Friday, September 13, 2013

Northgate Brewery, Newark on Trent

click photo to enlarge
The building shown in today's main photograph is the old maltings of the former Warwick's & Richardson's Brewery on Northgate, Newark-on-Trent. It has languished, empty and derelict since its closure in 1966 and I find it remarkable that it has survived so well. Perhaps the steps taken to make it safe - bricking up doorways etc - have helped its preservation. The maltings were constructed in 1864 using local bricks from the Cafferata company at Beacon Hill. The necessary ironwork was supplied by the Trent Ironworks of W.N. Nicholson & Sons.

This essentially functional building - it housed kilns - has been given a decorative veneer. The orange brick has bands of cream brick dogtooth and dentil work The window and door openings are emphasised by surrounds of the same cream brick. When it was a working maltings railway trucks brought barley alongside and a cage steam lift hoisted it into the building. The roof outline is characteristic of maltings with cowls at the top of the pyramidal shapes. Shapes fashioned after either flowers or leaves act as tails that catch the wind and rotate the cowl in the desired direction to assist with ventilation.

As we looked at the decaying building we wondered whether its fate would mirror that of the main brewery buildings nearby. This rather grand structure, an essay in studied asymmetry, has been converted into flats with shops and a cafe behind the open Gothic arcade at the bottom of the main facade. The transformation from industrial to domestic use has been handled well - with one exception. At the end of the main facade a cuboid block with rectilinear windows and balconies has been appended (just visible at the right of the smaller photograph). It is clad in timber which has weathered to a a dirty brown/grey. For reasons completely lost on me this finish of hardwood boarding has been very popular in the UK in recent years. It rarely looks appealing and in our relatively wet climate it invariably stains and looks grubby. It has done so here to the detriment of the overall scheme.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/3200
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On