One of our occasional urban walks.
With a programme theme of Local Heroes, a saunter around the centre of Newcastle offered us the chance to explore the historical figures that loom large in the list of Newcastle inhabitants.
We started out at Grey’s Monument, the towering 40m column crowned by a handsome statue of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey. It bears an uncanny resemblance to Nelson’s Column in London and was created by the same sculptor, Edward Hodges Bailey. Grey was a local landowner and politician famous for assisting in the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832.
We headed off south, down the slope of Grey Street, a very handsome street in the middle of what is known as Grainger Town. Richard Grainger was a developer who cleared and replaced 36 hectares of crumbling, rambling buildings with his vision of classical architecture in the 18th century.
We turned right into Mosley Street, the first in the world to be lit by electric street lights in 1879, and headed up to cathedral square to take in a fine statue of Queen Victoria. Ducking behind the cathedral itself into a narrow cobbled street, we came upon a small bust in a wall niche to commemorate the site of where Thomas Bewick’s workshop once stood.
Heading past the remains of the Castle at Black Gate, we crossed the Tyne via the High Level Bridge; designed by Robert Stephenson and built by local engineers, the Hawks family. After a restorative break in the Arch16 café, we returned across the bridge and descended one of the many stairways down to the quayside.
After a leisurely stroll amongst the market stalls we headed back up the steep streets towards the railway station and the handsome statue of George Stephenson the railway pioneer. From there it was a short stroll to another statue, that of Joseph Cowen, a radical liberalist politician of the 1870s.
We sneaked inside the remains of the city walls and ended our walk by exploring the monastic heritage of Blackfriars restaurant.
4 ½ miles