fire escape; the door of the latter is angled creating a deep jamb to one side.

Rear elevation: this is similarly detailed to the south elevation but lacks the first floor oriel window. It has an angled and deeply set ground floor window at its extreme south-east corner.

Landscaping: rising ground to the front (edged in brick) forms the approach to the building, which incorporates three convex earthworks revetted in stone; paths are paved in blue brick.

Roof top apartment and service core: at the west end the arched parabolic roof of the square apartment spans the full width of the roof. Its south elevation has a series of narrow, horizontal lights incorporating a single tall, arched window, the whole edged in white, picking up the detail of the main entrance canopy. The north elevation is similarly detailed but incorporates a tall square-headed window. The east elevation is also edged in white and contains a pair of original strip windows and a main, glazed entrance. The west elevation has a original stepped, three-light window and a door to the left. To the east of the apartment the central service core rises through the building and is expressed externally with its curvilinear shape and rounded ends clearly articulated in the blue brick of the rest of the building.

INTERIOR: exposed, painted brickwork throughout and corridors and stairs have coloured rubberised flooring. Doors to rooms are mostly original set in simple timber architraves, and those leading from the service areas have circular or oval lights. Lifts to each floor are also original with simple timber surrounds. The original stair remains in place within its curving, partly open stair tower; it rises up through the building to each floor and gives access out to the rooftop apartment. The steel staircase has open treads and a simple steel balustrade, curved within the curving stair tower and straight elsewhere. There are three floors of which the ground and second floors are of almost identical plan, with a curving spinal central space in which free-standing blocks of services including the stairtower, lifts and communal bathrooms stand; the central block and the west end of the more easterly blocks have pronounced curved ends. Narrow curving corridors flank this central space and give access to numerous narrow, rectangular rooms. At either end of the three floors there are fire escapes and larger rooms, those to the west end being original L-shape dormitories, some now fitted out as kitchens. The plan of the first floor is different to the others in housing the main living areas; a large former recreation room occupies the full width of the eastern half, which also contains the curving structural elements of the service core. The room retains its original plan and proportions, with the exposed steel roof beams supported on columns and slender columns supporting the cantilevered window, which retains original curved glazing.

Roof top apartment: the convex parabolic roof is evident throughout and there is a narrow off-centre L-shaped hallway, whose eastern end is wider by virtue of a convex south wall reminiscent of the curving stairwells elsewhere in the building; this wall forms one side of a small bathroom. To the right of the hall and occupying the north side of the building is a narrow rectangular bedroom with a door at each end, probably formerly two small rooms. Occupying the extreme western part of the apartment are a pair of rooms separated by a partition with glazed panels to its upper parts; that on the north side has a tall square-headed window with a similarly shaped light well and that on the south has a tall round-headed window with a round-headed light well. Both rooms also have windows overlooking a rooftop garden to the west and one has a door giving direct access. There is a small geometric lean-to building situated to the bottom of the garden. The south side of the apartment has a pair of small bedrooms. Doors throughout are original, although bathroom and kitchen fittings have been replaced.

EXCLUSIONS: the partially demolished rear range, the modern linking walkway and the rear compound walls are not of special interest and are excluded from the listing. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that all modern kitchen fittings and sanitary ware are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The Salvation Army Men’s Social Services Centre was constructed in 1974 and replaced an earlier ‘Men’s Palace’ on the same site. The architects' original scheme proposed two parallel blocks, but a proposed road improvement plan that introduced a curve prompted them to change the road side block to a curved design. The roadside block was designed to house 184 men in dormitories and in a flexible format of small rooms in which three bedroom units could be formed from two if necessary. The complex also incorporated day rooms, a dining room, facilities for the elderly and a small hospital. The rear range provided staff accommodation, a small 'family centre' and a garage. The total cost was £636,600. The building was officially opened on Friday January 10th 1975 at 1.30pm, by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Tyne and Wear, Sir James Steel, CBE, DL. Other attendees included senior Salvation Army figures, civic dignitaries and church leaders who attended a service of dedication accompanied by Salvation Army bandsmen. The opening ceremony is recorded in the Salvation Army newspaper 'War Cry' on 1st February 1975 and the order of service pamphlet is retained in the Salvation Army archive. At an unknown date the concealed external bright green shutters were removed from the roadside range and the original glazing replaced. Most of the individual bedrooms have had ensuite facilities inserted and some of the former dormitories now function as communal kitchens. In 2011 the western half of the rear range (housing the manager's accommodation and an attached walled garden) was demolished and the original central elevated walkway was replaced. In 2014 the building ceased in its original function as a Salvation Army hostel.

The firm of Ryder & Yates was established by (John) Gordon Ryder (1919-2000) and Peter Yates (1920-1982) in Newcastle in 1953. It is recognised as the North East's leading post-war practice and has emerged as one of the few entirely regional practices whose work was consistently of a quality and innovation comparable with firms based in the London area. The firm was multi-disciplinary and included both architects and engineers. Peter Yates was a student of Peter Moro and also worked for Clive Entwhistle in Paris where he was introduced to Le Corbusier, whilst Gordon Ryder started his career in a teaching post at Durham University. The pair met in Berthold Lubetkin's office in 1948 where both were working on the planning of Peterlee New Town. Their wide-ranging work included private and social housing, commercial buildings, health and welfare buildings, and a number of exhibition stands at the Olympia, London. Their work is considered to be innovative and was celebrated in a 2009 monograph by Rutter Carroll.

Reasons for Listing

The Men’s Social Services Centre, Newcastle constructed in 1974 to the designs of Ryder & Yates, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a significant welfare building with a highly distinctive character incorporating several distinctive features and reflecting its high order of design quality and execution;
* Architectural practice: Ryder & Yates was one of the most important post-war regional firms in England, whose work on buildings for healthcare and welfare demonstrate how modern architecture could serve the needs of the community in the tradition of Lubetkin and Le Corbusier, two of the greatest influences on the practice;
* Historic interest: considered the best example nationally of the new style post-war Salvation Army Hostel and a very rare example designed by a flourishing contemporary architectural practice;
* Lack of alteration: aside from the replacement of window glass and the removal of original concealed shutters, the exterior is unaltered and the interior retains its original plan;
* Setting: its curving external form articulates the rising and curving street and the incorporation of a pent house roof line references the adjacent early-C18 Keelman’s Hospital with its domed clock tower;
* Group value: it benefits from a spatial and functional group value with the adjacent early-C18 Grade II* listed Keelman’s Hospital almshouses;
* Landscape: the design of the façade and the landscaping in front, in the form of earth sculptures, complement each other, with the undulating ground contrasting with the sheer plane of the façade rising without a plinth from the ground.

External Links

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