Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Angel of the North

Today involved an interesting drive east across England to Newcastle upon Tyne.  This isn’t the first Newcastle I’ve visited.  If my memory is accurate my first visit was to the city of Newcastle some 160km north of Sydney Australia in 1989.  I had been selected to attend a course at the Joint Warfare Centre which was located outside the city.  At that time Newcastle Australia had some similarities with Newcastle on Tyne.  There was a large steelworks, coal mining and a major centre for ship building.  Both cities have lost the steel and ship building industries.  Newcastle upon Tyne also lost the coal mining.  Both cities subsequently went into decline for some years.  Newcastle, Australia remains a major coal exporting port and is also a centre for rail rolling stock manufacturing.  I gained the impression that somewhere in its past Newcastle upon Tyne was the centre of a large fishing industry.  In 1989 Newcastle, Australia had a rather grime and dirty appearance, however today it’s a more attractive and thriving location.  The same can be said for Newcastle upon Tyne.
The gps took me directly to the statue of the Angel of the North.  The statue was completed in 1998 and is 20 metres high with a wingspan of 54 metres
It is constructed of steel and as you can see in the above photos it has been ‘ribbed’ to provide structural strength.  The rust on the surface give it a dark red appearance.  A human sized copy of the statue was made and in 2009 donated to the National Gallery of Australia.
I was amused to read the local’s have named the statue “The Gateshead Flash”.  Gateshead being the suburb where it is sited.
It was a rather cold wet and blustery morning on the exposed hillside so I didn’t stay long before heading into the city making my way to the riverfront where I found an open market.
It was this building, along with the large bollards and rings, that led me to the conclusion the city must have been the base for a fishing industry.
It’s the former fish market.  I couldn’t help it notice that on top was a statue of Poseidon with two fisherwomen and their baskets.
Another similarity with Australia is the steel arch road bridge over the river.  However this one is much smaller.
The Tyne Bridge
Further upstream is a low swing bridge, a rail bridge and a second road bridge.
One of the market vendors had an interesting stall.  It appeared to be a former London style taxi cab.  The back had been modified to make a hot sausage and kebab stall where the owner stands in what would have been the rear seat.
A lady in an old caravan offered to tell me my past….. or future.  And could assist with any problems.  My only problems are financial and she wanted to compound them. Smile
I wanted to see the Gateshead Millennium Bridge which was erected across the river in 2000 as a single structure using the largest floating crane in the world.  It has a span of 126 metres and can be tilted 40° by six big hydraulic rams creating an air draft of 25 metres.  The bridge carries pedestrians and cyclists.
On the far bank is the former Baltic Flour Mill
The mill was formerly owned by Hovis and was designed in 1930.  Construction was completed in 1950 and the mill operated until it’s closure in 1982.  The mill was renovated and reopened in 2002 as the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.


Mike Todd said...

If you wish to escape with all your body parts intact, then you had better not describe Gateshead as a suburb (of Newcastle)

Tom and Jan said...

Oops... I'd forgotten how small England is and crossing a river might just lead to another town. My apologies to all my readers from Gateshead.