12 March 2010

South Marine Park, South Shields

Click on pics for larger versions.

Just a quick one this week, South Shields' South Marine Park (I had planned a couple of the North Marine Park too but trees now block the views).

The Marine Parks date back to 1886 when they were landscaped from the so-called 'ballast hills'; ships on their way to the Tyne to collect coal would be unbalanced if they journeyed with empty holds so they carried ballast in the form of rocks and earth which was dumped on the sea front.

Head gardener John Peebles' meticulous journals were used to restore the parks to their original condition when £5 million from the Lottery Heritage Fund and South Tyneside Council was awarded in 2007, visibly with a new bandstand, the original had been removed even by the time of the second postcard.

2010 photos © Chris Perriman

2 March 2010

Tyne Bridge under construction - 1927-1928 & 2010

From the High Level Bridge and Newcastle Quayside. Click on pics for larger versions.

The Tyne Bridge is probably Newcastle's most recognisable landmark. Opened by King George V and Queen Mary on October 10th 1928 it is widely supposed to be the precursor to the Sydney Harbour Bridge which opened in 1932.  Although both were built by Dorman Long and Co. of Middlesbrough, Sydney's bridge had already been under construction for over two years by the time work started in Newcastle, and both were in fact based on New York's Hell Gate Bridge which opened in 1916.

2010 photos © Chris Perriman

12 February 2010

Newcastle Cathedral and Town Hall/No.1 Cathedral Square


From St Nicholas Street. Click on pics for larger versions.

Newcastle Cathedral, or to give it its full title The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas Newcastle upon Tyne, was built in 1359 with the Gothic lantern spire added eighty nine years later. A church has stood on the site since 1091, the original burning down in 1216. There is little information available on The Town Hall opposite which is a shame as its a spectacular building I'd like to know more about, the first time I'd heard of it was seeing these postcards. Needless to say the side fronting the square has been replaced with the present building, No.1 Cathedral Square, but the Town Hall occupied the entire block between Cloth Market and Groat Market, with a grand entrance on Bigg Market topped with the dome visible in the sepia picture.

Both of the postcards seem to be from the early 20th century, the view of the cathedral possibly earlier, I haven't got exact dates as the site I found them on doesn't have too much information.

Everything in the environs of the cathedral seems to have changed except St. Nicholas' Chambers, the brick building to the right of the cathedral, but that has lost its conical roof above Amen Corner.

Cathedral postcard published by WB & Co Glasgow
2010 photos © Chris Perriman

7 February 2010

Sandhill 1966 & 2010

At the Newcastle end of the Swing Bridge, taken from the High Level Bridge. Click on pics for larger versions.

All of the old sailors pubs and suppliers on the quayside are now bars and nightclubs, as is the building top right of the picture with the copper dome, now the Akenside Traders on Side. The dome, bright and shiny in 1966, is tarnished now but the building itself has been cleaned.

Bessie Surtees' House (the old black and white building to the right), the Moot Hall (top left corner) and the Church of St Willibrord with All Saints (top right corner) are unchanged, as are the three tower blocks on the horizon; Lort House, Pandon Court and King Charles Tower were built between 1961 and 1966 so would have been brand new when the first picture was taken.
The new building in front of the church is part of All Saints Business Centre which now surrounds it, the three office buildings being named Aidan House, Bede House and Cuthbert House after the three great north-eastern saints.

The large tower block, familiar to anyone crossing the tyne bridge into Newcastle, is Cale Cross. It had a major renovation in 2002 when it received the distinctive green paneling it has now. It takes its name from the market cross which stood at the junction of Queen Street and Akenside Hill, now under the Tyne Bridge.

2010 photo © Chris Perriman