Colmans Seafood Temple – South Shields

By 16th June 2017Fitz Architects News

Open for business

Our recently completed Colmans Seafood Temple project is now opened to the public.

The original, locally listed Gandhi’s Temple has been saved, restored and extended to create a new seafood restaurant. A glass wall now sits inside the original building to form a unique bar area.

The extension forms a restaurant with panoramic views of the beach and beyond. The building curves to a point to allow views of the sea from all around the building. The takeaway is positioned beneath.

The history of the building

The neo-classical style building served as a shelter and public convenience and became a landmark structure on the South Shields foreshore and the building is on the Local List and considered a locally significant heritage asset.

The building was originally constructed by South Tyneside Council in 1931, with the Gazette carrying a picture of its construction well underway on 1st July 1931.

On 18th September 1931, the Gazette carried a further picture of the building ‘nearing completion’, with a caption stating that the building would be officially opened the following day, giving Saturday 19th September 1931 as the official opening date.

Almost no change has occurred to the building throughout its life, standing today almost exactly as originally built. The main alteration, and perhaps the reason for the citing within the Local List of the building as a bandstand, has been the removal of seating and partitions from within its upper storey. This partitioning presumably allowed unrestricted views, whilst at the same time providing a windbreak for users within the open-sided upper storey.

The construction of the building was overseen by James Paton Watson CBE, the Borough Engineer and Surveyor for South Shields Borough Council between 1928 and 1933.

This is a historically significant link in terms of his later importance in the history of urban design in Britain, particularly with relation to the post-war revival of Plymouth in his role as Plymouth’s City Engineer and Surveyor.

The brickwork of the structure is of red textured bricks, arranged with horizontal stepped detailing.

The first floor comprises a colonnade of six Doric columns carried on square dies over a stepped plinth. Above this is a simple plain frieze below a square cornice with plain attic parapet in brick. Between the columns is a low wall with inset brick panels topped by a moulded coping. The copings, as with the columns, frieze, cornice, dies and plinth, are all cast concrete. These have all been painted cream, but show Paton Watson’s ‘snowflake’ finish beneath the paint, with white flecks in a buff concrete. At the corners of the building, the brickwork design gives the impression of rusticated quoins.

Colmans Seafood Temple South Shields


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