The Black Gate
The Black Gate has had several lives. Built between 1247 and 1250 during the reign of King Henry III, it first served as the gatehouse of the barbican, a walled, defensive entrance passage for the Castle’s North Gate. The narrowness of the barbican passage and its angle to the rest of the Castle wall restricted attackers and left them exposed to fire from defenders. Since then it has been altered and used as a home and as a tavern. Its name actually derives from Patrick Black, a London merchant who occupied the building in the first half of the 17th century. Little remains of its medieval layout, except the vaulted chambers thought to have been guardrooms. It was saved from demolition in the mid-19th Century by The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, who occupied the building until 2009.
Carliol Square was once the site for Newcastle’s gaol. Designed by John Dobson, who is best known for designing Newcastle’s Central Station, the gaol opened sometime between 1823 and 1827. Dobson based his design almost entirely on Jeremy Bentham’s infamous Panopticon (all-seeing) prison. Dobson’s daughter Margret noted: â€œIt was designed with radiating wings or passages, tending towards a common point, with a circular or elliptical building in the middle for the residence of the keepers, from which they could at all times inspect every part of the prison at a glance.â€ By 1856 it had twice as many prisoners as it was designed for and was eventually demolished by the Home Office in 1925. Telephone House was built in its place in 1932, and today no trace remains of Newcastle Gaol. These days Carliol Square is best known as the location of the World Headquarters night club, as well for a strip club called For Your Eyes Only.
Newcastle Central Station is one of the great monuments of the early Railway Age, and remains an important and busy station, despite the loss of most of its suburban traffic to the Tyne & Wear Metro. The station was designed by the architect John Dobson and built at the joint expense of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway (N&C) and George Hudson’s Newcastle & Darlington Junction and Newcastle & Berwick Railways. Dobson’s trainshed is the first of the great multi-span arched sheds of the nineteenth century. The building was formally opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on 29 August 1850.
Newcastle Civic Centre
The Civic Centre is the main administrative and ceremonial building for Newcastle City Council. It was opened in 1968 by King Olav V of Norway, and was designed by the city architect, George Kenyon. The Civic Centre is one of Newcastle’s few surviving buildings from the 1960’s, an uncommon mixture of the modern and traditional in a decade notorious for its ‘brutalist’ concrete buildings. This addition of traditional design was to ensure that the traditions of the old town hall – a town crier, and barrels of tar lit to announce meetings – were remembered. The artwork and sculptures in and around the Civic Centre are perhaps its most striking element. These include the David Wynne sculptures ‘Swans in Flight’ and ‘River God Tyne’, twelve seahorse’s heads, designed by J.R.M McCheyne, that are mounted on the top of the Civic Centre tower, and murals by Victor Passmore. In 1977 the visiting US President, Jimmy Carter, famously delivered a speech containing the Geordie phrase “Howay the lads!” A stone commemorating the event was placed in the Centre grounds.
The Crown Posada
One of Newcastle’s favourite pubs, the Crown Posada is the second oldest boozer in Toon. The pub is a Grade II listed building with a Victorian exterior, an elaborately panelled entrance, and original stained glass windows. Originally called The Crown, the Spanish word ‘Posada’, meaning inn or resting place, was added in the 19th century when it was owned by a sea captain. Story has it that he had a wife in Spain and kept a mistress in Newcastle who eventually joined him in the pub. Stop in for excellent cask ales, and listen to the Stones, the Beatles or Sinatra played from the pub’s record player from 1941. Find it along The Side, on Newcastle’s fashionable Quayside area.
Dog Leap Stairs
The Dog Leap Stairs lead from the Castle Garth to the Side down a narrow alleyway. The unusual name actually means ‘a narrow slip of ground between houses’. There are a number of historic staircase routes leading from the Quayside into the city centre, each offering wonderful views of the Tyne and the iconic seven bridges crossing the water. According to legend, 18 November 1772 saw John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon and later Lord Chancellor of England, elope with Bessie Surtees on horseback up Dog Leap Stairs. It is said that the Earl used a ladder to take Bessie from her father’s house on the Sandhill, before heading across the border to get married in Scotland. The Dog Leap Stairs are located alongside the Railway Viaduct, and were relocated in the 1890s when the Viaduct was doubled.
Grainger Market is quite the local treasure, known today for its variety of independent stores that offer everything from cakes to vintage couture. Named after Richard Grainger: the builder, developer and entrepreneur who was a key figure in the redevelopment of 19th century Newcastle, the market opened in October 1835 with a celebratory banquet and was to become the largest in Britain with twelve entrances, 243 shops and stalls and two grand ornamental fountains. Unknown to most are the secret tunnels underneath the stalls, thought to have been constructed in the 1930s, most likely to transport coal. The tunnels were put to use in World War II as air raid shelters and the partitions and benches used can still be seen there today. Grainger Market is now a Grade 1 listed Building, and today houses 111 units, employs 800 people and attracts 200,000 shoppers each week.
