I see this sign every time I travel through the bus station at Gateshead Interchange. It always makes me smile 🙂
We have many public artworks in our area – in the town centre, along the cycle path by the river, and even in our local woods – but this is the only one that seems to require a sign to discourage any adventurous types from climbing on it!
Historic churches are very much part of the fabric of North East England. To find some fine examples for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week on the theme of Churches or other religious buildings, I’ve taken a look through my photo archives.
My header image above is of St Mary’s, Gateshead. Much of the current building is Victorian but it retains some medieval features. This church is no longer used for worship and is now Gateshead’s Heritage Centre. Not only does this church building enjoy an impressive view of the River Tyne and the city of Newcastle but it also has the award-winning international music venue, Sage Gateshead as its more recent next-door neighbour. You can’t see it on this photo, but to the right hand side of St Mary’s is Gateshead’s Hilton Hotel. It may be keeping good company nowadays, but back in its medieval history, St Mary’s was the scene of the grisly massacre of William Walcher, Bishop of Durham and his entourage. The church and its land was also commandeered by the Scots Covenanters during the Siege of Newcastle in 1644, part of the English Civil Wars.
The lantern spire of the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas is one of Newcastle’s famous landmarks. This medieval church building is mainly 14th and 15th century, so it too has seen its share of the historical conflicts that affected North East England. One story tells that during the 1644 Siege of Newcastle, the mayor, Sir John Marley, held the Scots prisoners in the church, right underneath the lantern spire, to deter the Scots army from aiming their cannons at the church from their position across the River Tyne at St Mary’s, Gateshead.
Hexham Abbey is the oldest of the churches I have chosen for this challenge, with Wilfred’s original church on this site dating back over 1300 years to the 7th century when Hexham was part of the Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. The town of Hexham lies only a few miles from Hadrian’s Wall so it is not surprising that the original church was built mainly from stone salvaged from nearby Roman ruins. The Saxon abbey in turn was ruined by Viking invaders in the year 875 and the church was subsequently replaced by an Augustinian Priory around the end of the 12th century. The current building of Hexham Abbey largely dates from the 12th century priory. Only the crypt beneath the abbey was part of the original Saxon building.
Hexham Abbey’s other remaining relic from the Saxon era is a special stone throne called the Frith Stool. Whenever I think of Hexham Abbey I always recall a moment of acute embarrassment on a family visit to the Abbey some years ago when my then toddler son decided it would be fun to jump up and down on this ancient stone relic! I am glad to say that despite the aged caretaker’s look of absolute horror, the Frith Stool survived that invasion just as it had stood up to the Danes in the 9th century 😉
Please do take a look at the Churches and religious buildings that others have found for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.
With Circles and Curves as this week’s theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, I decided to share some of my images of Tyneside’s famous curved landmarks – from ancient to modern.
This Norman castle keep was built in 1178 on the site of the original wooden ‘New Castle’ built by William the Conqueror’s son, Robert Curthose, in 1080.
Along just a short stretch of the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead there are no less than seven bridges crossing the river! You can see four of them in this picture.
With its curved steel arches, the iconic Tyne Bridge is often used as the symbol of Tyneside. This bridge opened in 1928 and was much needed at the time for the increased road traffic between Newcastle and Gateshead.
The Swing Bridge, can turn 90 degrees on a central pivot to open for larger ships to pass upriver. It was designed by the Victorian engineer and inventor, William Armstrong, to allow ships to reach his engineering works. This bridge is built on the site of the original river crossing point. The Roman bridge, Pons Aelius, was the original starting point of Hadrian’s Wall – Pons Aelius translates as ‘Hadrian’s Bridge’.
Opened in 1849, the High Level Bridge and is another piece of Victorian engineering, designed by the famous railway engineer, Robert Stephenson. This double-decker bridge carries the railway on its upper deck and the road on the lower deck.
The Queen Elizabeth II Tyneside Metro Bridge opened in 1981 and carries the region’s light railway over the River Tyne on its journeys through Gateshead to South Shields and Sunderland.
The award-winning Gateshead Millenium Bridge is the newest bridge across the Tyne. This bridge can be opened by a tilting mechanism to allow river traffic through.
The Sage, Gateshead (as it is known) was designed by Lord Foster. The curved steel and glass structure enhances acoustics for this world class music venue.
… and in case you are wondering, yes, they do clean all of those windows! … by abseiling down the outside!