Dewar's Lane


More than just a building . . . Dewar’s Lane Granary is a six-storey Grade 2 listed building that lies between Bridge Street and the Quayside in Berwick. The Berwick-upon-Tweed Preservation Trust lead a £6.5 million project to restore the building and secure its future as a multi-use facility incorporating

• the only MLA Grade 1 exhibition space between Edinburgh and Newcastle
• heritage interpretation facilities
• seminar/meeting rooms
• a bistro, and
• a youth hostel.

It was officially opened by The Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, The Duchess of Northumberland on 3 June 2011.

The Granary was built in 1769, part of a densely-packed concentration of narrow streets and alleyways within Berwick’s Elizabethan Quay Walls that contained a multitude of granaries, maltings, workshops, smokeries, mills, icehouses, and other premises. Originally known as John Dewar’s Granary, it was badly damaged by fire early in 1815 (from when, in all probability, its lean dates). The building was not insured, the owners could not afford to rebuild so it was propped up with buttresses and put back to ‘work’. It was in use for storing and conditioning grain and, more recently, linseed and grass seed, until 1985 when following a merger of local grain businesses its new corporate owners transferred operations to a more modern and accessible facility on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Berwick. It then lay empty and became increasingly derelict.

The Trust has gained a reputation for ‘getting things done’. For this project, it teamed up with the Youth Hostel Association to restore and develop Dewar’s Lane Granary as a vibrant multi-use facility that will act as a catalyst for the ongoing development and re-invigoration of the lower part of the town.

The ground floor configuration comprises of a reception area, a small retail facility, and a bistro which extends out into a courtyard having direct access to both the Quayside and Sally Port/Bridge Street, thus exploiting the site’s potential ‘permeability’ by encouraging pedestrian circulation. Interpretive material and artefacts from the Granary are on permanent display in the bistro, reception area, and courtyard.

A major element of the restoration work was the installation of a new steel frame for the building, as the existing timber frame – although massive and stable – was not designed to sustain the volume of footfall now envisaged for the building in its new configuration. Parts of the steel frame are left exposed in the ground floor, emphasising the ‘working’ nature of the building. View architectural sketches of the project underneath the photographs.

There are two meeting rooms and seminar facilities on the first floor. The Dewar’s Lane Gallery on the second floor is the only facility of this high standard between Edinburgh and Newcastle, and as such is able to put on exhibitions such as those mounted by the Hayward Gallery in London. It has also held exhibitions showing the significance Berwick has had for notable artists such as Lowry and Turner. There is direct access from the Quay Walls via a footbridge, as well as from the Granary building. The Granary Gallery is run by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust :

The Youth Hostel accommodation, with ensuite facilities, occupies the third and fourth floors. There are also separate facilities for disabled guests. The fifth floor comprises of the Youth Hostel lounge, cooking, and dining facilities.

This project was one of the the largest and most exciting restoration project ever undertaken in Berwick, and had the support of the relevant local authorities and government agencies, as well as of public and amenity organisations locally. Dewar’s Lane Granary is more than just a building – the restoration was unique opportunity to preserve and enhance part of Berwick’s rich heritage while at the same time created a vibrant and sustainable facility that adds life to the town centre. The Preservation Trust invite you to become part of it!


Dewar's Lane sketches

Click on the links / sketches below for a detailed description

Dewar's Lane Awards

The Berwick Preservation Trust have received several awards recognising the renovation of The Dewar’s Lane Granary, including:

The English Heritage Angel Awards 2012
Recognising the time effort and determination of Berwick-upon-Tweed Preservation Trust for the rescue of Dewar's Lane Granary. Shortlisted for the best rescue of a historic industrial building.

RIBA − the Royal Institute of British Architects
Northern Network Award 2011− Client of the Year
Northern Network Award 2011− Silver Award to Bain Swan Architects (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

NCAONB − Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Award for Excellence 2011: Award winner − Building Design

RICS − the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
2012 RICS Awards − North East Renaissance. Highly Commended in category of Regeneration.

Civic Trust Awards
Regional Finalist (North East) 2012

Berwick-upon-Tweed Civic Society Award 2011