Beacon House – Whitley Bay

Granada Way
The Guardian

Beacon House Whitley Bay completed 1959.

Client: JM Liddell

Photograph: David Bilbrough

Cycling twixt Newcastle and Amble, I espied a tower block upon the horizon.

Leaving the coastal path I came upon Beacon House.

Research lead me to the work of Ryder and Yates Architecture.

Two pioneering young entrepreneurial architects who worked with Le Corbusier and Ove Arup first met in the office of Berthold Lubetkin. In 1953, they formed Ryder and Yates in Newcastle upon Tyne. That Le Corbusier, Lubetkin and, to no less extent Newcastle born Arup, had a powerful influence on the subsequent design philosophy of Gordon Ryder and Peter Yates can still be seen in any evaluation of Ryder’s work today.

Their work celebrated in this RIBA publication.

Beacon House is and elegant eleven storey tower, modest in scale yet rich in detail.

Two tiled elevations to the north and south.

Elegant balconies of a refined construction.

Plus a curious curved shell surrounding the entrance, along with a cantilevered covering.

Sadly this Peter Yates mural Procession of Shells is now lost.

3 thoughts on “Beacon House – Whitley Bay

  1. I have grown up and still live in the same street as Beacon House and it always inspired me. I used to deliver news papers there (an easy round) and occasionally stepped out onto the balconies to enjoy the view of the sea and the regular houses below (some of which are also designed by Ryder & Yates). The arrival rotunda originally was clad in vertical timber boarding and was not enclosed but more of a welcoming shield to the weather. The tile decoration to the facades was originally plain tiles but refurbished in the 80’s. Its only unfortunate that on the roof there is the detracting telecom masts and detritus. Beautifully considered compact living with views to 2 sides from each flat, and a depth of understanding of how people live, detail, coordination of elements, and composition. The immediate apron is a series of garages and enclosing walls all in black brick claiming the territory, and the asymmetric main approach and secondary route colonnade is very Arne Jacobsen inspired. The original intention was that this should be one of four towers, however I think it is a better result with just the singular tower. To Whitley Bay this is as iconic as the Lighthouse and the Spanish City. Yes, I’m an Architect, most probably because of Beacon House and also the Civic Centre in Newcastle by George Kenyon (perhaps another Moocher posting?).

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  2. Pingback: Newcastle to Amble

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