Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Newcastle upon Tyne ... post 100

Although many of you reading this blog have long past this milestone, in recent weeks it is proving to be a greater achievement for me than first meets the eye. I thought I'd celebrate the occasion by .... staying at home, but more of that later !!
Coming from this area, one would think that my photo library would be large but if you know me by now you will know that I'm never very much at home in my spare time on saturdays.
The best place to start is with some early history and something from the engineering world demonstrating the achievements of the industrial heritage.

The name of the city is taken from the Castle Keep that towers above the River Tyne. The site once hosted a Roman fort centuries earlier that was part of Hadrian's wall, the northern outpost of the Roman Empire for some time. It is interesting to note that the Roman Government deemed the settlement of lesser importance due to it's distance from Rome ... and a contemporary comparison of citizens of South East England, where all eyes look southwards for the sun, think that either Newcastle is still in production and excavation of ships and coal respectively !! A few more consider the cities proximity to Scotland as weight to believing where the heritage lies. The Geordie dialect probably originates from a variety of Scandinavian countries (Angles) and parts of Germany (Saxons) and is generally unintelligible to the afore mentioned people. Maybe I could cheekily suggest that one of the reasons why the Roman Empire collapsed was their inability to deal with the weather and .. the hardy people :-) A contemporary comparison would be found on a friday night in The Bigg market as the youth celebrate the end of the working week probably wearing a lot less than the Roman soldiers did !!

As the centuries passed by a wooden castle was erected by William the conqueror's son to replace the desolate remains of the Roman structure in 1080 AD.

Norman's Door !!

William like his Roman predecessors, was concerned about the threat of attack from the Scots. This in turn was later replaced with a stone castle by Henry II in 1177.

The main room is the castle, which houses an exhibition of different styles of existing architecture of Newcastle down through the ages, was not built with the photographer in mind !! ... and this is the only possible shot available. I did however find an interactive link that can rotate the room to give you a better idea....

The Queen's Chamber

One of the great features of the building is how all the floors are linked together with a complicated  staircase formation down one side of the Castle. During the construction period, a staircase on the opposite side of the building was left unfinished due to an invasion by The King of Scotland. It is not very photogenic but interesting to see nonetheless.

The basement floor on the street level contains a soldiers garrison and an old chapel with ornate Norman arches.

( When I was allowed to visit the city centre as a young teenager with some of my friends, we had great fun on a couple of occasions playing Hide and Seek until the curator discovered that our interest was not historical !! )

Great fun !!

Profile of ancient Newcastle ... Castle Keep and St Nicholas Cathedral, Ghost walks hunting for "The Black Shadow" or ... the house of the grim curator that threw us out many years ago !!

The Black Gate was an entrance to the Castle that was later added in 1250 with Portcullis, drawbridge and the works completing the Motte and Bailey of The Norman Castle, not quite like today's wooden footbridges. The upper floors were rebuilt in the Middle ages giving it ... a more homely feel !!

The name of the gate originated in this period by a merchant trader who was a tenant at the time called Patrick Black. The building then developed and expanded into a small housing estate including a public house and by the late 19th century, the overpopulated dwellings needed extensive restoration to preserve it for future generations.

The modern Scottish Army arrives at ... platform 3... with shopping bags !!
In the mid 19th century, The railway did what many previous Scottish Kings couldn't do and that was to drive right through the Castle grounds splitting the Black Gate from The Keep. The view above taken from the top of The Castle Keep towards Newcastle Central station is the opposite image of the title shot in my biographical post 50 (birth and early journey of a blog). The railway junction was once the largest railway crossing in the world before the car park replaced six platforms and the later re-modelling of the track at the time of electrification (1992).
The above machinery, the class 91 electric locomotive with a potential top speed of 140mph / 225km/h, is my trusty steed for York and Glasgow with occasional trips as blog followers will know to Edinburgh, Peterborough and London.

