Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 2 - A Walk Through Newcastle on Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Day 2 started in Durham with breakfast at the Victorian Town House B&B with a full English breakfast.  We then met Chris at 9:30 for some great coffee outdoors on a cool (60F/16C) but sunny morning at Esquires Coffee House located at the south end of Framwellgate Bridge.  

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

Pam & Chris enjoying morning great coffee @ Esquire's Cofee House

We decided that the three of us would take the train from Durham to Newcastle to see the city.  Once we arrived, Chris would take us down to the River Tyne along the Quayside area to the Baltic Contemporary Art Museum.  After lunch, he would duck into a cafe to work via his netbook while Pam and I explored Newcastle's well known Grey and Grainger streets.  We would then rendezvous at Newcastle Central Station for the ride home.

So off we walked back across the Framwellgate Bridge on North Road, then up a hill to the Durham Railway Station where we met our 15 to 20 minute train ride to Newcastle.   

CrossCountry Railway's Class 220 Voyager diesel-electric arriving at the Durham Railway Station

We arrived on time (No surprise in England!) at Newcastle Central Station.  The train was comfortable and the ride rather quick at 15 minutes.  An easy rail commute from Durham north east to Newcastle.  The route by car is 19 miles and about 26 minutes.

We then walked downhill from the railway station toward the River Tyne.  Along the way we noticed this statue of George Stephenson by the sculptor John Graham Lough.  Stephenson is credited with designing one of two early miner's safety lamps.  Stephenson's lamp was so popular in North East England,  that the miners there called it "Geordie's Lamp."  "Geordie" is slag for George.  Starting about that time continuing to this day, people who live in North East England are called "Geordies."    

Newcastle upon Tyne is the formal name for Newcastle which is derived from an earlier name "New Castle."  The Romans established a settlement there called "Pons Aelius."  A motte-and-bailey castle was built there in 1080 by Robert II, the Duke of Normandy.  Two prominent portions of that castle remain today: the "Castle Keep" and the "Black Gate."  Both are located in the middle of the city, an easy walk from Central Station.  

Just a shot walk down the hill from the Castle Keep is the River Tyne.  Like Richmond, Virginia, Newcastle lies on a river with several bridges.  Unlike Richmond, Newcastle's bridges are beautifully designed, each with a distinctive architecture.  In the shot below, can you see FIVE bridges?  They are the Tyne Bridge, Swing Bridge, High Level Bridge, Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and the King Edward VII Bridge.

Continuing with our walk, the first bridge we came to was the Tyne Bridge, completed in 1928 and opened by King George V.  Love this classic, twin tower design!

Right behind and under the Tyne Bridge above was the next site that greeted us: the Sage Gateshead, a music, education, performance and conference center.   It is located on the south side of the river in Gateshead.  The venue, opened in 2004, features a 1,700 seat theater, a 450 seat theater and a rehearsal & performance hall.  I loved the reflective glass design and the site overlooking the river with a view of Newcastle.

Without a doubt, Newcastle is a vibrant river city.  Besides the development on both the northern Newcastle and southern Gateshead sides of the river, there is quite a bit of river traffic.  One of the many boats that passed us was the Irene Patricia, a Salmon "coble" - traditional fishing boat of the area.

The "Irene Patricia" 617 salmon "coble" boat

The next, and most eastern bridge is the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.  This pedestrian/cyclist bridge was completed in 2001 to link Quayside development on both sides of the River Tyne.  It is a tilt bridge which means that the arch drops down, lifting up the pedestrian walkway, allowing boat and ship traffic to pass underneath both portions of the bridge.  After the river traffic passes, the arch rises and the pedestrian side drops allowing pedestrian and cycle traffic between the Quays.

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art occupies the former Baltic Flour Mill building on the south side of the river in Gateshead.  It is well worth seeing.  It contains several floors of galleries of contemporary art.  Besides art galleries, the museum offers two restaurants and a gift shop.

Viewing An Exhibit in the Baltic

View of the Newcastle side of the river from the roof of the Baltic

The Author's Baltic Selfy

Right in front of the Baltic lies the Sage Gateshead venue.  In the loading dock area, I found this band of pipers practicing for their performance.

Pipers Practicing @ the Sage Gateshead venue

We crossed the River Tyne over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to the Newcastle.  As we were walking back toward the city center, I found this really cool building.  Wouldn't you love to have an apartment here?  I would!  On the first floor is the Great Coffee house.  On the remaining floors are law offices for the nearby court buildings. I really think tho they would make great apartments!

While we were enjoying some fabulous meat pies and real ale at the Red House, we noticed some commotion outside the pub.  Refugees from one of many "hen parties" were boarding a bus adjacent to the pub.  A lovely scene 8^)

After a great laugh and an enjoyable lunch, we headed back up the hill along Gray Street in an area of Newcastle called "Grainger Town."  We found many great examples of Georgian Architecture including the Theatre Royal.  The theatre was opened in 1837.  The theatre hosts a variety of shows, including ballet, contemporary dance, drama, musicals and opera.

Up Gray Street from the Theatre Royal is "Grey's Monument."  It was built to honor Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey.  He is known as a strong proponent of the Reform Act of 1832.  As Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland from 1830-1834, he abolished slavery in the British Empire.  He is also associated with the popular Earl Grey tea.

Really enjoyed a visit to the Laing Art Gallery on New Bridge St.  Two blocks from Grey Street.    The museum was opened in 1904.  It's relatively small size makes for a quick visit. 

On our way back to Grey Street, we saw the Northern Goldsmiths building.  The golden clock was added in 1932 and is finished in 24ct gold leaf.  It has been a popular rendezvous place since WWII when servicemen met with their sweethearts there.

On Grainger Street, we walked by the Wengers building, once the home of a popular department store by the same name founded in the 1960's.  The store, founded by Sam Wenger and his daughter Hilda Marcus, closed in 1986.  Originally, the building was the home of Newcastle and Gateshead Gas Company.  It was built between 1886 and 1888.  The architect was John Johnstone.  The building was turned into a Yates Pub in 1999. 

At Westgate and Fenkle, the Cross House stands.  It was designed by Cackett and Burns Dick and built in 1911.  A tragic fire on December 23rd, 1919 resulted in the deaths of 11 people. 

Near the Cross House is the Assembly Rooms building was designed by William Newton.  Construction started in 1774 and completed in 1776.  The six large rooms can handle up to 950 people for various events such as weddings, balls, dances and conferences.

We found St. John the Baptist Church on the corner of Grainger Street and Westgate Road.  The first church at this location was built around 1130.  After several additions and upgrades, the church in its current form was completed about 1450.  The design is classical Norman architecture.

Further down Grainger Street as we neared the railroad station, I noticed the sculpture of a man floating horizontally.  When I got home, I discovered that it is one of three views of the same man.  The three sculptures were created by Sean Henry in 2003.

My last photo is of St Nicholas's Cathedral on St. Nicholas Street.  There has been a church at this location since 1091 when the parish church was built there.  This Church of England church was designated a cathedral in 1882 when the Diocese of Newcastle was created from the Diocese of Durham.

You can view the entire set in high resolution by clicking here!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul
    i really enjoyed your photos on flickr and now this photo blog of my home town.
    As you know Newcastle has a very long and colourful history that im amazed that you were able to condense it on your photo blog hope you will return to the north east and continue your exploration of my home town i really look forward to seeing your next photos and blog well done.