Archives for category: Architecture

National Trust area, Gibside Chapel and Pleasure Grounds to give it the full title.  As we live quite close I spend many days wandering the grounds, wondering how I can somehow get to own it… Yes, I do tend to daydream there! Anyway, I’ve always found this gate intriguing.  It sits on a long wall and connect the main drag on to the parking / garden area.


About Alexandra Business Park Alexandra Business Park is Sunderland’s largest commercial site. Located on the banks of the River Wear in Pallion, it comprises more than 600,000ft² of office and industrial accommodation on 96 acres of land.  Now flagged for demolition the site is to be gradually vacated once the leases of the current tenants expire.  Along with the Newcastle Photo Walk group, I had the opportunity to drop along and these are the images from the (wet) day.

Seaton Delaval Hall was built between 1718 and 1728 for Admiral George Delaval. The gardens were designed in 1947 by James Russell and have been enhanced by the late Lady Hastings.

Various images of the grounds and building.

There are some remains of the early 12th century stone chapel of St John the Baptist, the site of Godric of Finchale’s burial, built some time around the end of Godric’s life. Some of the temporary buildings, erected for the first prior and his monks sent to establish the Priory some twenty years after Godric’s death, still exist, the monastic complex was built in the latter half of the 13th century with alterations and additions continuing for the following three hundred years.

There are many excellent examples of heavily decorated capitals on the original arcade columns, tracery in the filled-in nave arches of the church, and on the south wall is a double piscina and two carved seats of the sedilia.

The buildings and immediate grounds are now managed by English Heritage, with the surrounds converted into Finchale Abbey Caravan Park – an award-winning eco village project set up to sustainably manage development in the area.

The site and immediate area is one of significant juxtaposition between traditional and modern. Entry to the site is through an automated barrier. This is still an isolated site, with its dead-end road (the site is blocked to the north by steep hills on the far banks of the Wear) and distance from any current homebuilding projects.

Further reading: 1 2

Couldn’t resist.  It’s taken from a display with the Newcastle City Keep.

The reason for this is simple – it has spent most of its life as a humble parish church, albeit the fourth largest in England, only becoming a cathedral on 25th July 1882, when the spiritual needs of a rapidly growing industrial population made the eventual separation of Newcastle from the ancient diocese of Durham inevitable.

Very soon after the building of a castle by Robert, William the Conqueror’s eldest son, in 1080, the first parish church on the site of St. Nicholas’s was erected.

St. Nicholas

In 1194, we have the first reference to the dedication of the church to St. Nicholas. The first wooden building was rebuilt in stone towards the end of the twelfth century and was twice damaged by fire in the first half of the thirteenth century but repaired and extended in the following years.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, in order to allow more light into the church, the walls were heightened and a clerestory inserted.

Patrons of this improvement work included Nicholas Sabram, three times Member of Parliament, in addition to Roger Thornton who died in 1429, and Robert Rhodes who died 45 years later, two of the greatest benefactors of churches in Newcastle.

By the end of the fifteenth century with the addition of the splendid stone crown and tower, the church was in very much the same form as we know it today.

Becoming a Cathedral

Although an attempt was made in 1553 to create a City of Newcastle incorporating Gateshead and dividing the see of Durham by creating a Bishopric of Newcastle based at St. Nicholas’s, Queen Mary on her accession, reversed the legislation and St. Nicholas church had to wait for 329 years to pass before becoming a Cathedral church.

It was no doubt changes in taste and the express desire of some well-wishers to make this large parish church resemble a cathedral that led to the 1783 proposal to empty the church of most of its furnishings, tombs and monuments.

The visitor will thus find little in the way of tombs and monuments existing before that year.


Following the creation of the new diocese in 1882, the interior, particularly the chancel area, was much altered as befitted its new cathedral status.  The work was supervised by the new cathedral architect, Robert J. Johnson, with skills in wood and stone carving provided by Ralph Hedley, Robert Beall and J.S. Westmacott.  The whole presents a beautifully integrated appearance, displaying superb artistry and craftsmanship.

Also in the 19th century St. Nicholas was filled with colourful stained glass of varying quality, depicting the familiar northern saints, scenes from the life of Christ and the figure and symbols of St. Nicholas himself.

A hall, library, vestry and subsidiary rooms were added on the north-east side of the cathedral in 1926 to the design of architect W.H. Wood and extended in 1984 by R.G. Sims.