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This leads me nicely into a half time blog break and an opportunity to thank all you followers and commenters that keep me posting here. In recent summer months it has been increasingly difficult for me to keep up to date with the blog due to countless other reasons. During July, I was rarely at home (don't know how I managed to post), August was meant to be the month to do the garden and cut huge hedges but a few other things emerged in addition to the British August weather !! I started making inroads into the work during September and consequently the publication of this post makes it the longest gap for me on blogger since I signed up. On a side note, I additionally appreciate all your support as I am finding with the Google hits I get, the information has to be verified, accurate and a post cannot be written in one night. To be fair, I try to follow other regular blogs throughout the rest of the week and sometimes feel that with other commitments and a full time erratic shiftwork career that posting and following once a week is occasionally too frequent for me in the format that I do. I think I have admitted defeat on replying in my comments section but I will endeavour to answer any questions in the comments section or by e-mail.
I decided on the blog concept for a number of reasons beginning with a mixture of tourist, photography and walking posts but there is a greater meaning to it that is developing although is often obscured by my long solo trips to Scotland, Wales and The Lake District. One reader came very close to discovering what it was all about with my reply in the comments section and hopefully I have a variety of material from this year to continue with shortly.

Once again, as in post 50 it is my mini award ceremony (blogs 51 - 99) ....

 Wind @ photographis. Adrian @ adriansimages and Judy @ cranberrymorning are the three very different people who provide me with inspiration in numerous ways to continue with this process. Each of them know exactly what it is that I want from them and their blogs ... long may it continue.

Farmchick @ its a small town life, JoLynne Lyon @ mountain lyon and Duta @ places with character all deserve a special mention for the dedication in following my blog. These three seemed unlikely characters for me to follow at first but I have gradually found out over the months that each have interesting things to talk about and portray.

In the travel section traveling hawk (outstanding dedication to blogging and following), Joo @ Urban stories (just joo) (mainly European photography travels that inspire some of my more specialised photographic interests) , Rafael @ Rafael Lam's Travel & Photography World (the image quality is unbelievable), Phivos @ travelling (My personal holiday brochure).

Always enjoyable for a variety of interest, fun, art and photography are rizalenio, Monika @The Bitch is backgeorge the lad and luzias art.

I can't forget a special mention to the one who introduced me to blogger in the first instance, my work colleague and early blog mentor ... primrose patch.

The new arrivals are midwest to midlandscheries place and Ola @ daleka droga. The first two inspire with their photography while the third is the very latest addition to my interest.

I wouldn't want to miss out Sciarada (Anima mundi), Purple Traveller, Brian Walking, Greg (Backpacking), Walkies and Cheesecake, forget me not and Sweet Virginia Breeze. These are accessed by the side bar in addition to any others listed in that column that mean something to me.

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The Swing Bridge stands on the site of the original historic bridge that crossed the River Tyne river back in Roman times that was replaced in the 13th and 18th centuries. The major problem with the previous bridge was the inability of boats to access the upper reaches of the River Tyne's navigable waters during the industrial revolution.

It was in the interest of Lord Armstrong to design a bridge that rotated 90 degrees to allow the passage of large river traffic to a factory that he owned in this stretch of the water. This would allow his products to be shipped downstream and delivered to his customers.

Dwarfed ... by Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge and The Tyne Bridge
At first, these items were specially developed and innovative hydraulic equipment that later turned into naval armoury and eventually warships due to unsettled international problems. Lord Armstrong was an influential businessman of North East England who has left his mark on a number of regional sites such as Bamburgh Castle and Cragside House.

The Engineering genius decided to put his hydraulic technology to good use by creating the bridge in 1873. Although the bridge was originally capable of a 360 degree swing, the historic preserved structure only does a 90 degree turn these days once a week on Sundays at 12 noon coinciding with the River charter boat tours.

This allows the structure to stay in working order. The bridge is only open to the public who pre-book on the heritage open doors weekend (2nd saturday in September) The internal photo was taken with symmetrical image of bridge ...12th september 2009, all other riverside shots ... 23rd July 2011 and Castle Keep / Black Gate ...  10th September 2011.

Enough walking and talking, it's time to go and get a cup of tea from ....... my cafe :-) ....

                                 ........... in the 1835 City Centre Grainger market ......


  1. I do enjoy your blog and I hope you continue! Congrats on your 100th posting. I have to confess that in my small town here in Kentucky we have a young man living here from Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a great addition to our area. I enjoy your photography and love learning the history of your ventures! Blog on!

