Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tyne Tunnel

Built in 1951
Built in 1951

Closed in 2013

Another tale of municipal ineptitude?

The Tunnel makes for a superb film location

Described as a unique ceramic experience

It’s true value may be realised in the future, if .. and it’s a big if, the tunnel ever reopens

The Pedestrian Tunnel is even less well known than Newcastle’s Victoria Tunnel.

Pedestrian Tyne Tunnel

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Tyneside Cinema

The Tyneside Cinema is one of Newcastle’s top attractions. The building may look unremarkable from the outside but it has a fascinating interior.

Regular tours of the building take place most weeks, just give the cinema a call and tell them you want to go on one. The cinema has a large number of art deco adornments, features which are often overlooked, even by regular local visitors, the building tour is well worth the time.

Tyneside Cinema

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The Tyneside Cinema
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Ouseburn’s Heritage Panels

Reading heritage panels, is not everyones cup of tea, especially when out for a walk, it interrupts the rhythm of the walk. Sometimes information panels get vandalised, other times they vanish, in which case you may wish you had read them when you had the chance. In the case of the Ouseburn Culvert, one of the more fascinating episodes in Ouseburn’s history, visitors are no longer able to read the heritage panel, first it was vandalised, later it disappeared entirely. However it’s here if you want to read about this fantastic tale of municipal ineptitude.

Most of Ouseburn’s heritage panels are on the east side of the Ouseburn river, just follow the riverside path. Ouseburn has many interesting sights, perhaps more per square metre than perhaps any other part of Newcastle, and that really is saying something. Reading the information panels is one good way to start.

Ouseburn Heritage Panels

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Ouseburn Art

Visitors are reminded they are entering a special area. Specially commissioned waymarkers are positioned at the main gateways to Ouseburn, whether its descending into the valley from the City Stadium Park, or via the burn footpath near the Toffee Factory. This ‘Gateway’ art takes the form of turquoise coloured bottles and monuments.

As well as the ‘gateway’ art there are plenty of murals by the Ouseburn School, now Newcastle Enterprise Centre, these murals are often reflected in the river when the tide is high and the light is right.

Other works of art are easier to miss, Newcastle City Council maintains a list, now out of date, of Art that once formed a walk around the Valley. Some of this Art is long gone or has been replaced, the valley is forever changing. A more up to date and comprehensive list exists on this web site.

More Ouseburn Art


Ouseburn Art

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Newcastle City of Tiles

The so called ‘Blue Carpet’, now barely discernable, outside the Laing Art Gallery, is probably not the best place to start on a review of Newcastle’s finest tiles. A few ‘in tact’ tiles remain, but the bulk are almost completely faded, the ravages of rain and wind rather than footfall, have taken their toll.
A better place to start might be the RVI a few of the ‘Nursery Rhyme” tiles remain accessible at the out patients entrance. For the first young patients on the children’s wards at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in 1906, the 60 brightly coloured nursery rhyme panels adorning the walls must have been a wonderful sight. Depicting a plethora of what were then childhood favourites, Little Bo Peep, Little Red Riding Hood and Old Mother Hubbard, these original artworks by some of the best artists of the day were located above each child’s bed to entertain and amuse the sick youngsters. One hundred  and ten years later, the 55 surviving Royal Doulton ceramic panels which flank the walls of wards 14 and 18 at the RVI are as beautiful as the day they were made.
With each panel standing 4ft 6in high and 2ft wide and made up of 36 individual tiles, the pictures are estimated to be worth at least £40,000 each. Today they comprise the largest collection of Royal Doulton tiles in the world.

