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New Bridge Street Goods Warehouse, site of
near TrafalgarStreet, Newcastle, Tyne & Wear
New Bridge Street Goods Warehouse, site of
associated engineer
Louis Gustave Mouchel
date  1900 - August 1906
era  Modern  |  category  Building  |  reference  NZ253642
photo  Mouchel archive
Now demolished, the New Bridge Street Goods Station and Warehouse, to give it its full title, was an early example of a "ferro-concrete" frame building constructed using the Hennebique system of reinforcement. It featured at least one concrete spiral staircase (pictured).
The building was constructed as part of the expansion and development (1880s onwards) of the North Eastern Railway in Newcastle. It served as a goods warehouse for 10 rail lines — the site is just northeast of Newcastle Central Station. The building had four levels, including a basement that functioned as a goods station. A grain store and conveyors were located on the upper levels.
The structure measured 131m by 54.35m in plan and was 25.4m high. Its frame was constructed in reinforced concrete, or ferro-concrete as it was then known, to the design of Louis Gustave Mouchel, UK agent for the Hennebique reinforcement design system. At this time, patented systems were supplied on a kind of design and build basis. Clients and architects specified the requirements and the system engineers supplied the details. Contractors were licensed to build particular systems.
The building was designed for very heavy loadings, since cranes, conveyors and warehouse content all had to be supported. Beneath the site is boulder clay, which helped take the load.
Up to first floor level, the frame consisted of wall and interior columns, numbering 70 in total. The wall columns were supported on heavy-duty concrete retaining walls, which doubled as walls for the basement level. The interior columns were laid out in five rows set 10m apart longitudinally. The basement level featured 30 additional columns.
The footings for the columns were reinforced according to the Hennebique method, with horizontal bars laid in rows at right angles to one another, connected by vertical hoops for resisting shear stresses.
Reinforced concrete trusses supported the upper levels. Each truss — 3m in depth and spanning 11m — was designed to carry a load of 309 tonnes.
The spiral staircase was also made entirely in reinforced concrete. The treads radiated around, and cantilevered off, a central cylindrical column.
The warehouse was severely damaged by enemy bombing during World War II — the sugar stored in it burned for three days. The shell of the building stood until the 1970s, when it was demolished.
Research: FBA
bi b l i o g r a p h y
"Concrete foundations and substructures: a historical review"
by M.M. Chrimes, in "Historic Concrete: Background to Appraisal" ed. Sutherland, Humm and Chrimes, Thomas Telford Ltd, London, 2001
"Francois Hennebique (1842-1921) reinforced concrete pioneer"
by D.G. McBeth, Proceedings Institution Civil Engineers (1998), 126 May, 867-95, paper 11382
"Mouchel: A Century of Achievement" published by Mouchel, 1997
Location

New Bridge Street Goods Warehouse, site of