Welcome to the centre of
Newcastle - the tour begins right inside Newcastle's Central Station, at the
bottom left of the map. You can either roam around the map or read the
illustrated tour details below. On the map, anywhere the cursor becomes a hand,
just click and you will see a photograph of the site - try it out on the
station! Use your browser's back button to return to the map and explore more of
the city's ceramic sites and sights.
Read more about tiles in
Here are some details about
the sites shown on the map:
||The first class refreshment room of the Central
Station, Neville Street,
was created by North Eastern Railway architect William Bell around 1892.
It has been disused since the 1970s but renovation began in 1999. It is
decorated almost from floor to ceiling with faience from Burmantofts of
Leeds; the main colours are browns, yellows and greens, with columns of
circular and square cross section near either end of the room. The view
shows its west end, beyond the point where the semi-circular ceramic bar
(now removed) was sited.
||Head east along Neville Street and then
Collingwood Street, cutting through the cathedral precinct to emerge on Dean
Street beside Milburn House. This huge office
block - then the largest in Europe - was built in 1902-5 on a sloping
corner site by Oliver, Leeson and Wood. The ground floor public areas and
many other stairs and corridors are tiled in Art Nouveau style throughout,
with colours mainly green and yellow. The tiles are an early example of
the work of H. & R. Johnson, who restored their own tiles in 1990-1,
not without some difficulties arising from variations in the size and
colour of the originals!
Continuing uphill to the corner of Dean Street and Mosley
Street, on the south-east corner is the former Prudential
Assurance Building, now a café. It was built in 1891 by Alfred
Waterhouse and - like many of his insurance company offices - the ground
floor interior has a sparkling Burmantofts tile scheme including arches,
with colours mainly pale green and yellow.
Turn left along Mosley Street then right into Cloth
Market, where the Bee Hive Pub appears at the
junction with High Bridge. It was rebuilt by local architects Joseph
Oswald & Son in 1902 for the Newcastle Breweries. Its ground floor
facade is decorated with green and yellow faience in a floral pattern with
bees and beehives hidden in the leaves - definitely a design created
especially for this particular pub. The manufacturer is likely to be
Burmantofts, as the Oswalds regularly used this firm.
||Continue along High Bridge, crossing the elegant
curve of Grey Street, then turn left into Pilgrim Street and walk north to
Street. On the left is Fenwick’s department
store, seen here with Father Christmas riding high above a facade made
lurid green by Christmas lights; normally it appears a glistening white.
The Classical faience facade of the store was built around 1910-13, and
restored in 1996 by faience manufacturers Shaws of Darwen.
northward, turn right into Northumberland Road to
find the Sutherland Building, now part of the University of
Northumbria but built as the Durham University Medical School - note the
initials ’DUMS’ in striking terracotta! The building, with its unusual
parapet of bright red terracotta, ornamented with an entire herd of toothy
gargoyles, was put up in 1887 by Dunn, Hansom & Dunn.
Northumberland Street, turning right after Monument Mall to reach Grey’s
Monument. Just to the west in Blackett is Parson’s Polygon, an artwork of
brick and terracotta cladding hiding a ventilator shaft for the Metro
system beneath. This rustic, rugged red hexagonal work was created in 1985
by the sculptor David Hamilton; the terracotta cladding was made from the
same clay as nearby Eldon Square’s bricks.
||Immediately south of Grey’s Monument is the Central
Arcade, created by architects Joseph and Harold Oswald after the
interior of Exchange Buildings was burnt out around 1904. The two-storey
shopping arcade was faced entirely in Burmantofts faience in shades of
brown and yellow, clearly marked with the date of completion, 1906. Only
an unfortunate replacement mosaic floor mars the delightful picture.
||Continue south down Grainger Street, turning
right into Westgate Road;
cross the road to see the Newcastle Arts Centre, wherein may be
found probably the largest handmade tile project of the twentieth century.
The building has very attractive gas-fired geometric terracotta floor
tiles and wall mosaics throughout a vast site. All the ceramics were
designed and made during 1982-8 by changing teams of community programme
workers funded by Manpower Services; some tiles were even made from clay
dug on the site. The photo shows some of the brilliantly coloured mosaics.
||Turn left into Clayton Street West to find the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary.
The church was designed by A. W. N. Pugin in 1842-4 and became a cathedral
in 1850. The spire was added in 1872 by local architects Dunn &
Hansom. There is a range of encaustic floor tiles by Minton’s, probably
dating from the original period of construction, and a tiled frieze which
runs at window-sill level around the body of the cathedral. The frieze,
mainly in mauve, green and white, was probably added in 1901-2, when the
baptistry (now the entrance porch) was built by Edward Goldie. It was
probably designed and made by one of the local stained glass producers. Lettering
on the frieze includes the names of Northumbrian saints, on the south
side, and names of English martyrs on the north side. To complete the
tour, return to the Station via Bewick Street, along the north side of the