1 – Lady Bird Lady Bird Fly Away Home
2 – Tom Tom The Piper’s Son Stole The Pig And Away Did Run
3 – Tom Went Roaring Down The Street
4 – Little Girl Little Girl Where Have You Been
5 – Little Bo-Peep Has Lost Her Sheep
6 – Let Them Alone And They’ll Come Home
7 – Ding Dong Bell, Pussy’s In The Well
8 – Little Betty Blue Lost Her Holiday Shoe
9 – There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe
10 – Little Tommy Tucker Sang For His Supper
11 – Curly Locks Shall Sew A Fine Seam And Feed Upon Strawberries, Sugar And Cream
12 – Higgledy Piggledy, My Black Hen
13 – Little Miss Muffet, She Sat On A Tuffet
14 – Simple Simon Went A-Fishing
15 – Simple Simon Met A Pieman
16 – Hickory Dickory Dock, The Mouse Ran Up The Clock
17 – The Clock Struck One, The Mouse Ran Down
18 – Where Are You Going My Pretty Maid? – I’m Going A Milking Sir She Said
19 – Then I Can’t Marry You My Pretty Maid – Nobody Asked You Sir, She Said
20 – Old Mother Hubbard Went To The Cupboard
21 – Old Mother Goose
22 – The King Was In His Counting House, Counting Out His Money
23 – The Queen Was In The Parlour, Eating Bread And Honey
24 – The Maid Was In The Garden, Hanging Out The Clothes
25 – I Had A Little Husband
26 – Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been
27 – Hush-A-Bye Baby, On The Tree Top
28 – St Swithin’s Day If Thou Dost Rain, For Forty Days It Will Remain
29 – Here We Go Gathering Nuts In May
30 – Little Jack Horner Sat In A Corner
31 – Hush-A-Bye Baby, On The Tree Top (version two)
32 – The Sleeping Beauty In The Enchanted Palace
33 – Little Boy Blue Come Blow On Your Horn
34 – Daffy-Down-Dilly Has Come To Town
35 – Hark Hark, The Dogs Do Bark
36 – Old King Cole Was A Merry Old Soul
37 – Blow Wind, Blow, And Go Mill Go
38 – Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow
39 – I Have Been Up To London To See The Queen
40 – I Saw A Ship A-Sailing
41 – Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any Wool?
42 – Goosey-Goosey Gander, Wither Dost Thou Wander?
43 – Lady Queen Anne She Sits In The Sun
44 – Oh, Who Is So Merry, Hey Ho! As The Light-Hearted Fairy, Hey Ho!
45 – Bless You, Bless You Burny Bee; Say When Will Your Wedding Be?
46 – Cinderella In The Corner
47 – The Fairy Sends Cinderella To The Ball
48 – Cinderella Puts On The Glass Slipper
49 – Lucy Locket Lost Her Pocket, Kitty Fisher Found It
50 – Little Red Riding Hood
51 – The Knave Of Hearts Who Stole The Tarts
52 – My Maid Mary, She Minds The Dairy
53 – And Jill Came Tumbling After
54 – The Queen Of Hearts She Made Some Tarts
55 – The Rose Is Red, The Violet Blue, The Gilly-Flower Sweet And So Are You

Newcastle City Of Tiles

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Tynemouth Metro 10 things you may have missed 

If you haven’t seen Tynemouth Metro at first light, you really should, the lamps play funny tricks with the light, giving the impression of flying saucer shadows on the ground. Market days, normally Saturday and Sunday, are a big event, trying coming early before the traders have set up, see their heavily loaded vehicles queueing up outside and the rows of empty tables awaiting their arrival.

The Metro is home to a number of art works, temporary exhibits which occupy the central part of the bridge, and more permanent exhibits, there is a mosaic on one side of the metro and mural of Palestine on the other. There is also a tiled panel showing the once extensive Great North East Railway network.

On the far side of the bridge as you leave the metro, there are the remanants of an intricate hydraulic system which once operated a lift to hoist passengers luggage in to a storage area on the bridge, not a lot of people notice that. The bridge itself is a beautiful curved marvel as is the restored glass roof.

Tynemouth Metro

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Tynemouth Attractions – Shops

In many ways Tynemouth is the perfect english village with an ancient castle and priory at one end in which three kings of England are buried, at the other, a statue of Queen Victoria whose replica can be found in New Delhi. In between sit 800 metres of shops, cafe’s, restaurants and bars. There is only two big chains represented on Front Street, a Co-op and as ‘Subway’, apart from that all the retail outlets tend to the local and the unique, a bit like Newcastle’s Grainger Market. At night and at weekends the area is transformed by visitors, during weekdays it tends to be quiet. Once a year it hosts the Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Tynemouth Retail Icons

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In recent years a number of beach based cafe’s have opened, adding a touch of glamour to the area, particularly Riley’s Fish Shack, located in the spectacular King Edward’s Bay.

Riley’s Fish Shack

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Leazes Park

Leazes Park is the first public park on Tyneside, officially opened by Alderman Sir John Hammond on 23rd December 1873.

Various designers John Hancock, John Laing and finally John Fulton the Town Surveyor produced designs for a new park, some of which were rejected as being too expensive or extravagant. The final layout centres around the lake which was created on the line of the Lort Burn. The Bandstand and Terrace were added and later the area was surrounded by metal railings.

