List number: 1115718
List grade: 2
Tyne & Wear HER: 5162
Post code: NE7 7RG
Grid ref: NZ2811066918

Wills Building, Wallsend


The Wills Building is located off the Coast Road in Wallend, Newcastle. The distictive Art Deco building was built from 1946-50 as the W.D. & H.O. Wills cigarette factory. The factory closed in 1986 and stood unused for many years until the main building was redeveopled as luxury apartments and reopened as The Wills Building November 1999. The building is Grade II Listed.

The Wills Building is a well-known landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was built in the Art Deco style as a cigarette factory in the late 1940s for W. D. & H. O. Wills. It is situated on the New Coast Road from Newcastle upon Tyne to the Billy Mill roundabout in North Shields, and overlooks the Wallsend golf course. It was originally built with the office block facing onto the New Coast Road with the factory itself forming the wings and rear of the building, making the whole factory complex into a quadrangle. The complex included a theatre and leisure facilities for the staff.

After the factory closed in 1986 it stood empty for a number of years. During this period it was a sad sight with windows smashed by vandals, but the front section of the building could not be demolished, having gained Grade II listed status in November 1986. Many local people thought it should be redeveloped and various schemes were put forward, including conversion into a hotel, but none of these came to fruition. The rear sections of the factory complex were demolished at around this time as the buildings were too impregnated with nicotine to be cost-effectively restored. The main building was converted into luxury residential apartments by George Wimpey, with its exterior and stonework carefully restored. It was officially reopened as The Wills Building in November 1999. Modern housing was built on the brownfield land to the rear.

The Wills Building is featured in "Newcastle + Gateshead Architecture And Heritage" by Faulkner, Beacock and Jones (page 286, ISBN 1-904438-29-6). One feature of the conversion from factory to apartments was the use of blue tinted glass, as can be seen in the photograph, for the windows facing south looking over the New Coast Road, helping to reduce the solar gain of the large windows. Another notable feature of the conversion was the excellence of the soundproofing between the flats, although with the windows open the noise from the dual carriageway below is fairly noticeable.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 14/12/2016).
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from Geograph (geograph)
W.D. & H.O. Wills Building

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from Newcastle libraries (flickr)
Wills Building, Newcastle

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from https://commons.wikimedia.o...
Wills Tobacco Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1950
- Aerial view of the Wills cigarette factory, built for W.D. & H.O. Wills, the British cigarette manufacturer, March 1950 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/4448G). The factory closed ...

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Simon Cotterill
from Flickr (flickr)
The Wills Building

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
from Geograph (geograph)
W.D. & H.O. Wills Building

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from Geograph (geograph)
Wills of Wallsend

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from https://historicengland.org...
WILLS' TOBACCO FACTORY - List Entry
- "Factory. Mid 1940s to an earlier design. Red brick and Portland stone; roof flat and hidden by parapets. Dignified Art Deco style. Main south front 3 storeys, 23 bays in ...

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Simon Cotterill
from http://www.twsitelines.info...
Tyne and Wear HER(5162): Heaton, Coast Road, Wills Tobacco Factory
- "Former W.D. and H.O. Wills tobacco manufacturing factory built of red brick and Portland stone in the 1940s but in an Art Deco style designed prior to the ...

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Simon Cotterill

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