Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Newcastle - Tynemouth and North Shields

Tynemouth is a fabulous place on a sunny day. It has a lovely High Street and a magnificent castle / priory ruin, and the power of the North Sea. The gateway is the recently restored Tynemouth station, now part of the Metro system but originally built in 1882 for the North Eastern Railway.

At the sea end of the High Street, actually called Front Street, is this clock tower.

As it was a hot afternoon it was time to call in for some refreshments, and I can thoroughly recommend the pint of Directors served in the Cumberland Arms on Front Street. I could have stayed in there all afternoon, but the clocks beckoned.

So onwards around the corner from the Cumberland Arms to the Priory Primary School on Percy Park Road.

This next building can be spotted in the distance from Tynemouth Metro station. At first I assumed that it was some form of industrial building (in my experience buildings of this size and shape with such a large clock tend to be).But it actually turns out to be a block of flats - perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised given the giant clock on the top of the block of flats covered in Newcastle - City Centre (East).

These are Knott Memorial Flats on Tynemouth Road, completed in 1938 and supposedly one of the first residential buildings in Britain to be constructed the air raid shelters. The architect team included Charles Holden, he of numerous London Underground stations, 55 Broadway and the Senate House at University College London. The building is named after James Knott who was a local shipping magnate, and his name lives on in various buildings and the Sir James Knott Trust (see www.knott-trust.co.uk).

The clock is huge, with a diameter of 12ft 6 in.

A better indication of the size of the flats is given by the picture below taken from South Shields on the opposite bank of the Tyne.

Nearly opposite are the Master Mariners Homes of 1837.

The plaque give the key facts about the building:

Just to prove that public clocks can pop up anywhere, this one is on a side street (Grey Street) pawn brokers / jewellers.  We are now into North Shields

And this is Christ Church, at the junction of Preston Road with Albion Road.

The clock faces are generally of a simple blue and gold design....

...except for this one:

Shopping centres, lovely, lovely shopping centres. This one is called the Beacon, and has this clock rather oddly placed on a wall by one of its side entrances.

The shopping centre shows how easy it is to miss clocks that would normally stare you in the face. I walked out of the entrance below, totally oblivious to the clock tower above by head. It was not until I started to retrace my steps that I saw this otherwise totally unmissable example. The moral of clock hunting is always look behind you.

Next up is the somewhat worryingly named Priory Medical Group Yellow Fever Centre at the junction of Albion Road and Sidney Street.

I doubt it is yellow fever, but certainly something has got to this clock as it is not currently working. a sick clock on a health centre may not be a good sign!

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