Plans for major repair works to help safeguard the future of a historic masonic hall have been given the go-ahead.
Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application in 2021 for the Grade I-listed building off Queen Street East, known as Phoenix Hall.
The building dates back to around 1785 and has been used as a Freemasons meeting lodge for more than 230 years. Much of the building’s heritage significance lies in the preserved temple room, which features masonic symbols and decoration.
The listed building consent application was lodged by the Queens Street Heritage Trust, along with a heritage statement, which said the repairs would “ensure this historic building is preserved for future generations.”
After considering the application, Sunderland City Council’s planning department have now approved the plans.
A decision report, prepared by council planners, noted the “exceptionally significant” listed building which is the “oldest purpose-built masonic hall still in use by Freemasons anywhere in the country”.
The planning decision report goes on to say: “The proposed repairs to Phoenix Hall is a key project within the Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone initiative and will importantly provide essential repair works to significant elements of the exceptionally significant Grade I-listed building, helping to conserve and sustain its significance into the future and contributing to addressing the heritage-at-risk status of Old Sunderland’s Conservation Areas.
“It is noted and considered that the proposed urgent repair works will address several areas of immediate concern regarding the condition of the building, most importantly evidence of structural movement in the chequered temple floor, one of the most significant features of the building and a main characteristic of its masonic architecture, as well as damage to walls, ceilings and joinery from water penetration caused by a poor arrangement of the rainwater goods and deterioration of the roof.”
Stag and Hen ideas in Newcastle upon Tyne!
Whether you’re a local or planning a trip North for a stag/hen weekend trip, Newcastle is the ideal city to celebrate. There’s so much to do in the city, from a great variety of places to eat and drink, fun nights out, to ample day-time activities! Here’s a list of some of the best stag and hen ideas to pack into your stag/hen weekend in Newcastle upon Tyne, some traditional and some slightly more unique…
1/ Dance classes
Dance City in Newcastle offers amazing Hen and Stag party experiences that ensure you’ll be spending quality time with your friends before the big day. They offer a variety of different classes to suit everyone!
Try their ‘Come fly with us’ experience, for 2 hours learning how to create shapes on the trapeze, dance in the cocoons, use the silks and spin in the hoop! Or you could try their burlesque workshops and street dance classes. Their musical theatre experience provides the bride-to-be an opportunity to choose a song to perform with her friends, ready to be showcased on the big day!
It’s guaranteed to be a fun-packed day.
2/ NE Bubble football
If you want to get you and your friends involved in a hilarious, must-try activity, then try out Bubble Football, only 10 minutes away from Newcastle City centre. All players are put into zorbs and games are taught by a qualified instructor. You can compete against each other in tournaments and choose between the standard 60-minute options or up to the 120 minute option.
It’s a great activity to involve all your friends in a day-time activity to remember. They also offer goggle football (https://nebubblefootball.co.uk/gogglefootball.php) which is another great, alternative activity to try out – perfect for stag and hen dos, and combat archery.
This cross between dodgeball and paintball (using bows and foam tipped arrows) is a fun activity pitting groups against each other in an intense game with inflatable bunkers to hide behind.
It’s another great team-building activity, enabling you to spend quality time with friends and make some hilarious memories. (https://nebubblefootball.co.uk/combatarchery.php)
3/ Cocktail making classes
For a social day-time activity guaranteed to start off an evening of drinking and celebrating perfectly, get yourself and your friends to a cocktail making class!
