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Epic transformation at The Exchange 1856 well underway

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

We’re transforming The Exchange 1856 back to its former glory and the results are amazing.

Nestled in the heart of North Shields’ Cultural Quarter, The Exchange 1856 is one of North Tyneside’s most beautiful buildings. Built from locally quarried stone and with all the majestic splendour of a Victorian architectural masterpiece, The Exchange 1856 is a stunning and iconic treasure for the town.

Unfortunately, the interior spaces didn’t quite match the beauty of the exterior. They were letting the building down big-style.

Peeling paint, shabby carpets and pigeons nesting on the derelict top floor - just some of the challenges facing us.

That’s certainly not the case anymore.

Our epic makeover of The Exchange 1856 is well underway and we are thrilled with the results so far.

The very top of the building offers outstanding views out to sea but incredibly this beautiful space was neglected and the only ones benefitting from the views were the pigeons nesting in the rafters.

Now, all the original features including a spectacular Victorian fireplace, ornate architraves, and sash windows, have been restored and the space cleared to make way for a multitude of uses such as art exhibitions, dance classes and even wedding ceremonies.

Soft heritage colours and classy herringbone floors, in keeping with the overall character of the building, have been used to create a light-filled, relaxing vibe.

And you won’t recognise the new bar and courtyard area, which will soon be serving food.

The use of natural materials including built-in wooden seating and plants have created an oasis – both indoors and outdoors – and the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a cool refreshing drink or a cuppa.

The historic Thomas Brown room – which celebrates the life of a local hero – has also been lovingly restored with wooden panelling throughout and the same classic colours and heritage interior design style as the rest of the building.

Newly renovated restrooms, new reception areas, newly decorated hallways, and staircases – teams of plumbers, electricians, tilers, and decorators have been working hard to make sure every single area of The Exchange 1856 is updated and improved.

But the real jewel in the crown is our community theatre. Wow! Although there’s still lots of work to be done, we’ve just finished installing the very latest state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems to rival some of the UK’s best venues.

As well as making it easier for local groups to put performances on, as they will no longer need to supply their own equipment, these new light and sound systems will enable us to attract some of the larger shows and performers and to stage events such as award ceremonies.

But there’s more to come - new hydraulic curtains, new video wall and all new fixtures, fittings and decoration.

We can’t wait for you to see it. We will be holding an open day for the local community soon, so sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don't miss out on any updates.


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