Newcastle 2016 – Last Day

Friday, August 26th 2016

This is the last day of our short stay in Newcastle but as our train departure time is later in the day, we can continue exploring for a while longer. We checked out of the hotel but have left our bags in their care until we are ready to go to the station.

We didn’t want to go too far away from Newcastle as our train tickets are valid only for one specific train and we daren’t risk not getting back in time.

Tynemouth on the map
Tynemouth on the map
(Click for Google Map)

So we went to Tynemouth, a pleasant seaside town, situated, as its name suggests, at the mouth of the River Tyne. (The name is pronounced as you would expect, so that the first syllable rhymes with ‘shine’.) We did not have long to spend here, as we wanted to return to Newcastle in plenty of time, so we were only able to to gain a quick and superficial impression of the town. That impression was favourable so perhaps we will visit it again when we next come to the region. What follows are pictures of the odd few things or scenes that claimed my attention.

The Parade
The Parade

At first sight, I thought this might be a grand house or other principal building with a gateway leading to a courtyard.

Looking along the Parade
Looking along the Parade

There seems not to be much information about this structure but from what I have found I gather that first there was a street called The Parade; then the Bath Hotel, an 18th-century coaching inn, was built on one side of it; next, in the mid-19th century, the passage was covered over and a facility called the Bath Assembly Rooms was built opposite the hotel; after various changes of hands and purposes, the building came to be occupied by retail outlets, bars and restaurants. The doorway on the right bears the date 1859 and wording which I take to be ‘PATTERSON AND BURSTALL’, though I do not know the significance of those names.

Clock Tower Drinking Fountain
Clock Tower Drinking Fountain

As we made our way to the seaside, we came upon this elaborate Venetian Gothic clock tower and drinking fountain. Made by Oliver and Lamb it was installed in 1861. It was erected neither by the town council nor by public subscription but as a handsome gift by London resident William Scott in gratitude for an improvement in his health which he ascribed to a stay in Tynemouth. It is now a Grade II listed building.

Ruins of Tynemouth Priory and Castle
Ruins of Tynemouth Priory and Castle

We reached the sea at the headland known as Pen Bal Crag or Benebal Crag. Upon it stand the ruins of a priory and castle. The priory was founded at some point in the 7th century, though its exact date and founder are uncertain. During the 9th century, the priory was subjected to raids by the Danes and fortifications were erected to protect it though these proved insufficient and the priory was eventually abandoned. It was re-established by the Normans in 1090 and they also strengthened the castle. The priory was finally dissolved in 1538 by the edict of Henry VIII.

Ruins of Tynemouth Priory and Castle

Three kings were buried here. The first two were Oswin (d. 651), King of Deira, and Osred II (d. 792), King of Northumbria, both of whom met their death by murder, while the third was Malcolm III of Scotland, killed in the Battle of Alnwick in 1093, though his remains were later reburied in Scotland. Oswin (also known as Oswine and Osuine) was later made a saint and became a cult figure as a result of miracles ascribed to him.

Beach at King Edward's Bay
Beach at King Edward’s Bay

I imagine that most visitors to Tynemouth hurry to the beach as we did. The above panorama shows the smaller beach in King Edward’s Bay. There is a much longer beach north along the coast but we did not reach that far in today’s visit. This smaller beach is sheltered between two headlands and seems a very pleasant spot to sit in the sun or bathe in the sea.

Looking towards Tynemouth Longsands
Looking towards Tynemouth Longsands

This is as close as we came to the larger beach which is known as Tynemouth Longsands. At the bottom of the picture on the right is the Outdoor Pool which has been disused and has fallen into disrepair though there are plans afoot to restore and improve it.

The visit had been enjoyable and we might have stayed longer were we not pressed for time but, with our eyes ever on the clock, we returned the Newcastle.

Looking down from the Tyne Bridge
Looking down from the Tyne Bridge

Back in Newcastle, and still having a little time to spare, we went up onto the Tyne Bridge. As previously mentioned (see Newcastle 2016 – Day 1), this huge bridge was opened in 1928 by George V and has been carrying traffic over the River Tyne and part of the city, ever since. It offers spectacular views of the Tyne and the city. In the above view we are looking down at the building occupied in part by our hotel and the surrounding streets.

We had heard the the Millennium Bridge was going to open at about this time and as the Tyne Bridge provides a good viewpoint, we settled down to watch.

The Millenniun Bridge just before opening
The Millenniun Bridge just before opening

This photo shows the bridge just before it opened. If you look carefully you can see two security personnel in hi vis jackets who are making sure the bridge is cleared of pedestrians and cyclists.

Millenniun Bridge opening and closing
Millenniun Bridge opening and closing

During the opening and closing of the bridge I took photos at various stages and have combined 10 of them into the above Gif. You should be able from this to see why it is called the ‘Winking Bridge’.

The Bridge has closed and people are crossing it
The Bridge has closed and people are crossing it

As soon as the bridge has returned to its rest position, the waist-high metal doors at either end are opened and pedestrians and cyclists start crossing again. You will find a time-lapse video of the bridge here but as it was taken from the side, the ‘winking’ effect is not so clear.

