Business draws up its plans for own growth

James Hopkinson and Darren Blake (right) plan to transform the historic Porthole pub on North Shields Fish Quay. Picture by Simon Willams/Crest Photography.
James Hopkinson and Darren Blake (right) plan to transform the historic Porthole pub on North Shields Fish Quay. Picture by Simon Willams/Crest Photography.

An historic pub on North Shields Fish Quay is to be given a new lease of life.

Architectural firm Blake Hopkinson Architecture is planning on turning the 117-year-old Porthole into its new commercial headquarters.

The firm, established eight years ago by James Hopkinson and Darren Blake, has sought larger office space following recent growth.

Darren said: “The Fish Quay is steeped in local history and its wonderful character has been an inspiration to our team since day one.

“We were keen to stay in the area but give ourselves more space to grow.

“The Porthole was built in 1897 and is well-known locally, but sadly wasn’t quite drawing in the footfall it once had.

“It made sense to give the Grade II listed building a bright new future with a modern makeover to make the most of its wonderful location.”

“We hope to retain the character of the building and add a slice of contemporary design to the exterior with a two-storey glass extension offering what will be stunning views of the river Tyne from a series of side meeting rooms.

“The interior space will also be renovated to reflect a more open plan, modern office facility with opportunities to incorporate the unique pub setting and original features in the final design.”

James said: “The renovation of the Porthole pub to create bespoke offices for Blake Hopkinson is an interesting scheme from a design and build point of view but represents an even more exciting move forward for the business.

“With room to grow and a permanent office base to showcase the design skills of our practice, we are looking forward to bringing the Porthole pub at 11 New Quay back into commercial use by March 2015.”