Xsite Architects have designed a two-storey extension which will provide a bigger home for Northern Alchemy brewery as well as a new restaurant
The Cumberland Arms in Ouseburn - famed for its views along the Tyne - has been home to a traditional public house for more than 115 years and is now a destination pub and B&B that regularly hosts gigs, festivals and weekly events including a kids’ film club.
In a move which aims to safeguard its future for generations to come, the family-owned business has enlisted Xsite Architecture – also based in Ouseburn – to draw up plans for a contemporary extension which will replace an adjoining garage and the current home of the Northern Alchemy brewery, in a converted shipping container.
The sizeable extension, which will almost double the size of the site, will include three separate elements, each with their own entrances, which the architects and owners say will widen and boost what’s on offer at The Cumberland.
The ground floor of the extension will house a purpose built brewery space for Northern Alchemy, which is run by the Cumberland Arms’ general manager Jo Hodson’s husband Carl and her brother-in-law.
Northern Alchemy is running at full capacity in the neighbouring shipping container and desperately needs a bigger base to meet demands and grow.
The planned brewery house will have a 10-barrel brewing kit accompanied by expanded bottling, kegging, canning and ancillary facilities – and it will also have space to accommodate visitors and brewery tours, which are key elements of contemporary craft brewing businesses.
The next floor up will be a purpose built restaurant adjoining the Cumberland.
The architects say that, while there is no shortage of pubs and music venues in the Ouseburn area, there is a lack of dedicated restaurants, meaning an eatery at The Cumberland could complement the bars, venue, brewery and bed and breakfast as well as bringing additional customers to the site.
Meanwhile, the top floor will become a two-bed apartment for Ms Hodson and her family, in a return to the old idea of business owners ‘living above the shop’.
The plans have now been submitted to Newcastle City Council for approval and there are high hopes they will be given the green light. In 2009, a planning approval was granted for a similar scheme – a single storey extension to provide a new restaurant and function room – though permission has since expired.
Mrs Hodson, whose father Michael Hodson owns the business, said: “In general business is okay. Summer is our time with all of our outside events, beer festivals and music events.
“The Ouseburn is a great place to be and I love running a business in the valley, and really look forward to living back here again – with that view who wouldn’t want to live there? It is a family business, so it makes sense for us to live there too.
“These are exciting times – very. The plans aim to ensure the long term future of the Cumberland.
“Northern Alchemy is run by my husband and my brother-in-law so it made sense for us to expand on site and foster the relationship between pub and brewery, and production will increase from 600 litres to up to more than 3,800.
“The restaurant itself won’t be run by us but rented out to someone else - we’ll have more details on that in the coming months.
“There will be new jobs too, and they won’t just be created by us but with the businesses joining us, so there will be up to 10 and maybe more.”
The Cumberland Arms sits at the end of what was a terrace, built around 1860, but is the only building still standing.
The three-storey building was first converted into a beerhouse in 1862, but major renovation works led to a collapse and the building was completely rebuilt by Architect James Cackett and reopened in 1899.