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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Mosaic Hunt in Newcastle

Newcastle Upon Tyne is full of beautiful buildings, some features tend to get overlooked, some time in the nineteenth century, there was a fashion for beautiful mosaic doorwells, it’s still possible to see many of these adornments, without actually going into the building itself.

Bruce Building, Percy Street, Newcastle

Bruce Building, Percy Street
Bruce Building, Percy Street

The Bridge Hotel, Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Bridge Hotel
Bridge Hotel


St Nicholas Chambers, Amen Corner, Newcastle

St Nicholas Chambers
St Nicholas Chambers

Northern Goldsmiths, Blackett St

Northern Goldsmiths, Blackett St
Northern Goldsmiths, Blackett St

National Farmers Union

National Farmers Union, Clayton St
National Farmers Union, Clayton St

Newcastle’s Spectacular Door Wells

Sometimes it pays to look at your feet, particularly when you are walking around a city as interesting and diverse as Newcastle. At one time it must have been a mark of status to have an interesting and lavish doorway, these mosaic ‘doorwells’ were almost a nineteenth century logo, the first thing you saw when you came into a building. A sign of wealth and success, today most people ignore them or just don’t notice.

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Newcastle’s Blackfriars Mosaics

Newcastle came to have five friaries within its walls:
1) Blackfriars (Dominican) 1239;
2) Whitefriars (Carmelite) 1262;
3) Austinfriars (Augustinian) 1290 (now the site of the Holy Jesus Hospital);
4) Greyfriars (Franciscans) 1274
5) Trinitarians 1360

Of these Friaries Only the Blackfriars buildings remain in Newcastle

Newcastle’s Blackfriars
Newcastle’s Blackfriars – History of Newcastle in Mosaics, Jesmond

Bridge Hotel

The Bridge Hotel, at the Newcastle end of the High Level Bridge, next to the Castle Keep, has an amazing array of stained glass.   It is worth the price of a cup of coffee just to go inside and look at the windows.  There is an open air beer garden to the rear overlooking the majestic river and bridges.
Location:The Bridge Hotel Castle Square, NE1 1RQ. Some people say it is the best vantage point of the River Tyne to be had any where, all we know is its called ‘The Bridge”


Bridge Hotel Doorwell Mosaic
Bridge Hotel Doorwell Mosaic
Bridge Hotel Doorwell Mosaic
Bridge Hotel Doorwell Mosaic


Dean Street Door-well

As you walk down Dean Street to the Quayside, four doorways still have mosaic floor. These mosaics are visible even when the retail outlets are closed. Marco Polos- 33-37 Dean St, Offices 31 Dean St, , Sounds Alive 27-29 Dean Street..

Collingwood Street Door-well

Collingwood Street stretches from Central Station to St Nicholas Cathedral, it’s a busy street, busy with traffic, rather than pedestrians. Most people see the street from behind the window of a car, from that perspective it’s easy to miss these rather grubby mosaics which adorn some of the door wells on this once grand street.


If you are wondering whether these photos have been touched up a little? They have, also the sun was shining that day. The sun does not shine every day in Newcastle.

A little bit of work and the mosaics could look this good once again, but would anyone notice?


Although Collingwood Street is a great place to find mosaics, there are plenty more in Newcastle, you just need to know where to look

Newcastle’s Keelmen

Newcastle's Keelmen, Jesmond's Subway Mosaics
Newcastle’s Keelmen, Jesmond’s Subway Mosaics

Keelmen operated shallow draughted wooden boats used to transport coal on shallow River Tyne to large Collier ships waiting in deeper water. Keelmen wore a distinctive costume of blue jacket, yellow waistcoat, bell-bottom trousers and blue bonnet. The Keelman’s Hospital, pictured, still standing, was built in 1699.

Scottish Siege of Newcastle

Town Walls – Jesmond Subway Mosaics

The Scots laid siege to the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne from 3 February, when the town was formally asked to surrender, until 19 October, the same year, when the Scots took the city by storm. Tynemouth fell on 27 October 1644 and the Scots were then able to control the Tyneside coal trade for a second time.

Town Wall, Orchard Street
Town Wall, Orchard Street

Stephenson’s Rocket

Stephenson's Rocket - Jesmond's Subway Mosaics
Stephenson’s Rocket – Jesmond’s Subway Mosaics

Is it Stephenson’s Rocket (1829) or ‘Locomotion No1 (1825)? The Rocket now resides at the Science Museum in London, but was built at the Forth Street Works, still standing behind Central Station in Newcastle,, Robert Stephenson’s Rocket marks one of the key advances in rail technology by one of the premier engineers of his age.

A History of Newcastle in Mosaics

There are 14 Mosaic Panels, each depicting a different period in Newcastle’s 900 year history. A sad story really some of the panels are much the worse for wear. These scenes from Newcastle’s 900 year history were commissioned in 1980. Who knows how they found their way to this odd location, a poorly lit Jesmond Subway.

The subway is easy to miss its under the A1058 – Jesmond Road, a 2 minute walk from Jesmond Metro, the panels are even easier to miss. Worth saving.

Jesmond’s Subway Mosaics on YouTube

Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead 1864

53 people were killed and 400-500 injured in this massive fire which started at a worsted manufacture in Gateshead, before spreading to a bond warehousese storing sulphur and nitrate of soda. The explosion when it came, was heard 40 miles away in Alnwick and Hartlepool and left a crater.

Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead - Jesmond's Subway Mosaics
Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead – Jesmond’s Subway Mosaics

Newcastle’s Old Tyne Bridge

The Tyne once had Bridges with houses on them, it wasn’t just Italy, once this was the reality in Newcastle too!

Newcastle’s Old Tyne Bridge - Jesmond's Subway Mosaics
Newcastle’s Old Tyne Bridge – Jesmond’s Subway Mosaics

Viking Raids on Northumbria

On June 8th 793, in an unprecedented attack which astounded the whole of Europe, a raiding party of Vikings from Norway attacked Lindisfarne. Monks fled in fear and many were slaughtered. For seven decades the Vikings would continue raiding the coast of Britain, eventually launching a full scale invasion in 866.

Viking Raids on Northumbria