North East & Yorkshire Premier Hospitality

Upgrading historic hostelries

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Two historic hostelries – the Northumberland Arms in Felton and the Percy Arms in Chatton – have been tastefully restored and superbly upgraded with impressive new facilities by their new owner.

Kris Blackburn, who owns both venues, told Premier Hospitality: “We are very happy with the results achieved by these projects. Both are really lovely and we are very proud of them.”

Both schemes were project managed by Karl Dunn and carried out by the same team of local sub contractors.

The Grade II Listed Northumberland Arms was built in the 1820’s by Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland, as part of a string of coaching inns where his coach horses, family and visitors could be refreshed en route from London to the duke’s home at Alnwick Castle.

“The building was badly in need of investment when we took over – for example rotten joists had to be replaced in every floor, wall and ceiling,” said Kris Blackburn,

Artex covering the original internal stonework was removed and the old mortar was picked out by hand, before the stonework was cleaned and re-pointed with lime mortar. Other works included re-wiring, re-plumbing, roof repairs and the creation of six new luxury en-suite bedrooms on the first floor.

In addition, all of the building’s sash windows (some of which incorporate glass etched with names dating back to 1859), had to be refurbished.

Another element of the project involved the installation of a new oak framed glazed conservatory to serve as a new main entrance and designed to be in keeping with the original building. The conservatory, named the River Room, incorporates a secondary dining area in addition to the main 90-cover restaurant, toilets, baby changing and disabled access facilities.

All the works were carried out in conjunction with conservationists to ensure that anything of historic value was retained. The works revealed a wealth of original features such as a previously concealed inglenook fireplace and stone lintels. “The project certainly threw out a lot of unexpected twists,” said Kris Blackburn.

Works commenced in March 28th 2013, with the bar being re-opened in October, the rooms in November and restaurant in December.

K D Joinery undertook all of the joinery works on the project and were happy to work on such an interesting scheme.

Kris Blackburn added: “The project went well – looking back on what we managed to achieve in a short time, I think we did pretty well. We had a lot of help from Tallantyres from Morpeth who helped with interior colours and fabrics, and from Nigel Blagburn at Alnwick Exchange who helped source some fantastic pieces and furniture which complement the interiors.”

Following on from the success of the Northumberland Arms scheme was the project at The Percy Arms. The building is of a similar age to the Northumberland Arms and was originally a fishing and shooting lodge, also linked to the Duke of Northumberland.

The project here was not as extensive as the one at The Northumberland Arms and comprised a general update of the interior, including the complete refurbishment of the bar and the creation of two new function rooms.

“The building was in need of a facelift and just required a little t.l.c,” said Kris Blackburn.

A new flagstone floor was laid in the bar area, with other works including electrical and plumbing upgrades and complete re-decoration. Five new en-suite bedrooms were created, replacing the original seven bedrooms (some of which had very small en-suites). The scheme started in June 2014 and the venue re-opened in August.

Westerhope Tiling Centre

Westerhope Tiling Centre specialise in all aspects of tiling works, from ceramics, porcelain and natural stones for the public and trade, along with high quality adhesives and grouts, such as Weber, Tilemaster and Kerakol.

Company founders Leo Brown and Angela Harding opened their first showroom in Westerhope in 2005. The showroom became an instant success – thanks to immense trade support – and in 2012 the company opened its second store in North Shields, which is a trade unit and has also proven to be a great success.

Projects for Westerhope Tiling Centre include The Sandman Hotels in Newcastle, Aberdeen and Gatwick airport; car showrooms such as Subaru and Mini; and restaurants which include Sohe of Jesmond, Pizza Hut and Yo Sushi. In addition, the company has also been involved with pub chains

Wetherspoons and Punch Taverns; and of course, Bobby Robson’s statue outside St James Park, stands on Westerhope’s tiles!

Working on the Northumberland Arms, the company supplied tiles and adhesives for the bar and restaurant areas and also the guest rooms.

Angie Harding of Westerhope Tiling Centre, said:

“The team were good to work with as they have a good eye for design. The place looks fabulous and we have had many customers visit our showroom after visiting the Northumberland Arms wanting the same look. Kris Blackburn returned to us for refurbishment of their second public house, the Percy Arms in Chatton.  We are very happy with the finished product.”

Angie, added:

“Being a family run business, it is of the upmost importance to be honest, hardworking and dedicated to our customers, no matter how big or small the project. We always make sure we are competitively priced and offer all customers a free delivery service.

“We employ young people who have found difficulties in finding work from Future Strategies; we sponsor Hadrian School – a school for children with learning difficulties – and we also sponsor two local under 15 football teams.

“With a decade of being in business, we are looking forward to working on more interesting projects and we can’t thank our present customers enough.”

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