Tag Archives: Newcastle

Newcastle Cityscapes for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Newcastle upon Tyne - view from Castle Keep roof
Newcastle upon Tyne – view from the Castle Keep roof

View from the roof of Newcastle’s Castle Keep

This was the chosen location for early settlements because of its defensive position high above the River Tyne – the Roman fort at Pons Aelius, an Anglo Saxon settlement and the original Norman motte and bailey castle built by Robert Curthose all occupied this site at different times. The medieval Castle Keep still stands guard on this ancient vantage point today.

I chose this image because I think of this spot as the starting point for the development of the whole of the City of Newcastle. Modern day visitors can climb to the roof of the Castle Keep and look out right across the city, just as medieval knights and soldiers in the English Civil Wars would have done in the past. The views have changed a lot, of course. However nowadays, visitors can enjoy the cityscape and spot local landmarks rather than worrying about the approaching Scottish armies 🙂

Grey Street

Newcastle  upon Tyne - the very elegant Grey Street
Newcastle’s very elegant Grey Street

Nikolaus Pevsner, the eminent 20th century architectural historian, described Newcastle’s Grey Street as “one of the finest streets in England”. Grey Street is named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. That’s the same Earl Grey who gives his name to the famous fragrant tea. However, the Monument to Earl Grey that heads Grey Street recalls something even more important than tea! It celebrates Earl Grey’s Great Reform Act of 1832 that gave Britain’s electoral system a good shake up, gave more men the vote and saw an end to the ‘rotten boroughs’ … well, at least it was a move in the right direction 😉

Newcastle’s 19th century grandeur, that is so beautifully displayed in Grey Street, was significantly influenced by two men whose names are synonymous with the elegant classical architecture that still graces the contemporary city, Richard Grainger and John Dobson. Unsurprisingly, both men have Newcastle streets named after them.

Grainger Street

Newcastle upon Tyne - Grainger Street
Grainger Street, Newcastle, with Grey’s Monument in the middle distance

This photo shows Grainger Street, which also leads up to Grey’s Monument. Richard Grainger was the son of a quayside porter, and set himself up as a builder and developer. With the help of his wife’s wealthy family, he built up a very successful business. In 1831, it was he who created the vision of an elegant and fashionable new street, Grey Street, right in the heart of the city centre. You can read more about Richard Grainger’s vision for Newcastle’s Grey Street on this blog post by Tyne & Wear Museums service.

John Dobson Street

Newcastle upon Tyne - John Dobson Street (Library and Laing Art Gallery)
Newcastle’s Central Library and Laing Art Gallery on John Dobson Street

Here’s a contrast of architecture on John Dobson Street (though neither of these buildings were designed by John Dobson!) – Newcastle’s 21st century Central Library building and the early 20th century Laing Art Gallery, built in the Baroque style. John Dobson was a 19th century Newcastle architect and a contemporary of Richard Grainger. Dobson had trained in London and returned to Newcastle with many fashionable ideas from the capital. Working together, John Dobson and Richard Grainger put their elegant stamp on new developments in Victorian Newcastle.

The Tyne Bridge

Newcastle Tyne Bridge and 3 other bridges over the River Tyne
Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge and 3 more of the bridges over the River Tyne

No trip to Newcastle would be complete without a view of our world-famous Tyne Bridge. To close my entry for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, I have chosen this photo taken looking west along Newcastle’s historic Quayside. You can see four of the seven bridges that span the river within a short distance of each other along the city centre stretch of the River Tyne. Reading from the river surface upwards, we have:

    1. The red and white Swing Bridge (built on the site of the original Roman Pons Aelius),
    2. The blue Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge (this carries the rapid transit system),
    3. The elegant Victorian ironwork of the High Level Bridge (built by William Armstrong)
    4. … and at the top ~ the famous arches and ironwork of the Tyne Bridge, the classic icon of Newcastle for we local people, wherever we are in the world 😀

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Newcastle cityscapes. The links in the text will take you to more information and photos about the people and places mentioned, either in previous blog posts of mine or via other resources I have found.

Do take a look at the cities others have chosen for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge Badge

Medieval doors for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

Doors -  St Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle
St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle
 Castle Keep, Newcastle - external view of original entrance
Castle Keep, Newcastle – external view of original entrance

Sometimes, a door can let you enter the past. As you cross its threshold you can imagine all of the historical figures who have made that same step. The doors I have chosen for the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge belong to two of Newcastle upon Tyne’s medieval buildings. Ever since the 14th century, people have been entering and leaving through these doorways – from medieval kings to modern day visitors.

J Peggy Taylor

St Mary's Heritage Centre, Gateshead

Medieval Churches for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

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.

St Nicholas Cathedral Church, Newcastle upon Tyne
St Nicholas Cathedral Church, Newcastle upon Tyne

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, Northumberland
Hexham Abbey, Northumberland

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.

J Peggy Taylor

City shots for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Observations in Newcastle

a random collection of thoughts whilst looking at my city shots

Roads
A bustling city filled with busy lives
Roads and transport carry us on our way
One-ways systems ease unfettered chaos

Buildings
Shiny new buildings rise, replacing some less-loved
But classic stonework never fades from view
Books and culture nurture hungry minds

People
A woman pulls her suitcase, rushing train-wards
A girl darts across the street while the light is red
People meet for lunch outside the theatre

Transport
Sustainable transport’s on Newcastle’s streets
with cycles in their racks outside the library
and – at least here in town – cleaner, greener buses

Newcastle upon Tyne City Library
City shot #1: old and new architecture side by side
City street scene
City shot #2: dashing across a city street while the traffic lights are red
Quayside bus passing Newcastle's Theatre Royal
City shot #3: green transport to the cultural quarter

Do take a look at the cities and city structures others have chosen for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Urban lines and angles for Cee’s Black and White Challenge

Lines and angles in an urban still life shot
Lines and angles in all directions in this urban still life image

Lines and angles abound in the our built urban environments. The above urban ‘still life’ was captured by my son – he loves to spot quirky geometrics. This shot is packed full of lines and angles – from the intersecting lines of the paving stones and the edging angle of the grass, to the strong parallels of the bench and the deep toned angled shadows.

Lines and angles in perspective in this Newcastle street scene
Lines and angles in perspective in this Newcastle street scene

This is a fairly typical street scene in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre. The street and its lines of perspective lead your eye to Grey’s Monument in the distance. The buildings lining the street incorporate many lines and angles in their designs. The road itself offers its own take on lines, with the painted ‘No Parking’ and bus lane lines. The shadows add their individual angles to the scene.

The Stephenson Works in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Stephenson Works in Newcastle upon Tyne

The Stephenson Works here in South Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, are the preserved part of George and Robert Stephenson’s historic engineering workshops. It was in these Victorian workshops that their famous locomotives, “Locomotion” and “Rocket”, were built. The careful brickwork of the building and the uniform windows with their many small panes create a pattern of lines and angles. The steel chimney provides a focal point as it climbs the wall, developing its own angles as it goes. The fencing, ventilation grating and signage add further lines and angles to the scene.

Angles and lines in this detail of the steel structure of the Tyne Bridge
Angles and lines in this detail of the steel structure of the Tyne Bridge

The iconic arches of the Tyne Bridge span the river, linking Newcastle and Gateshead. This detail shot shows the lower stretch of the arch on Newcastle’s Quayside, as the steel structure dips below the road level. The Tyne Bridge design incorporates many lines and angles.

Do take a look at the lines and angles that others have found for Cee’s Black and White Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor