Wills BuildingEdit profile
This article refers to a landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne. For the building in Bristol see the Wills Memorial Building. 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. 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 stone throwing vandals, but as the front of the building was a Grade II listed building it could not be demolished. (It gained listed status a year after it closed.) Many local people thought it should be redeveloped and various schemes including conversion into a hotel were put forward but did not bear fruit. The rear and sides part of the factory complex were demolished at around this time. But it was not until the main building was converted to luxury residential apartments by George Wimpey that the building was restored. It was officially reopened as The Wills Building in November 1998. 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 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. To find the Wills Building you can use Google Maps here or Google Earth here.