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Cross House (1911)
Architects: Cackett and Burns Dick
Location: Westgate Road/Fenkle Street. Status: Unlisted.
The first Cross House was a 17thC brick mansion which was once the home of Ralph Carr, who founded the first bank in Newcastle in 1755, the oldest provincial bank except for Nottingham. It became a vicarage for St. Johnn's Church and then was modified and extended and used for commercial purposes before being demolished to widen Westgate Road about 1900. In 1911 the second Cross House was built by Necastle's foremost commercial and civic architects Cackett and Burns Dick.
For this difficult triangular site the used the innovative reinforced concrete structural system patented by the Hennebique Company and developed on Tyneside. The ferro-concrete frame was clad in fashionable Portland stone which was used smooth faced and heavily tooled to provide contrasting surfaces. The windows are plain and simple, except for the two relieving, full height bay windows on the Westgate Road face. Further interest is added by a very heavy cornice at the fourth floor, and decorative male and female figures on the narrow gable. Unfortunately this building is usually remembered only for the tragic fire which occured in the building in 1912 with some loss of life.
Some of the text has been taken from "The Buildings of Grainger Town" by David Lovie.
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