Bid to save 1960s Killingworth listed Ryder and Yates building

Campaign is launched to prevent demoltion of latest Ryder and Yates building to face threat of demolition

The Ryder and Yates building at Kilingworth
The Ryder and Yates building at Kilingworth

A campaign has been launched to save a 1960s building designed by a celebrated pair of North East architects from demolition.

Gordon Ryder and Peter Yates were responsible for a key group of buildings at Killingworth New Town, now in North Tyneside.

Two of them, Norgas House and the Stephenson House, have since been knocked down.

However Ryder and Yates’s Engineering Research Station at Killingworth was given Grade II* listed status in 2000.

The building at the centre of the new campaign was designed by the architects as their own office base.

Planning permission was granted by North Tyneside Council earlier this year for its demolition, but last month it was listed on the recommendation of English Heritage.

This means that listed building consent would now have to be gained for demolition.

Tyne Wear Building Preservation Trust and the Twentieth Century Society have joined forces to save the building.

The trust wants to buy it and carry out repairs it so that it can continue to be used as an office building.

It has opened a funding appeal on Virgin Money Giving to raise £5,000 to pay for feasibility studies on the building.

The English Heritage listing report describes Ryder and Yates as ‘a significant regional architectural practice’ widely regarded as being one of only a few entirely regional practices to have produced work of a quality and innovation comparable to those of firms in the London area.

In Newcastle the architects designed MEA House, which is being considered for listing.

The report says that the Killingworth office is ‘a building with an imposing presence’ and an important example of the work of Ryder and Yates, demonstrating their ‘modernist principles of design’ and underlining their reputation for innovative and individual buildings.

The report stated: “As the self-designed former office of one of the most important post-war regional architectural practices with a strikingly elegant form that survives little altered, it is considered that the former office of Ryder and Yates successfully fulfils the national criteria for listing.”

Commenting on the listing, the Twentieth Century Society’s conservation adviser Clare Price said: “This is a great result. The success of the design is clear from the fact that this building is exactly as Ryder and Yates left it.”

Martin Hulse, manager of the Tyne Wear Building Preservation Trust, said: “The rate at which important 20th Century buildings in the North East are being demolished is startling.

“Having already lost Norgas House and Stephenson House, this is the last chance to salvage something from a period which saw a number of internationally renowned structures spring up in Killingworth.”

Ryder and Yates set up their practice in Newcastle in 1953 and went on to become pioneers of modernism in the North East, designing housing, offices, factories, shops and other commercial and public buildings.

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