A last look from Tyne Bridge
A last look from Tyne Bridge

We took a last look down the river from the Tyne Bridge towards the Millennium Bridge. On the left is the Quayside district of Newcastle and on the right, Gateshead, with the Baltic Flour Mill and the Sage.

Between two famous bridges
Between two famous bridges

Walking now on the Gateshead side of the river, we went a little way upstream where there is another famous bridge. You can see it painted red and white in the above photo.

Bridges are necessary but potentially create a barrier to shipping. The two main ways to avoid this problem are, firstly, to make the bridge so high that any shipping likely to sail on the river can pass underneath or, secondly, to make the bridge capable of moving out of the way to allow ships to pass. The Tyne Bridge is an example of the first and the ingeniously designed Millennium Bridge, an example of the second. Another example of this is the Newcastle Swing Bridge.

On the Swing Bridge
On the Swing Bridge

The Swing Bridge opened in 1876 after it was built to replace an earlier bridge. There are various designs of swing bridge and, for this one of such size and weight, the obvious solution was to pivot it in the centre and rotate the span to open it. That way, the whole thing remains in equilibrium. We were not fortunate enough to see the bridge swing open but this video shows it in action.

Last glimpse of the Tyne Bridge
Last glimpse of the Tyne Bridge

For us, time had run out. We took a last look at the river and the Tyne Bridge from the Swing Bridge and then walked back to the hotel. We reclaimed our bags and dragged them and ourselves up the hill for the last time en route for the railway station. Soon we were being wafted southwards towards London.

Though our stay was short, we had filled the time well and managed to see what we hoped to see. Newcastle still has much more in store for the visitor as we shall no doubt discover when we next return.

Copyright © 2016 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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8 Responses to Newcastle 2016 – Last Day

  1. Blathering says:

    Gone are the days when an improvement in health would lead a wealthy visitor to gift a town with an attractive clock/fountain or other public monument for the whole community to enjoy! Nowadays they’d buy up some land, knock down some older houses, build a big holiday house, and rent it out on Air b’n’b.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Victorian society showed great contrasts: there was crushing poverty balanced by huge wealth made as a result of industrialization. Was it this contrast that inspired the great philanthropists of the era? Perhaps the gap between rich and poor in our own society needs to widen still further before a new generation of philanthropists springs up.

      • Blathering says:

        Well those gaps are widening in wealthy countries like the ones where you and I live, from all reports, but that’s not a good thing. It’s sad, too, that we increasingly rely on crowd-funding and philanthropy to fund necessary services whose funding previously came out of our taxes. On a hopeful note regarding philanthropy, I think there still are some great philanthropists around. These days they are often found supporting the arts, or creating foundations and supporting charitable organisations, rather than having fountains built.

        • SilverTiger says:

          The problem today is that it is not so much the cost of setting up a charitable enterprise but the cost of running it subsequently that makes many of them impossible. For example, philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie helped create the UK’s wonderful set of public libraries but these are now closing as local councils are running short of money and cannot afford to keep them up. A one-time gift of money, no matter how large, is no longer sufficient: a means of long-term funding needs to be found.

          • Blathering says:

            That is true. Foundations and Trusts seem to be the way some philanthropists go – here we have, for example, the Besen Foundation and the Sydney Myer Foundation. Often they will fund a project to help a small charity set up to become “self-sufficient” – which is ironic as it usually means setting up the staffing resources to be able to spend a large part of their time applying for funds annually from multiple funders.

            That is sad, to hear that libraries are closing down because Councils can’t afford to keep them running. I’m glad to see the regional town where I work just built a huge new library, so I hope that they last a bit longer over here! It’s true though, that I know hardly anyone who uses the library except my partner and daughter. (I occasionally do, but have so many unread books at home that it doesn’t seem necessary.)

            • SilverTiger says:

              I spent a few years as a library worker so the matter is close to my heart. All is not doom and gloom: here too, some splendid new modern libraries have been built. The downside is that they have replaced local libraries and people may have to travel further to use them. Since the rich buy books and the poor use libraries, this extra travel may prove a disincentive to some.

              There is no doubt that the role of public libraries has changed and is still changing. This makes it harder to plan for the future. Under-stocking (meaning that it can takes weeks for the library to get the book you want) and under-staffing (meaning fewer staff to help and advise) are having a depressive effect on the libraries that still exist. Even the wonderful flagship new library in Birmingham is having problems.

              • Blathering says:

                The new library near my work is very modern – no librarian at a desk anywhere in sight, though it turns out if you have a question & stand around hopefully, someone turns out to be a staff member and heads to a computer at an island-style bench in the middle of the room. It’s all self-service otherwise, of course, and I can u der stand why because unlike big supermarkets who introduce self-checkout, libraries are not reporting record profits to their shareholders.

                • SilverTiger says:

                  Reductions in staffing reduce the usefulness of libraries but if that saves them from closure, I suppose we have to accept it.

                  Looking back at my time in the library service, it seems like a golden age.

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