THE conversion of an historic former school where North-East naval hero Admiral Lord Collingwood learnt his sailing skills into offices is almost complete.
The 260-year-old grade 2* listed building, known as the Schoolhouse, sits  next to the Live Theatre and Broad Chare gastropub on Newcastle's Quayside. The buildings are known as Trinity House, with some of the structures dating back over 1,000 years.
Admiral Collingwood, who fired the first shot at The Battle of Trafalgar and took over command of the British fleet after the death of Admiral Lord  Nelson, was a pupil in the Schoolhouse shortly after it opened. Another past pupil was renowned Tyneside civil rights campaigner Thomas Spence.
The Schoolhouse had recently been used as storage space by the Live Theatre before being been converted by Sunderland-based Brims Construction.
Jim Beirne, chief executive at Live Theatre, said: “This is a significant piece of North East history which had been neglected for a number of years.
“Our intention was to breathe new life into the building and the sensitive restoration work undertaken by Brims Construction has achieved just that.
“We have created contemporary offices in an historic setting which would are ideal for businesses in the digital and creative sectors.”
Financial support for the redevelopment was forthcoming from European Regional Development Funds 2007-2013 and Arts Council England.
The £350,000 redevelopment saw the building converted into five offices across three floors, which are available to rent.
The work carried out by Brims included stripping out the building, strengthening the floor and then embarking on a new fit out, resulting in a sensitive upgrade to the highest conservation standards.
Richard Wood, director of Brims Construction, said: “The schoolhouse is a relatively unknown building in Newcastle, but has a very rich and important heritage for the North-East.
“We managed to overcome a number of structural issues with the use of the most up to date techniques.
“In doing so we managed to preserve the important period features and details and maintain the heritage of this unique building.”

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