Sat. 12th Aug., 2000

Neptune looks across the Tyne from the top of the old Fish Market, erected in 1880. Also note the larger than usual sea-horses supporting the city arms above the door.

This building has been unused for over a decade, but it now rejoins the commercial activity of the area, this time as a high class ale house for the booze sodden partygoers that make the nightly pilgrimage to this centre of revelry.

The upper storey of this building used to house the Town Court, and the Mayor's Chamber. It is decorated with heraldic devices and scenes from Newcastle's history, topped by a hammer beam roof.

This is one of the oldest timber framed 16th century building still in regular use in the city. Now the Cooperage public house, it is a rabbit warren of small rooms and narrow steep wooden stairs. Note the stone steps to the right of this building. Called Long Stairs, they lead to the top of the hill at Queens Lane beside the castle keep

This building has been variously a merchant's dwelling, a mayoral residence, a warehouse, and of course a barrel factory (cooperage).

The lower photo, taken in 1880, shows that not much changes except for a lick of paint.

The Cooperage stands at the eastern end of The Close, extending from here to Forth Banks. This street used to run between high warehouses, and was so called because of the narrowness of its access. Even today, motor traffic travelling from right to left has to negotiate a blind narrow corner at this point.

This is Sandhill, running from the junction of Side and Quayside at this roundabout and the High Level Bridge, site of the Cooperage. It is named from a pile of sand that accumulated where the Lort Burn flowed into the Tyne.

The 19th century nickname for the High Level Bridge, completed in 1848, was "lang legs", and this view shows the reason why.

The nearest of the seven buildings in Sandhill, on the extreme right in red brick, is The Red House. It has been restored following a fire that destroyed many old beams, but the cellar bar features an ornate fireplace lined with over a hundred Dutch tiles depicting Chinese designs that are over 300yrs old.

The plaque on the wall of the half timbered sixth building in Sandhill, tells all.

Bessie was the daughter of a Merchant Banker, who thought that her boyfriend, John Scott, son of a coal merchant and educated at the Royal Grammar School and Oxford was not from the right background and forbade Bessie from seeing him. As we can see, she defied her father and went off with her love.

How times have changed, nothing like this could ever happen today, could it?

High above Bessie Surtees' house is the old town wall. Here is the gate at Castle Stairs. The Moot Hall is just above and to the right here, and just on the other side of the gate is a well, still capable of giving water.

Far below, opposite Bessie Surtees' house is the Guildhall. This was built in 1629, and has been much altered since. The Town Court was built by Robert Trollope in 1655, the front was redesigned by William Newton in 1796, and the gracious curving eastern end was the idea of John Dobson in 1823. It was the seat of local government until 1858

This view is from the adjacent Swing Bridge, the site of the original river crossing.

The steep hill from the present city centre follows the ancient track of Side, note there is no "the" in front of the name. It is so called because it runs to the side of the castle.

The head of Side is that rail viaduct and the corner of Milburn House erected in 1905. This is the site of Admiral Collingwood's birthplace (26th Sept., 1748). The ancient road carried straight on through that brick built Milburn House to Amen Corner, at the edge of the Cathedral grounds.

The modern road swings right into Dean Street leading to the  foot of Grey Street.

A little further east, beyond the looming Tyne Bridge is King Street. This runs at a right angle to Quayside, and ends in the steps leading to All Saints Church.

This is now the location of fine restaurants, offices and a newly built housing development for the very rich.

This area was originally warehouses and shipping offices.

Next to the Custom House. Built in 1766, it replaced an earlier Customs shed at the site of the Tyne Bridge support. It was improved and repaired in 1833 by Sydney Smirke.

This area was the victim of a catastrophic fire in 1854. Before that time there were many small alleys leading up from Quayside. These were called Chares, from the Saxon word "cerre" meaning narrow place or turning in a lane. Previous chares were "Blue Anchor Chare"," Dark Chare", and "Peppercorn Chare".

The car park in the foreground is the site of a regular Sunday market. The road is closed on these occasions.

The view of the river at this point is dominated by the preparation poles for a hideous "winking eye" footbridge to be built here. This will effectively cut off the navigation of the river at this point. No more tall ships, no more visiting vessels tying up at those chunky bollards. The person or persons responsible for this planning fiasco should be clapped in irons and thrown in the castle dungeon. The Rank Hovis flour warehouse on the right is being converted into a space for art. Now that does sound good to me, but that bridge is a hideous mistake. I hope that the problems with the Millennium Bridge in London may make the Gateshead town Council think again.

This is the view along Quayside from its eastern end and the junction with Milk Market. The new Law Courts, started in 1988 and completed in 1993 are on the right. That cylindrical cornered building is at the junction with Broad Chare, and despite its looks, dates from 1992. In the distance the Tyne Bridge is wrapped in scaffolding and nylon sheets in preparation for repainting. The low swing bridge with its central pier and point of rotation is situated between the Tyne Bridge and the High Level.

Here is Broad Chare as it is today, home to solicitors and Barristers, and their special twee pubs. Trinity House, home to the Guild of Master Mariners since 1492 is here also, and the grassy area at the far end is Pandon Bank. This was the site of the original shipbuilding on the Tyne during the 13th century. The name derives from the now covered over Pandon Burn. Pandon was a name given by the Romans after "Pandana", a gate to ancient Rome. Indeed a gate in the town wall did exist here.

Below is Broad Chare in 1895. Chadburn's Telegraph office has its rafters gaping to the sky during demolition. At the time this building was only 40 years old, having been built just after that disastrous fire.

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