I spotted this church when I was visiting Newcastle. It is not far from St James’ park (home of Newcastle United)
Greek Orthodox services are held here once a month.
This is the oldest church in Newcastle.
The church was built in the 12th century with additions carried out up to 1726. An earlier church dating back to Saxon times is believed to be buried under the present church.
A Victorian stone water font with a 15th century wooden cover sits in the church. The font cover was hidden in a vault in the churchyard in the 1640’s as Scots invaded the church and destroyed the original stone font.
Cannon balls have been found belonging to a cannon that was placed on the tower to fire on invading Scots during the 1644 “siege of Newcastle”.
Bell ringing began at the church in 1726 when a set of heavier bells replaced previous bells. A plaque on the wall records a bell ringing event in 1875.
One of the stained glass windows in the church is a memorial to WAAF, it was unveiled on the 8th May 2005 on the 60th anniversary of VE day.
Grey’s monument is a grade I listed monument dedicated to Charles Grey the 2nd Earl Grey. The column was erected in 1838 and is 130 feet high. It was designed by John and Benjamin Green. The statue of Grey was designed by Edward Hodges Baily who also designed Nelson’s statue in Trafalgar Square.
At the top of the column is a viewing platform reached by a narrow winding staircase.
Charles Grey had an active political career advocating social and religious reform. He was prime minister between 1830 and 1834 during which “The reform act of 1832” was passed.
The reform act of 1832 allowed cities that prospered during the industrial revolution to be represented in the House of Commons.
A painting by Sir George Hayler, showing a session of parliament during the reform act of 1832, stands in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the statue of Cardinal Basil Hume, which stands outside the church, during her Golden Jubilee year in 2002.
Cardinal Basil Hume was the Archbishop of Westminster from 1976-1999. He was a popular leader of the Catholic Church in England. He was born in 1923 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and he was a lifelong supporter of Newcastle United. He was popular with Queen Elizabeth II (head of the Church of England) who awarded him with an “order of merit”.
The church was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, who also designed parts of the Houses of Parliament, and built by George Myers. Due to lack of money the tower and the steeple were added later.
It was opened on the 21st August 1844 with the first priest being William Riddell.
The church was completed in 1844 for the Catholic community of Newcastle. Six years later it was awarded Cathedral status.
In 1850 the church became a Cathedral and was dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption (the Virgin Mary’s body and soul ascending into heaven) in 1860.
The church was bombed during World War II with damage to the stained glass windows. The windows in the south wall were replaced with plain glass.
The roof was restored in the 1980’s and a sealed underground crypt was located. The crypt contained the bodies of Bishop William Riddell, who died in 1847, and Father William Fletcher who died in 1848. They both died of typhus fever, which would probably explain why the crypt was sealed up.
In 2004 a series of new stained glass windows were installed. The first commemorated Private Adam Wakenshaw, who died saving his comrades in battle during 1942. He was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Another stained glass window was dedicated to the “Sisters of Mercy” in 2005. The final two windows were installed in 2006.
Newcastle’s small Chinatown is centred on Stowell Street, home to many Chinese restaurants and a few supermarkets. While small compared to those in other cities it is worth a visit to get a feel for a different aspect to the city, to see the imposing Chinese gate, and of course to eat.
While there have been Chinese inhabitants in Newcastle for decades (it is after all a port city), and Chinese restaurants since the middle of the twentieth century, it was only in the late 1970s that Stowell Street acquired its first Chinese supermarket, swiftly followed by a number of restaurants. And it is relatively recently that the street and the immediate area around it have taken on the by-now expected trappings of a “Chinatown” – signs in Chinese, street lamps designed to look like lanterns, and of course an impressive entrance gate – in this case at the north end of Stowell Street, opposite St James’ Park. This was built in 2004 by craftsmen in Shanghai. It is 11 metres tall and is flanked by two Chinese guardian lions.
Other streets that form part of Chinatown and are worth exploring include Charlotte Square, Low Friar Street and others in the area around and to the south of Blackfriars.
I must admit that I was disappointed with China Town. OK the restaurants are good but this is basically a very nice Chinese arch giving an entrance to a couple of very ordinary streets - amongst the restaurants are traditional English pubs and even a betting shop. A few Chinese people were around but most people on the streets were local English people - unless I am missing something I think all China Town refers to is an area of Chinese restaurants.
