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Exciting new plans for iconic Grainger Market

13th March, 2024

CGI interpretation of the new Arcade area of the Grainger Market with new event space and seating in the middle.
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New plans to restore one of Newcastle’s most treasured buildings have been unveiled, protecting its heritage and securing its future.

The Grainger Market is the city’s oldest and most important retail asset, standing proudly in the city centre since 1835. The plans will enhance the original features of this Grade 1 listed building, whilst also making significant improvements to create a destination to rival the best European markets.

Newcastle City Council has been working with the Grainger Market traders and locally based FaulknerBrowns Architects, and plans will now be turned into reality, with work due to start on site in the summer.

CGI interpretation of the one of the alleys in Grainger Market with new moody lighting

Credit: FaulknerBrowns Architects + Pillar Visuals

The Grainger Market has received £8.2million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, as part of a wider successful bid for city centre projects. The vision is to create a space for cultural activities in the market and grow its audience, whilst also providing a good quality, affordable location for independent local traders and retaining the existing loyal customer base.

Central to achieving this vision are plans to significantly upgrade the Arcade to compliment the bright and roomy environment created by the restored barrelled glass roof and bringing more flexibility to the market by creating an exciting new event space and extending opening hours.

Two new ‘pavilions’, one at each end of the Arcade, will create impressive new spaces for a variety of uses, both in the day and into the evening, whilst still having traders located to each side.

The Nun Street Pavilion will include tiered seating and steps up a first-floor table seating area, and new retail and storage spaces below.

The Nelson Street Pavilion will provide a permanent servery counter, an upper-level platform for seating and events and additional new retail spaces below.

The Arcade will also benefit from new terrazzo flooring, and the removal of freestanding central retail units, which were added in the 1970s, will create space for additional seating and events. Traders who were currently located in this central area have been relocated to newly renovated units in the market.

CGI interpretation of new elevated cafe seating area in Grainger Market arcade

Credit: FaulknerBrowns Architects + Pillar Visuals

Other improvements, many of which have been shaped by feedback from traders and will enhance the original features include:

–       Renovations to all 14 entrances to improve the market’s visibility. These will be fitted with glazed, automatic sliding doors and fixed glazed windows to help reduce draughts.

–       Upgraded décor for all the entrances, with new mosaic floor tiling and runners, orientation and signage added.

–       The refurbishment of the external area around the entrances, with planters, signage, and new granite paving runners to lead customers into the market.

–       Improved décor of the alleys, and new wayfinding and signage. New programmable LED lighting will be installed to upper sections to allow for colours to change and an improved ambience.

–       Refurbished toilet facilities.

Cllr Alex Hay, Cabinet Member for a Thriving City, said: “I am pleased to unveil these plans that the council, FaulknerBrowns and Grainger Market traders have been working on for some time now.

“This has been a truly inclusive process, where the traders’ opinions have been listened to throughout, and these designs have been shaped by them.

“We have a unique asset in the Grainger Market, and it is more than just a striking and historic building. It is a community that has been created over the years by loyal traders and customers.

“And they will continue to be as important as ever, but to secure the market’s future it must move forward and broaden its appeal and customer-base. With these new plans, I am confident we can achieve this, with the traditional and more contemporary working side-by-side to create a vibrant destination befitting of and benefitting our wonderful city.”

Tania Love, Associate Partner at FaulknerBrown Architects said: “Grainger Market is one of the best, if not the best, of the UK’s purpose-designed indoor markets. It has successfully traded for nearly 200 years, so our approach to the renovation has been to focus on careful interventions that will hopefully help its independent traders thrive for many more years to come.

“We celebrate the market’s heritage by looking back to look forwards – colours, patterns and materials of the existing building are reflected in new structures, finishes and facilities.

“Within the Arcade, pavilions have been designed to better support the market as a social destination, somewhere to sit, to meet while eating and shopping, but also to host daytime and night-time events, from fashion shows and live music to pop-up trader demonstrations and dinner events.”

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