Elephant Tea Rooms

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Elephant Tea Rooms
Elephant Tea Rooms.jpg
The Elephant Tea Rooms
Elephant Tea Rooms is located in Tyne and Wear
Elephant Tea Rooms
Location within Tyne and Wear
General information
Architectural style Hindu Gothic
Address 65–66 Fawcett Street
Town or city Sunderland
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 54°54′27″N 1°22′56″W / 54.907434°N 1.382132°W / 54.907434; -1.382132
Construction started 1873
Completed 1877
Client Ronald Grimshaw
Owner Royal Bank of Scotland
Technical details
Floor count 3
Design and construction
Architect Frank Caws

The Elephant Tea Rooms is a Grade II listed building in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England.[1] The building was constructed from 1872 to 1877 by Henry Hopper to a design by architect Frank Caws for Ronald Grimshaw, a local tea merchant,[2] in a blend of the high Victorian Hindu Gothic and Venetian Gothic styles. This was a selling point, as the exotic style and name advertised the exotic origins of the tea sold there.


The exterior is polychrome and was constructed from brick, terracotta and faience. The ground floor has a full-width tiled fascia continuing along to the neighbouring building; this 20th-century alteration may conceal earlier detail. The arcaded first floor has sash windows with sloping sills in the Gothic faience arcade, clasping rings and crocket capitals to the nookshafts, alternate block jambs, raised pointed arches and roll-moulded dripstring. The ogee window heads have fleur-de-lys finials in front of lozenge-patterned terracotta spandrels. The eaves cornice has a corbelled trefoil frieze.

The attic windows have faience surrounds, similar to the first floor arcade, two trefoil-headed transom lights over mullioned lights, each window is in a high gable with round-headed niches in a banded faience decoration and moulded coping. Between the gables there are bracketed corniced shelves carrying faience elephants under bracketed gables with trefoil bargeboards with a crocket decoration and elaborate finials.

The round oriel corner turret has nookshafts like the other first floor arcades but with arcaded central lights and blind arches, below a band of linked, splayed shafts and large eaves gargoyles. Above are further gablets are at the foot of the banded round turret with bracketed, eaves and a Buddhist-style conical faience roof with a series of ringed ribs. Smaller high cones on patterned drums are behind the crow-stepped gable foot at the end of each front.

The steeply-pitched roof is of slate, has ridges from each gable with terracotta crestings, faeience gable copings and tall, faience coping (behind the elephant gablets) and brick chimneys.

See also[edit]