A Chinese arch, built in 2004 by Shanghai craftsmen and stands 11m tall on St. Andrews Street, at the northernmost extent of the Chinatown, flanked by two Chinese guardian lions and facing St James' Park football stadium. Chinese new year celebrations are held here in February.
Grey's Monument is a Grade I listed monument to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey built in 1838 in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was erected to acclaim Earl Grey for the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832 and stands at the head of Grey Street. It consists of a statue of Lord Grey standing atop a 130 feet (40 m) high column. The column was designed by local architects John and Benjamin Green, and the statue was created by the sculptor Edward Hodges Baily (creator of Nelson's statue in Trafalgar Square).
Occasionally open to the public. Below the Momument is the Mtero station of the same name - it was an engineering feat to build the Metro below the Monument without damaging its foundations.
Grainger Town is part of the city centre and features some of the finest streets in any English city centre.
This area of classical streets was built bt a builder and developer called Richard Grainger between 1824 and 1841 - the most impressive buildings in the area are Grainger Market, Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Clayton Street and Grainger Street.
These buildings are predominately four storeys, with vertical dormers, domes, turrets and spikes.
Of Grainger Towns 450 buildings, 244 are listed, of which 29 are grade I and 49 are grade II.
Sir John Betjeman is quoted as saying - "As for the curve of Grey Street, I shall never forget seeing it to perfection, traffic-less on a misty Sunday morning. Not even Regent Street, even old Regent Street London, can compare with that descending subtle curve."
Take a journey around the city and enjoy the view from the top of an open top double-decker bus. Take a full tour round or hop off at conveniently located stops at your leisure with your 24 hour ticket. The cost is £8 for adults and £4 for children and buses have a pre-recorded audio track explaining places of interest.
What is now known as Grainger Town is the result of recent efforts to smarten up this part of the city. It encompasses the old Georgian streets built by Richard Grainger in the 1830's and 1840's (such as Grey Street, Grainger Street and Clayton Street), when the city really started to expand from its original Quayside location. Grainger’s work, so typical of the Classical style of his period, is at its best in beautiful Grey Street, but it can be seen throughout this part of the city and gives it a strong sense of coherence. In fact, Richard Grainger was said to “have found Newcastle of bricks and timber and left it in stone”.
But in the 1980s and early 1990s, this once prosperous area of the city was left behind as new centres of retail and commercial activity emerged in other areas – the opening of the Eldon Square shopping centre, the revival of the Quayside area, and so on. Buildings here were left to fall into disrepair, unoccupied as both the working and residential populations fell. The City Council decided that they wanted to reverse the decline and see this part of the city thrive again, so in the late 1990s they established the Grainger Town Project. It was a good time to do this, as the relatively small amount of public funding was more than matched by private investors who saw the opportunity to develop housing and commercial property here.
Today the area has been smartened up, with old buildings cleaned and renovated, new street signs and lighting etc installed, and with a large amount of new building (mainly apartments offering modern city living). A walk around here will reveal historic architecture and new, side by side. There are cafés and bars, some interesting independent shops, and a couple of squares where you can take a break. The area also includes the peaceful old Blackfriars and its surrounding cloister ruins, Chinatown, and a stretch of the old city walls. You could easily spend several hours wandering around!
We must have walked past Bessie Surtees House hundreds of times, but never thought to go in. Indeed, I don’t think either of us had ever realised that you could go in! But staying down on the Quayside on a recent visit we passed it several times, and spotted the notice: “Open Monday-Friday, 10.00 – 16.00. Admission free”. So we went in – and were so pleased we had done so. For a free attraction, there is quite a bit to see here.
The house is most noted for the elopement of its eponymous resident with John Scott, a coal merchant’s son, as the plaque below the window from which she made her escape explains. This happened in 1772, and caused a great scandal within the two families concerned, although the couple married in Scotland and later again in Newcastle. Despite his humble beginnings, and this inauspicious start to his married life with Bessie, John went on to become Lord Eldon (after whom Eldon Square and its adjacent shopping centre were named) and Lord Chancellor of England, so can be said to have done very well for himself. He later wrote about the night of the elopement: "My wife was a perfect heroine, and behaved with a courage that astonished me."
