The Coach and Horses historic hotel in Wallsend, Sting’s home town, features on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings 2023

The Coach and Horses Hotel in Wallsend is on the The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered buildings list 2023. The Grade II listed former hotel is for sale has been empty for years and needs rapid investment.

Photo credit: Graham Tyrrell 18/06/2023

The highly attractive terracotta building at the heart of Wallsend surely can find a use. The Society urges the owner to put the building on the market if they do not plan to use the building sensitively.

Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society President said: “It seems inconceivable to me that such decorative and imaginative buildings should be ignored and neglected. They really are something, and that something is fantastic. Literally. The council may have moved out, but they must not let the rot move in. Local people should voice their anger at this possibility. This prominent, attractive, well-built building patently deserves a second life. It’s the green solution.”

This highly attractive terracotta building in the Jacobean style hotel is seriously imposing. Huge in scale with two gable wings flanking a central entrance. The hotel, which later became a pub, was built for brewers W.B. Reed and Co, and was designed by their company architect.It sits in musician Sting’s hometown stands beside the former Town Hall, an expression of the civic pride of this once prosperous mining and shipbuilding area on the Tyne. Newsreel footage shows the pub during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh with thronged Wallsend crowds in 1954.

The hotel’s economic fortunes mirror those of the local area and pubs in general across the UK. The shipyard closed in 2007, the musical The Last Ship by Sting is set in the yard. The Town Hall closed in 2008. The Town Hall reponed as private offices in 2015, but the loss of trade from council staff must have impacted the pub heavily. The pub closed in 2017 and is part of an ongoing loss of these key community buildings. Between July and December 2022, more than 21 pubs shut every week (Campaign for Real Ale). But the Coach and Horses is no ordinary pub. It is a huge civic building left it in a state of decay on an extremely prominent High Street site. The building is ideal for sensitive reuse having been already heavily altered internally in 1992.The hotel is owned by a developer, but no plans have come forward in the five years since closure.

Joe O’Donnell, Director, The Victorian Society said:

“A common factor with most buildings on our list this year is responsible ownership. Despite all these buildings being Grade II listed they have been neglected for years. Regular, appropriate, maintenance is vital for older buildings. The owners of the buildings on our list should be responsible stewards of these nationally significant buildings.If they can’t or won’t, be that they should sell them so someone else can try and secure their futures before it is too late.”

The full Top Ten list can be read here and includes an earl’s mansion that became a hostel for the homeless, a church where the congregation can’t hold services, two engineering marvels that saved lives through improving sanitation, and a club where newly enfranchised voters could meet.

The list is based on public nominations from across England and Wales, and the buildings selected represent industrial, religious, domestic, and civic architecture from across the nation with unique historical and community significance and value. Nominated buildings must be dated between 1837 and 1914. The Victorian Society has announced its Top Ten list of Endangered Buildings thirteen times.

Photo credit: Graham Tyrrell


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