Former factory given creative lease of life

It was once where sweets were made, now it will be a £6 million hub for creative industries at the mouth of Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.

Bdaily was given a guided tour of the Toffee Factory, where Maynards produced Toffee from 1906, and later winegums. 

The venture has been lead by development company 1NG, and is being managed by Creative Space Management, who have successfully looked after a series of similar buildings in Leeds and Sheffield.

Toby Hyam, managing director of Creative Space Management, is keen for the Toffee Factory to become part of the creative sector in the North East.

He said: “We want to be a partner in the wider regional picture of creative industries, and that means also working with other buildings, so if a company is not suitable for the Toffee Factory, we will refer them to somewhere else that we think may be more suitable.

The brief Toby was given for the Toffee Factory was to foster a creative environment where businesses could be encouraged to form relationships, as a catalyst for further growth and innovation.

“It’s important that people can knock on each others doors, and it will be our job to foster that kind of interaction,” he continued.

The building’s design features compliment this idea - glass alcoves in the hallways are designed to facilitate quick and easy meetings, and spaces for larger meetings, music and art have also been incorporated.

So far, a third of spaces have been filled, and creative marketing and advertising agency, Hedley McEwan will be one of the first to take up residence upon opening in December. 

Joint founder, Tom Hedley, said: “The Ouseburn is THE place to be in Newcastle if you are a creative business and Toffee Factory provides the ideal office space for such business.

“We loved the idea of working in a regenerated building with so much history behind it that is springing back to life - not only is it high spec but Toffee Factory will have soul!”

Creative digital agency, Multiminded, will be joining them and director Fiona Birkbeck was so taken with the building that she had decided to move in even before her company was trading.

She said: “The Ouseburn is a very creative place to be. I met Nic Schneiders, one of my business partners here.

“In this current economic climate collaboration is more important than ever as it can open doors to new opportunities.”

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