But once inside you discover that there is much more to this house than a window! It is relatively sparsely furnished, and you only get to see a few rooms on the first floor (the upper floors are used as offices by English Heritage, which explains, I think, the free entry). These rooms however display some wonderful features, most notably perhaps the 350 year old fireplace in the largest of them. The carvings on its oak panelling commemorate the 1657 marriage (and this one was legitimate!) of an earlier daughter of the house, Anne Cock, to Thomas Davison, with their initials and the coats of arms of the two families.
The house itself is in part older still – it is actually three houses that have been joined together over the years, and the oldest part dates from the 15th century. The building has had a variety of uses over the years: as a coffee house, druggist, consular offices, maltster (a place where malt was made for brewing) and seamen’s lodgings.
If you like sloping floors with creaking boards, doorways so low you have to duck, and lead paned windows with only a blurry view of the street outside, this is the place for you! I especially enjoyed seeing all the old photos of the house, showing not only how it had changed over the years but also how the entire area around the Quayside had done the same – at one time the haunt of rich merchants, then declining as the city expanded on the hill high above the river, and then in recent years being revived to become the thriving area it now is again.
The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle Upon Tyne (or the Lit & Phil as it is popularly known) is a historical library in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and the largest independent library outside London. The library is still available for both lending (to members) and for free as a reference library.
Founded in 1793 as a "conversation club" by the Reverend William Turner and others – more than fifty years before the London Library – the annual subscription was originally one guinea. The Lit and Phil library contained works in French, Spanish, German and Latin; its contacts were international, and its members debated a wide range of issues, but religion and politics were prohibited.
In February 2011, actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong became President of the Lit & Phil. He launched their funding appeal at a special gala event.
At the start of 2012, membership of the Library reached 2,000, the highest number since 1952.
At the northern end of Newcastle’s main shopping street, Northumberland Street, is the Haymarket. This was once exactly what its name suggests, an agricultural market, and before that a parade ground for volunteer soldiers, but the space is now dominated by the bus station (on the site of the former market) and metro station, recently modernised.
On the pedestrianised area around the latter is the South Africa War Memorial, erected in 1907 to honour those who died in the Boer War. The column is 70 feet (21.5 metres high, and at its top stands a figure of Winged Victory, based on Nike of Samothrace (an ancient Greek sculpture discovered in 1863). This sculpture is often referred to by locals as the "Dirty Angel" as for many years the heavy industry in the area ensured that, like much of the stonework in the city, it was covered in a layer of grime. More recently it and most of the other city buildings have been sandblasted and restored to something approaching their original colour (often a lovely creamy yellow).
Other nearby landmarks include St. Thomas' Church, designed by local architect John Dobson and built in 1839, and the city’s Civic Centre, built in 1960. Look out for the ring of sea-horses encircling the tower of the latter, taken from Newcastle’s coat of arms. My photo shows the War Memorial with St. Thomas' and the Civic Centre beyond.
Across the road (Percy Street) are a number of popular pubs, including our own pre-match favourite, the Crows Nest, and the Hotspur, named for the son of the First Duke of Northumberland (from the Percy family), best known for his part in attempting to overthrow Henry IV in 1403, and for his immortalisation by William Shakespeare.
The Sage is Gateshead's ultra modern, futuristic, purpose built arts, music and conference venue. It's used for a wide variety of purposes from concerts to political rallies so what you'll get will depend on what you are going to. It is a good venue generally though. There are good bars and catering facilities and wonderful views over the Tyne as the building is glass walled and set high up above the river near the famous Tyne bridge and the Gateshead Millenium Bridge.
I ended up living in Newcaslte for 9months and spent most of the time exploring the city and the region nearby.
Heres everything i did with a comment for each, for the city and the region:
-Durham - probably needs its own page but Durahm is an easy trip from Newcastle, just 15min drive or train. Its a beautiful city with its castle and cathedral and small narrow side streets.
-Angel of the north - the famous landmark of the north east - free to just drive up and view. To get good photos and avoid crowd, get there early. For some 'distance' shots, cross the road and take pictures from up on the hill opposite
-Metrocentre-ok so its just a shopping centre but its massive and you can get all you want
-Hexham-lovely old small market town about 20min drive away with some interesting galleries, arty shops, small cafes and sandwich shops. It has a nice church and a great farmers market.
