The Shades Hotel, Church Street


The Shades HotelA pub for many generations

The Shades Hotel, known locally as ‘Shades’ has featured in the social life of many generations in the Town. Whether as the Shades Hotel or Shades Party Palace, it has had an interesting history that nearly always invites comments from people.

It was previously one of the most distinguished public houses in town, renovated at great expense in 1899 by a townsman Watson Cameron of Camerons Brewery. It is Grade II listed because of its heritage and unique features (see history of Shades below). The pub closed in the 2000s and it gradually fell in to a critical state of repair. In 2017, the Council bought it to save it from disintegrating further but now a new future is needed for the building to prevent it from being lost completely.


Future Plans

The Shades Hotel has a new chance of life as Camerons Brewery is joining forces with the Council to set in place plans to return it to a public house with a microbrewery and facilities so people can learn about brewing and training can be provided for Camerons own staff. With a new life planned and a committed tenant to support the project, our next step is to find the funding to repair the building so Camerons can move in.


A Brief History of Shades

The Shades Hotel is a landmark building in Hartlepool. The public house first began life as two shops, one of which was a Wine Merchant shop (see picture 1). But in 1898 Watson Cameron, recently the new Chairman of Camerons Brewery following the death of his esteemed brother and townsman Colonel John William Cameron, decided to turn it into the smartest and most fashionable pub in the Town. An ambitious and well-travelled man, Cameron chose designs for the Shades Hotel that was cutting edge (and very expensive). The faience front to the building is the best surviving part of this original design (see picture 2). Made out of ceramic tiling and decorated with figures depicting Bacchus, the Greek god of wine and handmaidens carry jugs of wine it is a very beautiful example of faience. The quality of the Shades Hotel matched the grandeur of the Athenaeum building opposite, demonstrating the importance of Church Street and making a fitting entrance to Lynn Street; the much remembered shopping street for Hartlepool.

We can still see evidence of the quality of The Shades Hotel building on the outside of the building (although in a bad state of repair) but we can’t be sure what the inside looked like. We do have reports in newspapers that the interiors were sold off after Camerons sold to an outfit in Boston, USA.


The Shades Hotel

Shades in the early days with Lynn Street in the background

The Shades Hotel

Shades in the 50s or 60s before Lynn Street was demolished

The Shades Hotel

1981 - The Shades Hotel in use again after the 1970s closure

The Shades Hotel

Possibly late 80's

The Shades Hotel

1994 - after the pub was redeveloped in the late 80's with a new extension and beer garden built on the back

The Shades Hotel 2017

2017, Shades when the Council decided to buy it in the hopes of rescuing it.