Source and further info

Few images from around the keep.  Starting on the outside, the first thing you likely notice before the keep is the Black Gate.

The “Black Gate” was added to Newcastle Castle between 1247 and 1250, forming an additional barbican in front of the earlier north gate of the castle. It consisted of two towers with a passage running between them. On either side of the passage was a vaulted guardroom. There was a drawbridge at the front (facing west) and another at the rear. There was also a portcullis which could be raised and lowered to seal the entrance passage.

The original building would probably have had a flat roof, but in 1618 James I leased the gatehouse to a courtier, Alexander Stephenson. Stephenson substantially altered the gatehouse, rebuilding the upper floors. Stephenson then let the Black Gate out to various tenants, one of whom was a merchant, named Patrick Black. It was he who gave his name to the Black Gate.

Eventually houses were built along both sides of the passageway, and one part of the building became a public house. By the early part of the nineteenth century, the Black Gate had become a slum tenement, housing up to sixty people.

Blackgate was leased to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1880s, which extensively restored it between 1883 and 1885. It was the Society that added the top floor and pitched roof. The Society has held regular meetings there ever since. The drawbridges to the front and rear have been replaced by wooden footbridges.

Source –

As for the Castle Keep itself, I’d have liked to spent more time here and captured more of the interior.  But, this image gives an idea of some of the many passageways within

Arms of the town of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Bishop of Durham.

This pair of stone panels were originally set on the two towers of the medieval Tyne Bridge.  One tower near the centre of the bridge and the other at the south end.  The arms of the town of Newcastle bear the motto “Fortiter Defendit Triumphans 1646” a reference to the civil war siege in 1644.  Arms of the Bishop were placed on the south tower.

The medieval Tyne bridge was destroyed in 1771 but these stones were rescued and built into the garden wall of a house in Pilgrim St.

Today they can be found within the City Keep.

Just outside of the keep lies the High Level Bridge, joining Newcastle and Gateshead.

The bridge was opened by Queen Victoria in 1849, designed by Robert Stephenson.

The High Level Bridge has six river spans of 125 feet (38 m) length, sitting on masonry piers 46 by 16 feet (14 by 4.9 m) in section and up to 131 feet (40 m) height. There are also four land spans on each side, of 36 feet 3 inches. The single carriageway road and pedestrian walkways occupy the lower deck of the spans, 85 feet (26 m) above the high water mark, and the railway the upper deck 112 feet (34 m) above the high water mark. The total weight of the structure is 5,000 tons.

The Bruce Building is part of the campus of Newcastle University on Percy Street, in the Haymarket area.

Between 1896 and 1900 the Bruce Building was built on the site of the Hotspur Hotel, as the new premises of Newcastle Breweries Limited. The building was designed by local architect Joseph Oswald, and a builder’s strike took place during construction, adding to the completion time. The building lends its name from the Percy Street Academy, Newcastle’s first college founded in 1806 by John Bruce, which had previously stood on the site. [9]

It is three storeys high, constructed of red Dumfriesshire sandstone and red bricks from Commondale, North Yorkshire, on a grey granite plinth. It also has a corbelled corner turret with copper fishscale dome. The building’s interior has oak floors, mahogany doors and panelling, a marble staircase, stained glass windows and decorative tiling.

As well as housing offices the Bruce Building and surrounding brewery complex contained a mineral water works, beer-bottling plant and wine and spirit stores in the basement. There was also a stable for 36 horses, a blacksmith’s forge and coopers’ and joiners’ shops. An engine and boiler house supplied the premises. Under the stable yard were cellars which were reached via the brewery’s bonded warehouse on the nearby St Thomas’ Street. [10]

Due to the brewery’s other business of brewing ginger beer, the building was deemed not large enough. Thus a separate building was built across the Haymarket in Prudhoe Place. In 1973 this was part of a pub called the Farmer’s Rest, and this additional building was later demolished in the early 1990s.

In the 1950s the Bruce Building was compulsorily purchased from the brewery for the extension to King’s College, part of the University of Durham, which later became Newcastle University. It has since been used by the university

(source )

First time Ive really tried architecture.  Results were ok but its a scenario when I think you really need good light.  Today, I had bad light.  Big grey horrid cloud light in fact.  But here you go.