-The Sage, Gateshead - Big concert venue (more for opera type music than live bands) - an iconic landmark of the quayside. just go in for a wander and you can view of the concert halls
-Baltic Art Centre-the Uk's largest after the Tate modern, located on the quayside. Worth going in for the view on the 5th floor. Free entry. The exhibitions change all the time. The cafe at the bottom is always packed. Six restaurant at the top is fantastic for food and views.
-Hadriens wall - about a 30min drive to the best part - at Housesteads - you have to pay for car park but dont have to pay to walk to the wall, but have to pay if you want to see the fort thats there. You can walk along the wall as far as you want but its a good area for the wall being in tact and good for photos. Try coming when theres snow for some good and unusual shots.
-South Shields beach-quite a nice beach, sandy, in south shields
-Whitley bay - nice for a walk along the sea front, nice bay, a typical seaside town
-Tynemouth - huge lovely beach - great for a hot day with big waves and surfers. Beautiful town with good cafes, unusual shops, and an old monestary. Flea market on Sundays.
-Saltwell park, Gateshead-huge park, great for a nice day, with lake and quieter areas to chill out
-Blackfriers monestary-peace and quiet in the city centre, worth a wander around
-Castle keep-remaining castle keep from a century long ago(forgot which) - worth a visit
-Chinatown-full of chinese restaurants and an Asian feel
-Discovery museum - for kids, fun for kids, not adults or maybe more if youre a local
-Beamish museum-near Durham, this recreation of an old 19th century town is great, if a little over priced. Best to go out of season when the price so much cheaper and far less people. Its a great way to get a feel for what Britain used to be like. Excellent stuff
-Greys monument - the focal point of the city centre
-Horse racing at Gosforth - great fun, i went on ladies day, an excellent fun day out
-Berwick upon tweed-1 hour by car up the A1, this historic border market town is nice to wander around
-Carlisle - 45mins away, another old town with some nice old buildings
-Kirkleatham owl centre, near Redcar - fun - lots of different owls and some meerkats!
-Glasgow - is about 2.5 hours car drive away - see Glasgow for more details but its worth a visit
-Edinburgh-2 hours away by car - see Edinburgh page to see what dp to but worth it
-Scottish highlands/Isle of Skye-within 3 hours drive and your at Loch Lomond the start of the highlands - fantastic part of the UK, see separate pages
-Hire a bike-the city now has pay and ride bikes around the city, cheap and fun and fit! ride along the quayside for a traffic free ride
-Keilder forest-about an hours drive up in northumberland - this place is fun - a huge reservoir - with activities like cycling, kayaking, rock climbing or just walking. its 26miles around the track. theres a few pubs/cafes on the way.
-Ceviot hills - in northumberland, nice scenery for walking
-Bamburgh castle - up the coast, beautiful castle on the coast.
-Lake district-does it need any introduction - just an hour to the edge of the national park but longer if you want to get into the heart of it. Endless possibilities here.
-Whitby - about an hour drive - beautiful town on the Yorkshire coast with lovely little unusual shops, good pubs, great fish and chips, captain cook museum, markets.
-Robin hoods bay-just 2miles from Whiby with some great unusual shops, a pub and rugged coastline and spectacular scenery
-Corbridge-lvoely little village/town near Hexham, 20min from the city
-Dog racing at Byker - seems a but rough when you first get in but its a fun night out
-Endevour at Stockton - i went to this place twice and both times despite meant to be during opening hours, it was closed, so was annoyed! its a replica of cooks ship.
-Side photo gallery - on Side near the quayside, this gallery has unusual photos
-Leazes park-nice big park in the city - tennis courts, boating lake, good fun to spend a hot day
-NUFC - go to a game to see the geordies play if you get the chance
-Holy islands - about 45min drive north on the coast, this island is tidal and you can only cross certain times. theres a nice castle there and its a nice place to spend a day
-Seahouses - a seaside resort up the coast - very touristy but nice beach
-Quayside - in the city - lovely part of the city with the bridges, some great bars and cafes - great on a nice day. Sunday market is ok.
-Ouseburn-10min walk along quayside, for some great pubs
-Eldon square shopping-big central shopping centre with all your need
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