There are absolutely loads to choose from in Newcastle, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
- All Bar One offer classic cocktail masterclasses starting at £25 each where you have the chance to mix, muddle and mash three of your own cocktails. (https://www.allbarone.co.uk/national-search/northeast/all-bar-one-newcastle/cocktailmasterclasses#/)
- Lola Jeans provide masterclasses in their hidden Speakeasy in the Newcastle venue, and you can add a grazing platter to ensure you have plenty to eat whilst making delicious cocktails (https://www.allbarone.co.uk/national-search/northeast/all-bar-one-newcastle/cocktailmasterclasses#/)
- Banyan Newcastle offers cocktail making classes with your own personal bartender starting at £30pp (https://www.banyanbar.co.uk/bars/newcastle/cocktail-masterclass)
- And finally, The Botanist offers popular masterclasses packages with games and competitions included! (https://thebotanist.uk.com/locations/newcastle/cocktail-masterclass
Plus many more…
Where to stay in the North East – North East Accommodation – Best places to stay
You don’t need to travel abroad to enjoy a relaxing and well-deserved break. The North East is home to a beautiful coastline and expansive countryside, castles and historical landmarks, lakes and reservoirs, scenic towns and villages and ample wildlife. It makes the perfect location for a weekend retreat (or a full week retreat). Ranging from action-packed holidays to romantic spa escapes, we’ve collated a list of the best hotels and places to stay in the North East to explore the fantastic, local environment. This way, you can enjoy some time off without having a crush your belongings into tiny carry-on suitcases and deal with long airport queues.
Trees at Tughall
For a true break from the city (but only an accessible hours drive from Newcastle) stay in the Trees and Tughall contemporary cabins in the Northumberland countryside. There are three cabins to choose from, Ash, Willow, and Hawthorne, each with wood burning stoves, king size beds, window seats to take in the expansive woodland views, fire pits and a covered decking. The cabins provide a perfect minimalist space to break away from the bustle of modern life and enjoy the countryside undisturbed.
Only a 30minute walk from Beadnell beach and a 30 minute drive into the cheviots, you can immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings, and on the plus side, these cabins are ideal any time of year.
The Cookie Jar Alnwick
This boutique style hotel, located in the medieval market town of Alnwick, is a luxurious, cosy retreat. A highlight is the two-tier terrace and garden where you can enjoy cocktails with friends whilst listening to gentle house background music.
There are 11, uniquely named and entirely individual bedrooms, each ranging in character and size so you can choose which one is perfect for you. It also has its own kennels, so you don’t have to leave your dogs behind!
The hotel is well placed in the Northumberland countryside so you can enjoy lots of outdoor activities. From golf to shooting, stargazing to fishing, horse-riding to walking the multiple different trails, there’s so much to do! After an exhausting day exploring in the fresh air, you can retire to the cosy hotel and enjoy delicious locally sourced food from their bistro.
TOP 5 SUNDAY ROASTS IN THE NORTH EAST
Autumn is well and truly upon us, which means it’s also the perfect time of year for a comforting Sunday roast. There is nothing more welcoming than a warming Sunday lunch to cope with the darker, cooler nights. The North East has plenty of great spots for you to try and we’ve highlighted some of the most popular and most delicious.
First up is Branches, a restaurant on the popular Osborne Road in Jesmond. They offer a contemporary elegant dining experience in their stylish, modern dining room with high quality produce sourced from local suppliers (all their meat for the Sunday dinners is sourced from a family farm and butcher that farms in Nidderdale, Moors and Vales.)
Their Sunday lunch menu is priced at £19.95 for one course, £29.95 for 2 and £31.95 for three courses. The main Sunday roasts come with crispy duck fat roast potatoes, freshly made Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower cheese and lots of vegetables. They offer chicken breast, beef, pork loin and also butternut squash risotto as a vegetarian option.
Finish off your delicious Sunday roast with a traditional and comforting British classic, sticky toffee pudding. Or, try out their blackberry and fig cheesecake complete with cinnamon marmalade, blackberry compote and spiced baby figs.
Their menu is also updated and changed regularly.
Next is Nest, offering indulgent dining in a relaxing and comfortable environment. They specialise in tasting menus throughout the week but offer roast dinners between 12-4pm on Sundays. Two courses are priced at £20 whilst three courses are £25. The restaurant can be found on Chillingham road in Heaton.
As well as offering the traditional beef, lamb, and pork Sunday lunches, they also offer different options for those in your group who don’t fancy a roast. These include handmade ricotta tortellini and pan-seared stone bass.
Nest are also renowned for their wine menu, collaborating with an excellent wine supplier, they have lots of interesting wines to enjoy with your Sunday roast.
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