Restoring Newcastle gem Grainger Market

“The charm of Grainger Market lies in its variety and layers of history. It’s a melting pot of art, food, craft and suppliers. The challenge is how to hold on to that charm whilst modernising elements for greater appeal.”
John Simpson, Director, LDA Design

New designs have been revealed that celebrate the heritage of Grainger Market, the Grade I listed indoor market which has been an important part of life in Newcastle city centre for nearly 200 years.

A short walk from Grey Street, Newcastle’s premier street, Grainger is known as the city’s first supermarket, and you can find most things there from fruit and veg to haberdashery, from bread to vintage clothing, flowers and pizza.

LDA Design is working with Newcastle City Council and a team led by FaulknerBrowns architects to restore and revitalise Grainger Market so that it remains relevant for generations to come.

John Simpson, a director at LDA Design, said the market had become “a forgotten child of the city” and that the project aimed to bring it front and centre as part of a vibrant cultural and retail offer. The ambition is to broaden its appeal, celebrating local makers, producers and traders and better supporting them by increasing footfall. The plans will enable the market to host events and extend opening hours, making Grainger a social destination and a rival to the best markets Europe has to offer.

The proposals, which have been shaped by feedback from the traders, would see two new pavilions added at either end of the market’s main arcade, complementing the arcade’s recently restored barrelled-glass roof. The new pavilions will provide additional selling space and storage under stepped seating. At the Nelson Street end of the arcade, there will be an upper platform for additional seating and events. There will be new terrazzo flooring and 1970s freestanding central retail units will be removed to create space for additional seating, with traders moving to newly renovated units.I

LDA Design has been working to ensure the market has a greater visual and physical presence. Improvements will be made to all 14 of the market’s entrances to improve visibility, with new parklets and planting, signage and new granite paving runners leading visitors to the market. Designs reflect the market’s heritage, culture and visual identity, including metalwork detailing, and echo proposals for the new pavilions.

New catenary lighting on two connecting streets –  Clayton Street and Nelson Street – will create a more welcoming environment, supporting the extension of the market’s hours. New exhibition spaces outside of the market will promote what it has to offer. Street clutter will be removed to improve accessibility and meet servicing requirements. Glazed automatic doors will ensure the space is warm in winter. Better wayfinding will make the site easier to move around.

LDA’s John Simpson said, “The charm of Grainger Market lies in its variety and layers of history. It’s a melting pot of art, food, craft and suppliers. The challenge is how to hold on to that charm whilst modernising elements for greater appeal.

“The market has been a hub for generations of local families. As those generations get older, and the retail and leisure landscape changes, the market has seen some decline. We want to reverse that trend and through design make the traders the stars of the show, showcasing their produce and work both inside and outside the market.”

Grainger Market forms an integral part of our wider work with Newcastle City Council to create more attractive, experiential  and climate-resilient public realm which reinforces Newcastle’s identity and civic pride and encourages people to spend more time in the centre, from day through to evening.

The project team includes FaulknerBrowns architects, Aura North East, Gardiner Richardson, TGA, Gleeds, WSP, Pillar Visuals, and heritage consultant Sarah Dyer.

The project has secured an £8.2 million grant from the Levelling Up Fund.

All images courtesy of FaulknerBrowns

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