At the first week of this semester, we were then had been taken to a walk around Newcastle where our tutors introduced us to some historic buildings and what is urban conservation.
Urban conservation often focuses on conserving the fabric of the past for future generations (Pendlebury et al., 2009).
This picture is taken four decades apart and, apart from the absence of one large multi-storey eyesore, the location remains largely unchanged.
The looming Westgate House office block, in the older image, was an architectural monstrosity built in 1972 and demolished in late 2006-early 2007.
It represented much that was bad about planning and building in Newcastle in the 60s and 70s.
If the unlamented Westgate House is quite probably one of the city’s least ever attractive buildings, St John The Baptist church in the foreground is one of its most quietly historic.
This inscription in St. John’s Church, and a small public fountain in Waterloo Street were for over a hundred years the only public monuments to Richard Grainger. Built in the 13th century, it has stood through the ages and remains an oasis of calm in the heart of the busy Newcastle city centre of 2017.
Changes: Object to Landscape, including Tangible and Intangible attributes; Contain/Convey value to Create value. Protection systems tend to focus on cultural selection criteria ‘special architectural or historic interest’
The south part of Grainger Street was determined by the 15th Century tower of St John’s Church. The south boundary is here Westgate Road, a road that predated Grainger’s plan by many centuries. Grainger Street stretches from the Central Station, south of here, to Grey’s Monument in the north.
Grey Street, Grainger Street, and Blackett Street, come together in what was to be a central circus, but became the site of a magnificent column celebrating Charles Earl Grey of Howick Hall and the passing of the Great Reform Act.
In addition to the Grainger and Dobson architecture in this street, this ornate Gothic and Jacobean edifice is Yates’s Wine lodge. It was designed by John Johnstone in 1886 for the Newcastle Gas Company. One of Johntone’s other existing buildings is Leaze’s Arcade, once a synagogue.
When first built, Grainger Street would have seemed spacious and wide when compared with the narrow oppressive lanes that existed before. However, since the introduction of the motor car the scale of the thoroughfare has changed as the cars and people have to be separated.
The opposite view shows the corner of the County Hotel building, erected in the 1840s following the opening of Dobson’s Central Station in the distance.
On the near right is the imposing Savings Bank building. On its front on Westgate Road the city arms adorn the pediment, the Grainger Street side includes a decoration showing busy bees buzzing around the hive. This icon of thrift and the Victorian work ethic features strongly in the civic architecture of Newcastle.
On the opposite side of Blackett Street is the new Monument Mall, a clever fusion of old styles and new technology. It replaces a rather dull and impractical 1920s office block and a glass plated corner shop cobbled together from lego leftovers in the 1960s. This was once one of the most congested and dangerous traffic junctions in the city. It is now a popular meeting place and arena for performing arts and musicians.
We were also introduced to a few earliest history buildings of Newcastle. There was a history story about Newcastle castle, it is a medieval fortification in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, built on the site of the fortress which gave the City of Newcastle its name. The most prominent remaining structures on the site are the Castle Keep, the castle’s main fortified stone tower, and the Black Gate, its fortified gatehouse.
Use of the site for defensive purposes dates from Roman times, when it housed a fort and settlement called Pons Aelius, guarding a bridge over the River Tyne. In 1080, a wooden motte and bailey style castle was built on the site of the Roman fort, which was the ‘New Castle upon Tyne’. It was built by Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror, having returned south from a campaign against Malcolm III of Scotland. The stone Castle Keep was built between 1172 and 1177 by Henry II on the site of Curthose’s castle. The Black Gate was added between 1247 and 1250 by Henry III.
Through this walking tour gave me a different experience, we known a lot of historic buildings and Newcastle stories from tutor. Also, I have better understanding of how to conservation of buildings and cities.
“Value has always been the reason underlying heritage conservation. It is self-evident that no society makes an effort to conserve what it does not value.” (De la Torre and Mason, 2002)