High Friar Lane
This cut through between Pilgrim Street and Grey Street was once the home to Franciscan Grey Friars who settled here in 1267. By 1580 a grand mansion with gardens and an orchard called the Newe House stood on the site, and in 1647, during the English Civil War, King Charles I was held here for 10 months before his eventual execution. The site is now occupied by the Tyneside Cinema, and High Friar Lane can be found awash with cinemagoers and shoppers escaping for a quiet drink or coffee. Originally conceived as a news theatre by local film entrepreneur, Dixon Scott, the great uncle of the film director Sir Ridley Scott, the cinema opened as ‘Newcastle News Theatre’ on 1st February 1937. Tyneside Cinema has recently refurbished High Friar Lane, adding a canopy of lights, and tables and chairs to provide an alfresco experience.
Grey’s Monument is a Grade 1 listed monument that stands to the North of Grey Street, in heart of Newcastle’s Grainger Town. It was built in 1838 to commemorate Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, and his passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832 which saw the reform of the House of Commons, and, a year later, the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. In July 1941, during World War II, a bolt of lightning knocked off Grey’s head. It was replaced in 1947, based on the preserved fragments of the original. The column was designed by local architects John and Benjamin Green, and the statue was created by the sculptor Edward Hodges Baily who created Nelson’s statue in Trafalgar Square. In additional to his political achievements he is associated with Earl Grey tea, which is named after him. Today the monument is often the focal point for many rallies and protests.
Home to a wide range of different retailers, banks and cafes, Northumberland Street is a major pedestrianized shopping area in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1882 Northumberland Street was described as ‘quiet and unpretentious’. When the Tyne Bridge opened in 1928 it lined up with Pilgrim Street and secured Northumberland Street’s place as Newcastle’s principal commercial street, a role originally intended for Grey Street. Shopping really took off in 1932 when Marks and Spencer and C&A moved in, adding to the already popular presence of Fenwick’s.
On all days of the week you’ll find musicians, street performers, artists and even a lady who brings her owl along for photographs. Running between Haymarket and Monument, Northumberland Street is the city’s vibrant hub.
Once an industrial area with a busy commercial dockside and a regular street market, Newcastle’s Quayside has since been heavily redeveloped to provide an environment for the modern arts, music and culture. It is the home of Live Theatre, the music venue Sage Gateshead, the Baltic Contemporary Art Gallery, and houses many restaurants, bars and night clubs as well as the Newcastle Law Courts. One of the Quayside’s main features is the pedestrian Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which opened in 2001, and tilts to allow ships and boats to pass underneath. Other notable buildings on the Quayside include The Customs House, a Grade II listed building built in 1766, and Bessie Surtees’ house, a Grade I listed building and an impressive example of Jacobean architecture. In 1854 the Quayside was mostly destroyed by the Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead.
The Response War Memorial
The Response depicts soldiers responding to the call-up for the First World War. Two drummer boys lead the procession and further back are scenes of men taking leave of their wives and children who are torn between distress and patriotic fervour. It was sculpted by Sir William Goscombe John and was unveiled in 1923 by HRH Prince of Wales. The memorial was given by Sir George Renwick (local ship-owner and MP) and Lady Renwick to commemorate the raising of B. Coy. 9th Battalion and the 16th, 18th and 19th Service Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers by the Newcastle and Gateshead Chamber of Commerce, August-October 1914. It bares the inscription: Non sibi sed patriae; Not for self but for country.
St. Mary's Heritage Centre
t to Sage Gateshead where it has stood for over 900 years. One of Gateshead’s last remaining links to its medieval past, until 1825 it was the only Anglican Church in Gateshead and was therefore considered as the “mother church” of Gateshead. In 1340, a sealed cell was built beside the church to house an anchoress (a female hermit who would probably have had teaching duties). A school was established here and provided what was probably the only local access to education for Gateshead’s people until 1870 when a new ‘national’ school was built nearby. Famous for providing care for the poor, today the Grade 1 listed Church offers a programme of exhibitions and activities, focussing on local history.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
St Nicholas is the Cathedral for the Church of England Diocese of Newcastle, which stretches from the River Tyne to the River Tweed. Founded in 1091, the Norman Church was destroyed by fire in 1216 and the current building was completed in 1350. Heavily restored in 1777, the building was raised to Cathedral status in 1882. The Cathedral is named after St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and boats, and for hundreds of years it was a main navigation point for ships using the River Tyne. The Church continues to offer daily Christian prayer and worship, and is the seat of the Bishop of Newcastle.
The Swing Bridge
The Swing Bridge is located over the River Tyne and connects Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead. It was built by the River Tyne Commission and was designed to revolve on its axis to allow the largest ships of the time to pass through and travel upriver as part of their plan to improve navigation and expand trade. The bridge was designed and constructed by Sir W.G. Armstrong and Company Limited of Elswick, and opened on 15th June 1876. The hydraulic power still used to move the bridge is today derived from electrically driven pumps. These feed a hydraulic accumulator sunk into a 60ft shaft below the bridge; the water is then released under pressure which runs the machinery to turn the bridge. The Swing Bridge occupies virtually the same site as a bridge built in AD120 by the Roman emperor Hadrian. Today, it has a Grade II listed heritage status.
Haymarket’s ‘Winged Victory’ war memorial was unveiled in 1908 to commemorate the 373 men in Northumbrian regiments who lost their lives during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The bronze figure of Victory was designed by Thomas Eyre Macklin. The 70ft column is built from Cragside Stone that was donated by Lord Armstrong. An estimated 300,000 horses also died in British service.