SOUTH TYNE HOUSE AND PART OF THE FORME
R ALSTON BREWERY
(Formerly listed as:
SOUTH TYNE HOUSE)
A former late C18 brewery, architect unknown, consisting of brewmaster's house, a tavern, a waterwheel house, a wine, spirit and beer store, a brewhouse, a cooperage, cottages, a transport house that originally accommodated stables on the ground floor and a hayloft above, and the brewery reservoir. A heavily-altered barn, a modernised single-storey structure between the barn and the transport house, and the late C19 former laundry and bathhouse are not included in the listing.
PLAN: The complex is sub-rectangular in plan with the reservoir located a short distance to the north west.
MATERIALS: The former brewery complex is constructed of stone beneath slate and stone slate roofs
EXTERIOR: South Tyne House, the former brewmaster's house, is built of coursed, squared rubble. It is of two storeys with cellar and attic and is of three bays with gable chimneys. The front elevation has a central panelled door in a stone surround. A pedimented wooden doorcase has single Tuscan columns on plinth blocks to either side. Windows have sandstone lintels and sills. Quoins are hammer-dressed. The left return has a window to the ground floor and a window inserted in a former hoist door at attic level with surviving shutter hinges. The rear elevation has a centrally-placed later two storey lean-to addition with tall chimney stack. The right return has a small attic window and later plaque depicting a lion rampant in relief. Windows are modern sash with glazing bars throughout.
Attached to South Tyne House is a single-storey former tavern with an entrance at the left, a two-light sash window with external shutters, and a tall chimney stack. Its rear elevation has a stone lean-to attached.
A small two-storey structure occupies the angle between the former wine, spirit and beer store and the former wheelhouse, now Waterwheel Cottage. A pedestrian passageway giving access from the front to the rear of South Tyne House is situated between the former tavern and this structure.
The former wine, spirit and beer store is at 90 degrees to the previously described buildings and is of two and three storeys. The front elevation has an offset front door beneath a blocked former door and scattered fenestration with sash windows with glazing bars and stone sills and lintels, with the lintels to the upper floor being wedge-shaped. The left return has windows to three floors while the rear elevation has windows to two floors only at its right end and buildings attached to the remainder of its elevation.
Attached to the right end of the store is the two-storey L-shaped former brewhouse. Double doors at ground floor, with smaller double doors with a small window above inserted in place of a hoist arm, are located in the angle of the L. The remainder of the elevation has a slightly lower roof line that is hipped at the gable end. The left part of the elevation has a timber door with casement windows to either side and three large casement windows above and a smaller window to the right at first floor level. The right part of the elevation has a flight of stone steps with handrails leading to a studded black and white timbered door at first floor level. The gable of the brewhouse has two doors to the ground floor and two sash windows above.
In the garden in front of the store and brewhouse there is a single-storey former cooperage with a stone slate roof that slopes down from the rear of the building to the front. It has two timber plank doors to the front elevation, single windows in the three other elevations, a rounded corner to aid vehicle movements at its front right corner and a squat chimney at its rear left corner.
Attached to the brewhouse is a two-storey cottage with windows to both floors in its gable. The right return has a door at the left corner and a blocked door just off centre indicating that it was formerly a pair of cottages. There are two windows to both floors together with a small window on the ground floor.
Adjacent is a single-storey lean-to and the rear of the former brewhouse with a single-storey lean-to. The gable return of the former brewhouse has an inserted double door with small rectangular window above to the left side of the elevation and a modern inserted round-arched window to the upper floor.
Adjacent and protruding forward is the two-storey former wheelhouse, now Wheelhouse Cottage, with a modern glass and timber door and modern windows to each floor.
Facing the former cottages and forming the north side of a passageway is the former transport house that consisted of stables with hayloft above. The building has been converted into domestic accommodation and includes Riverside Cottage. It is of two storeys with modern sash windows to both floors throughout. There is a two storey addition to its west end with a ground floor door off the passageway and first floor access up a flight of external stone steps on its north elevation.
Also included in the listing is an associated stone-lined reservoir measuring about 20m long by 7m wide which lies in woodland a short distance north west of the brewery complex.
INTERIOR: South Tyne House has a timber six-panelled front door leading to a hallway with front living room to right and study to the left. The hall leads to a dog leg staircase giving access to the first floor and stone steps giving access to the cellar. The rear has a kitchen to the right and rear living room to the left. Surviving internal features, comprising some reclaimed items imported from elsewhere, include panelled doors and door furniture, timber window shutters, a carved wooden fire surround with matching mirror above in the front living room, carved timber door surrounds, coving and bookcase surrounds, a wooden semi-circular cocktail cabinet set into the wall of the study, a timber fire surround made from former beer vats in the rear living room, timber stair balusters and handrail, Victorian fire grates and surrounds to the bedrooms, a former hoist alcove and a mix of modern and original beams to the attic.
The former tavern is accessed by a sturdy plank door with early strap hinges, latch, lock and bolt. There is a kitchen range with drying rail above and an unusual hotplate for havercakes.
The former brewhouse, currently unused, has been modernised and converted to office and manufacturing use. Many original exposed roof timbers survive. The former brewery office at the eastern end of this block retains numerous early features including a timber front door with diagonal planking, strap hinges, lock and latch, a panelled door with door furniture, a half-glazed vestibule door, window shutters, and a fire surround with relief decoration depicting a flail, scythe, sickle and tankard beneath a moulded and dentilled mantleshelf.
The former waterwheel house has been converted to domestic accommodation and contains a Victorian fire range.
The former wine, spirit and beer store and the former transport house that housed stables with a hayloft above have both been converted to domestic accommodation. The original cottage still function as such.
HISTORY: South Tyne House forms part of the former Blackett & Gill's Alston Brewery constructed during the 1770s. According to the owner an old painting found by the Alston Historical Society and completed at an unspecified date before 1830 depicts all the present buildings in situ. The brewery was advertised for sale or let in 1845 and was described as an, `old established and well accustomed brewery', that comprised a, 'dwelling house, garden, meadow field, pasture, cottages, malting houses, stables and buildings adjoining thereto, and the plants, vats, casks and all other materials belonging to the said brewery'. An engraving dated about 1850 when the brewery was owned by Shaw, Gill, & Co. is a relatively accurate portrayal of the buildings as they stand today. Visible changes since the engraving was produced include the removal of a pyramidal roof from the former brewhouse, removal of external stone steps to first floor doors in the wine, spirit and beer store and the cottage attached to the former brewhouse, infilling of these two former doors, insertion of a new front door and two windows in the store, and insertion of windows to both floors in the gable end of the cottage. The brewery later became owned by Gill but by the 1870s it was struggling financially and went into administration. It is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1899 as a hosiery works and it continued as such until about 1940. In the latter years of the C19 a single storey building was added to the north end of the brewery complex and was used to house the Alston Laundry and Public Bathhouse which operated from about 1895-1905. Between c.1890 and 1910 the former brewhouse was used by Alston Dairy Co. During the 1940s the former granary which stood behind South Tyne House was demolished. Some other buildings have also been converted into domestic accommodation at unspecified dates including the former wheelhouse, the former wine, spirit and beer store and part of the former stable block or transport house. In the latter years of the C20 the former brewhouse was used as an anorak manufacturers until about 2002. Modern window frames have been installed virtually throughout the complex.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
South Tyne House and part of the former Alston Brewery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The former brewery is a rare survival of a small town late C18 brewery retaining such an abundance of component parts
* The layout of the former brewery complex remains legible and survives remarkably well
* A comparison of the surviving brewery buildings with a mid-C19 engraving reveals how little the complex has altered during the ensuing century and a half.