The grand Jubilee gates were added to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. In 1905, a bust of Alderman Sir Charles Hammond was erected as the centrepiece to the Terrace and the park was complete.

In 1996 the first round of Heritage Lottery Bid proposals were started and on the 19th April 2001 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved the Leazes Park Restoration Project and provided a grant of 3.7 million to restore the park.

The Terrace, Bandstand Area were ornamented in the grand Victorian tradition. The bandstand was built in 1875 by George Smith and Hay of Glasgow. It disappeared in the 1960s but was recreated from historic records as part of the park restoration by Heritage Engineering. The rebuilt bandstand was constructed at ground level to allow access for wheelchair users.

The Terrace is a grand feature ornamented with vases, urns and statues. Visitors could promenade, enjoy the views and listen to music from the bandstands. Laid out in 1879, the terrace was mass produced using concrete which could be moulded into the shapes needed. It was a challenge to match the appearance of the original concrete. Brick rubble, glass, coal and even bones in the concrete were replicated using coloured gravels.

The centre of the terrace was chosen in 1902 as the best location for the bust of Alderman Sir Charles Hamond who supported the campaign for Leazes Park. The bust was recreated in 2004 after being lost in 1992.

Behind the terrace as you leave the Park you will pass through the Jubilee Gates. Constructed in 1879 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Constructed from wrought iron, they fell into disrepair but were completely rebuilt in 2004. The pedestrian gate on the right is an original gate which was saved and refurbished.

Underneath the Park flows the Lort Burn commemorated in this work of art.

Leazes Park

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Grainger Market Shops

So British city centres all look the same? They are dominated by the same chains and brands. This could never be said of Newcastle’s beautiful Grainger Market, the stores and cafes here are as diverse a bunch as anyone could wish. The Grainger Market is home to over 100 small businesses and self-employed independent traders.

Every second Saturday of the month there is an art and craft market in the Grainger Market Arcade offering a range of locally made produce on sale.

On Fridays many people, usually locals go to the weigh house to see how their weight is doing.

More on the Grainger Market

Grainger Market

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Newcastle City of Mosaics

Collingwood Street is a particularly overlooked street when it comes to mosaics, forgotten door wells clearly visible as you walk contain many faded and incomplete mosaics, like some ancient roman archaeological dig. Perhaps the most heavily used and under appreciated mosaics are the glass mosaic floors of the Tyneside Cinema, which were built to last 150 years and still have half of their working life left. Rather surprisingly, the mosaic floor of the Central Arcade (1906), only dates from 1980, it is less easy to ignore and in pristine condition.

The most exciting and surprising mosaics are probably those in the Grade 1 Listed Church of St George, in Jesmond, a five minute walk from West Jesmond Metro. The Shipbuilding magnet, Charles Mitchel, spared no expense in his efforts to turn Jesmond into the Ravenna of the North. The church is normally open to visitors on Saturday morning and is well worth a visit for those that have not yet seen it. Where ever you go in Newcastle, there is bound to be a mosaic of some sort.

Newcastle City Of Mosaics

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Newcastle City of Glass

Newcastle has lots of beautiful glass, some in buildings others as standalone art works by artists such as Cate Watkinson. Some Glass is easy to see, some of it is only visible to those with sharp eyes, who happen to walk along a certain street at a certain time, when the sun is setting. Such as this work which is on Market Street East, high up in an old law building.

Market Street East

Newcastle City Of Glass

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Newcastle’s Amazing Extraordinary Doors

Newcastle’s Doors may not even warrant a second glance, you may think, but these doors reveal a myriad of stories and information about the cities illustrious past. At one time the front door to a building was a like a logo or an advertisment, that gave some indication about what a building was all about. Up until now, Newcastle has made no attempt to capitalise on its doors.

Other cities have been more forthcoming, Dublin for example. It was 1970 around St. Patrick’s Day that a colourful collage of Dublin doors appeared in the window of the Irish Tourism offices on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Perhaps it’s time that Newcastle took a leaf from Dublin’s book and made more of this particular adornment?

Finding the doors is relatively easy as this article and this ‘Storify’ article both show. It’s not just the doors that are interesting, often you need only look to your feet to see some dazzling and not so dazzling mosaic door wells.

Newcastle City Of Doors

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Auf Wiedersehen Pet – Men in High Visibility Jackets

Northumberland Street in Newcastle is always a great place to catch men in high visibility jackets, often to be found outside a Greggs munching on a pie or sandwich. Street photographers have a field day with these reluctant and retiring models

Men In High Visibility Jackets

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