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Felling Swimming Baths

54.940045, -1.546644

Felling, Gateshead






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Last Updated:

24 Jun 2022

HER Description

1960-3 by J.H. Napper & Partners. Faces a small shopping centre at the centre of the Leam Lane housing estate. Angled concrete frame supporting the two pools. Ends glazed, sides clerestory lit. Brick changing room blocks under the raked sides with their tiers of seats. External stairs to foyer. Restaurant suspended over the learners' pool {2}. DESCRIPTION / STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE A large, exceptional and imposing example of modernist architecture, this swimming baths is constructed in steel framed glass and concrete, with ridged steel roofing sheets more commonly seen on factory buildings. Set centrally in the principal elevation is a cantilevered double dogleg staircase with white steel horizontally panelled railings. The narrow, vertical panes of glass are massed together to fill the angled concrete frame with ridged steel sheeting above. The upper portion is supported on each side by concrete pillars and brackets, as it projects outward in wings over the flat roofed bottom floor. Controversial from the beginning, some local people thought it too expensive, whereas it was lauded in the architectural press as a great achievement. It was particularly recognised for the way it dealt with a complex design problem, achieving a workable solution whilst displaying architectural quality, as well as pioneering the new standards of pool design only introduced by the Ministry of Housing after the design was complete. Of particular interest was the solution to condensation, rife in such a place, by the innovative use of heating coils and individual condensation outlets to each glazing panel. It is a dramatic landmark building, especially emphasised by the open nature of its setting.

Ordnance Survey

'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Felling Pool interior, 1963. Source: Chronicle

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'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Felling Pool, 1966. Source: Chronicle

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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