mawsonkerr logo
MawsonKerr Homepage Sunbeams
MawsonKerr Homepage External
Mawson Kerr Godwit House Passivhaus
MawMawsonKerr Homepage Shawm
MawsonKerr Homepage Friar House
MawsonKerr Homepage Sunbeams
MawsonKerr Homepage
Sacred Heart MawsonKerr
MawsonKerr Homepage Sunbeams
MawsonKerr Homepage
1 MawsonKerr Vaux Galleys Gill
MawsonKerr CoHousing Upon Tyne

Client: NE1
Location: Bigg Market, Newcastle
Status: Completed
Sectors: Retain

Putting the heart back into the Bigg Market, the clients brief for the regeneration of Newcastle's historic centre - a joint venture by Newcastle City Council and NE1 returning the fortunes of a run down but yet much loved central market square synonymous with all who know Newcastle.

Infamous as part of Newcastle's legendary nightlife, this core of the city had become neglected. Many of the historic building facades needing urgent work ahead of the original detail being lost forever. The key historic centre of Newcastle went under a major facelift as part of a Townscape Heritage Initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with MawsonKerr as lead consultant and architects.

The project has involved 12 of the surrounding buildings on Bigg Market, Cloth Market and Groat Market along with the public realm and iconic Victorian Gentlemen's WC. Over a 5 year period the buildings were individually repaired using historic conservation techniques and involving various crafts people. The project placed conservation as the agent of change to facilitate the regeneration of the Bigg Market Newcastle. The market place itself had a more extensive redesign in collaboration with landscape architects Southern Green. The design created has various plateaus on the sloped market square to allow a cafe culture to thrive and bring a day time offering to compliment the night time one. A unique space at the bottom of the Bigg Market is the former Gentlemen's WC. This space was transformed with new roof, sympathetic to the original, and now a popular cocktail bar - what else would it be...

As part of the £3.2 million budget NE1 are organising various events and workshops to celebrate the enhancement of the area.


Constructing Excellence - National Award for Conservation & Regeneration
Newcastle Lord Mayors Award – Transformational Frontage
RICS North East – Heritage Shortlisted


“The Bigg Market Project is fast becoming an exemplar model of heritage led regeneration and conservation. The success of this project is testament to the collaborative approach taken by the project partners and the unwavering commitment to quality”.

Alex Slack

Client and Head of Special Projects - NE1


“The success of the Bigg Market regeneration is evident for all to see, everything that has been achieved to date reflects the commitment, dedication and professionalism of the team leading the project. Newcastle’s historic heart is critical to the success of the wider city transformation plans and sets the very high bar for us to continue to deliver to”

Tom Warburton

Interim Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council






At completion in 2022, the Bigg Market is a vibrant, inclusive space, celebrated by artists, residents and the business community. It is now a viable space for investment, enjoyment and activity. Newcastle has it's historic heart back and beating louder than ever.  At the time of writing, the additional investment (over and above the project costs) in the area has surpassed £17 million pounds, creating over 350 jobs along the way.

The Public Realm has been redeveloped and has demonstrated it's viability as a flexible public space. The strategy of giving it a new purpose and character while being sympathetic to the heritage is there for all to see. It has hosted Public Events and heralded the return of the much-loved markets, it has further enabled resident businesses outside space to trade and change the image of the Bigg Market from purely evening offering to a European public square.

During the development phase, 15 buildings were identified as at risk and in need of attention, 12 of these have now been restored directly through the project with a further 8 properties in the locale carrying out improvement works. At the time of writing, the additional investment (over and above the project costs) in the area has surpassed £17 million pounds, creating over 350 jobs along the way.

The project has demonstrated a best-in-class approach with it's professional team, drawing on the skills of surveyors, architects, archaeologists, conservationists and other specialists. This has been echoed by the client testimonials received.

The project has been cited as an exemplar in several academic papers and was recently published on the Government's High Street Task Force website HERE.