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Report - Swallow Hotel, Gateshead - June 2015

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
Regular User
#1
The 1960’s Swallow Hotel, formerly the Five Bridges Hotel, which is considered by some to be a famous landmark, can be found in Gateshead. It was a 103 bedroom hotel which closed unexpectedly sometime around May/June of 2014; all reservations were suddenly cancelled and The Swallow Hotels Group removed the venue from their website on the same day it locked its doors for the final time. Provisional hand written signs were placed in the windows, displaying the message: ‘these premises are closed to the public’. It was later affirmed that the hotel went into liquidation. It is reported that in its former years many famous people stayed at the hotel, particularly athletes and sports stars. There are a number of photos of actress and singer Eartha Kitt, and even the Rolling Stones and ‘Mick Jagger on a rainy day in 1971’, who all passed through its doors. It is understood that its original bar, The Engine Room, was a popular gathering place for celebrities in earlier years. More recently, despite the decline in famous guests, in 2010 The Swallow featured in a Hovis bread advert titled: ‘Boy on a Bike’. The streets surrounding the site were apparently transported back to the 1970’s for a shoot with classic vehicles, flat caps and bicycles which were all relics from that era.

The hotel itself advertised itself as ‘an ideal base from which to explore the local area’. It boasted that there are many nearby attractions which are all within a short drive of the hotel; some of these include Hadrian’s Wall, the Angel of the North and the shops and nightlife of Newcastle. As noted above, the venue offered 103 rooms, but each one was also fully equip with tea/coffee making facilities, Wi-Fi, a hairdryer, ironing board and iron, and all benefitted from the natural sunlight which penetrated rooms easily due to the building’s perfect location. The onsite restaurant, Hadrian’s Restaurant, catered for up to 150 guests and offered freshly prepared dishes. Of course, like most other hotels, the Swallow Hotel also provided extensive conference, meeting and events facilities which could hold up to 350 delegates. As an additional bonus, the Swallow offered free secure parking for guests of the hotel. Despite closing without any prior notice, The Swallow were kind enough to let the general public know all that they would not be offering evening dinner service between 23rd-27th December 2014 and 31st December 2014 to 1st January 2015. This notice emerged sometime after the hotel closed.

It was Mayhem who tipped us off about a recently abandoned hotel. So, with the conviction that there might be something to explore with plenty to look at inside, we all jumped into the car and set off towards Gateshead. At first, things were going well; when we arrived there was a conveniently placed parking spot, and the immediate area was relatively quiet. However, after a quick look around the premises we soon discovered that a whole construction team were inside, ripping the absolute fuck out of it by the sound of things. Feeling somewhat dejected, we retreated back to the car to fetch up a plan. Half an hour later, after a quick stop off in Tesco for a ham and cheese toasty, and Poundland for hi-viz vests – albeit children’s ones because they had no adult sizes, we were stood outside, ready to tackle The Swallow.

We strolled on inside, outfitted with our £1 vests, cunningly disguised as construction workers – not really, but we can continue to live with the pretend knowledge that we did. Of course, as I expected that we’d be thrown off the site at any moment, I set about grabbing a few shots here and there as quickly as possible; so all in all it was a bit of a rushed effort. After half an hour of wandering around, however, it finally began to sink in that the grand plan might actually work after all, so we slowed down and took the time to enjoy our surroundings a little bit more. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to reach the top of the hotel, because the workers have blocked off the main staircase and the lift required a key – one which we did not possess ourselves. Overall though, I’d say we managed to visit a fair bit of the site, and it was certainly an entertaining start to our day.

Explored with Ford Mayhem and Soul.

1: The Swallow Hotel (Not My Own Shot)

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2: The Beginning

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3: Former Bar Area

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4: The Bar

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5: The Mattresses

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6: Further Upstairs

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7: One of the Finer Corridors

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8: The Kitchen Area

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9: More Kitchen

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10: Last of the Supplies

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11: Pots and Pans

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12: Staff Area

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13: Food Counter

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14: Hadrian's Restaurant

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15: Restaurant Waiting Area

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16: Former Lounge Area

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17: Lounge Seating

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18: Cleaner's Things

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18: The Safe

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19: Construction in Progress (In the Next Room)

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20: The Reception Area

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21: Blending In

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22: The Rolling Stones

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Last edited:

gordon kilday

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#7
My Brother was a member of the management team in the hotel for over 20 yrs he was one of the last to leave. I understand that the local Jewish community have bought the hotel.
 

dave

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#8
Amazing went past here today with the Mrs she said surprised you havnt done this one yet, i pointed out that it was swarming with workers. On my doorstep too just never got round to having a proper look so thanks for sharing this. Good on you for the hi viz method usually works.
 

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
Regular User
#11
My Brother was a member of the management team in the hotel for over 20 yrs he was one of the last to leave. I understand that the local Jewish community have bought the hotel.
That would explain why we saw a couple of people wearing the traditional Jewish hat in there. Hope your brother was able to find another job.

Amazing went past here today with the Mrs she said surprised you havnt done this one yet, i pointed out that it was swarming with workers. On my doorstep too just never got round to having a proper look so thanks for sharing this. Good on you for the hi viz method usually works.
Cheers :) How's it looking now? With the rate they were stripping it apart I can't imagine much is left.

Nice ones mate :thumb

Loving the His Vis Bib, it really suits him ;)
Cheers :thumb I thought so too lol.

Great shots, very cleaver plan
Thanks :thumb
 

gordon kilday

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#12
WildBoyz as of yet he is still looking for work that hotel was his life all told he spent over 35 years of his working life in there over the employment periods, it still upsets him when he goes past it on his way in to town
 

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
Regular User
#13
WildBoyz as of yet he is still looking for work that hotel was his life all told he spent over 35 years of his working life in there over the employment periods, it still upsets him when he goes past it on his way in to town
I thought as much. The current climate for securing a long-term job in this country is very poor indeed. I wish him the best of luck finding a new job, I'm sure something will turn up in good time.
 

dave

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#14
Cheers :) How's it looking now? With the rate they were stripping it apart I can't imagine much is left.
TBH it looks much the same from the outside there were workers all over the place when we went past does as anyone know what the long term plans are for the place.
 

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