  2. Jay, congratulations. Thanks for the mention. I'm at a loss to know how I provide what you want. My blogging is a mystery to me most of the time.
    A grand tour of the castle. Superb doorways.
    The Swing bridge is my favourite.
    I'll pop by again later for all the bits I've missed..........as usual there is far too much to take in at one sitting.
    Keep up the good work......it's always a treat and a pleasure.

  3. Thanks a lot for the mention, Jayz. You just don't know how much creativity you sparks in me. You provided the world that I didn't know exist before.

    Congratulations, my friend. You should produce a book for all of your travel stories and photographs. Calling all the big publications in the world.I'll attend your launching. Please don't forget to contact me if that happen soon.

    Wish you more than a hundred entries more, Jayz. All the best. Congratulations again.

  4. Thank you very much for this post, J_on_tour! I learned a lot about your town, as I usual do from your posts. I must confess I have been twice in Newcastle upon Tyne, briefly, so I never had the opportunity to really visit it. I only met some guys in the university and then I made my way, more or less inspired, to the railway station to return to Oxford, were I was baased. So, what you provide here is of great interest for me. I love the first photo!

    I also thank you for mentioning me and my blog. I am glad if I can offer some valuable information or even if I succeed to show the world I traveled, through my lens. Those are personal feelings which I gladly share with others. I wish you many more posts, Jayz!

  5. It's about time we get to see something of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (or have I missed it before?) So is the 1177 castle the 'new' castle? Over here, a house built in the 1800s is considered an 'historic site.' lol I'm really enjoying these great shots of the castle, including that long flight of steps. One little shove could easily dispatch an unwanted guest. One of these days, I'm going to show up at Jayz for a cup of coffee and shortbread. Love those bridges photos!! (Bridges and trains are always my favorite) Congratulations, J, on your 100th well-written, interesting post! and thanks for the mention of my blog. :-)

  6. J, thanks for the shoutout and the fun read, and congratulations on your success. I grew up reading novels set on the Tyne so it's nice to have some pictures to put with the words. I absolutely love that Norman arch.

  7. Congratulations on your 100th post :-)

    Thanks for the extensive information, it makes me realise I should have visited whilst I was up there earlier in the year. In the past I have been to Newcastle many times with work, but didn't get to see the sights.

    Thanks for the mention and link too.

  8. Congratulations on your 100th post,J! I'm looking forward to see another 100:)
    I do enjoy your posts very much and appreciate all your photos from the parts of England I don't know, as well as information provided! Thanks a lot for mentioning my blog - great honor to be put in sch a great company!

  9. Great to see your post 100, congratulations!
    Very interesting castle, seems back to Middle Ages!
    Thanks to give me the travel section award!
    I'm proud to get award from you!

  10. Congratulations for your post number 100.
    We all have learned a lot about your country
    through your wonderful traveling and posting.
    With your words we have heard about so many interesting places.
    Most of the time with a quantum of humor!

    Thank you from my part of mention and link to my blog!
    Hope to see you soon for another 100!!
    Greetings from Greece..

  11. Congratulations on your 100th post! Keep up the good work, as they say. I wish I could write like you and produce pictures of your pictures' quality.

    Your more than positive mention of some of your blog's followers and commenters (me included) is quite moving. Thank you.

  12. It´s always a great pleasure to vistit your blog! I hope you continue your work! Congrats on your 100th posting and thanks for your kind comments. Hugs from Luzia.

  13. I tried to post a coment yesterday, but for some reason it didn't go through. Well congrats on the 100th post. It takes a lot of time and concentration to get to that point. I just reminded myself this morning that it is a good point of reference for oneself as I looked back on my own blog for information and found it helpful! Thanks for the mention and keep up the good work Jay!

  14. Thanks for the nice comments on my posts-I always appreciate them. Blogging does take lots of time, particularly the posts you make. I love all the photos and the accurate info that you present. The USA is such a "new" country compared to Europe, and I am forever amazed and intrigued by the castles that dot the land. It boggles my mind that those structure were erected close to a thousand years ago--wow. Hopefully, your busy schedule will slow down, but it does seem that as one thing "eases" itself out, something else "slides" in to replace it. Have a great week. Mickie :)

  15. Rich text with stunning pictures as always!!!


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