Posted on March 22, 2020
Part 1 HERE
As well as the tower, there is a house and some other buildings we had a look at.
The first house on the site was unfortunately burned down in 1781. The estate was then bought by Edmund Craster, who built the house you can see above, in 1802. In 1861 AJ Baker Creswell bought the house for his son Henry, who added an east wing and moved the front door to the north side in 1830, and when GG Baker Cresswell inherited the house he added an entrance hall in 1915. The Baker Cresswells have a long history in Northumberland, an early manuscript states that Sir Robert de Cresswell had possession of the estate in 1191, in the reign of Richard I. and they owned a vast area including Cresswell Hall. the ruins of which you can see in the link there.
There are walks in the grounds so off we went.
After we finished we drove over to Alnwick Castle to take some pictures before the sun went down, so stay tooned for the next post!
Full album HERE
Posted on March 15, 2020
The history bit.
Built in 1392, Preston Tower was built in a time of warfare between England and Scotland. By the time of Agincourt in 1415, it was one of 78 Pele Towers and Tower Houses in the county. One of its owners, Sir Guiscard Harbottle was killed in hand to hand combat with King James IV at the battle of Flodden in 1513.
The Battle of Flodden, Flodden Field, or occasionally Branxton (Brainston Moor) was a battle fought on 9 September 1513 during the War of the League of Cambrai between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, resulting in an English victory. The battle was fought in Branxton in the county of Northumberland in northern England, between an invading Scots army under King James IV, who had taken advantage of the fact that Henry VIII was on a jolly in France, and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey. In terms of troop numbers, it was the largest battle fought between the two kingdoms. James IV was killed in the battle, becoming the last monarch from the British Isles to die in battle.
Although the rest of England enjoyed peace and prosperity in the 16th century, the border lands between the two countries were constantly under attack by raiders known as Reivers. So instead of comfortable Tudor manor houses, the seats of the Border families still had to have 7 foot thick walls and tunnel-vaulted rooms to defend their people and livestock. The main entrance was usually on the first floor in order to make it harder for the pesky Scots to break down the door. Eventually in 1603 the Union of Scotland and England came about under James I, and peace finally came to the Borders.
At this time half the tower was pulled down and the stone used for farm buildings on the estate, but the present Tower is the original structure. Now owned by GJ Baker Cresswell, the property is uninhabited but furnished as might have been in the 14th century. A later addition is a clock with two faces & an hourly strike audible from afar, with mechanism on view.
So on with the pictures! It was a lovely autmn day, with a crisp blue sky when we visited.
As you enter, the guard room and prison is on the left
Going up to the next floor, you can see the thickness of the stone walls
One of the windows on the 2nd floor, they don’t let arrows in!
On the second floor there is the Flodden room, which is just an empty room with interesting extracts from border history fastened to the walls. For any medieval geeks reading this I’ll leave a link to the full album at the end of the posts so you can see them.
One can go up to the top of the tower, which is 200ft above sea level and there are magnificent views over the countryside.
Compass to show what you can see from the roof top.
So that’s the Tower, but stay tooned as next time we’ll have a look at the house and grounds.
Posted on March 8, 2020
After we’d visited NELSAM we still had a couple of hours of daylight so decided to visit WWT Washington Wetland Centre as it was only up the road from the museum and is always good for birds and otters.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust started out in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and was set up by Sir Peter Scott, (son of Scott of the Antarctic). Peter became an Olympic sailing medallist and a well-known painter and broadcaster. He created the IUCN red list which measures whether species are threatened or endangered. He was the founding chair of WWF – and even drew their famous panda logo.
The Trust is all about conservation of endangered species, and their mission is to save critically endangered species from extinction, work with communities around the world who depend on wetlands and inspire people to take care of nature.
There are 9 WWT’s across the UK and we are lucky enough to have one near Sunderland. I’ve done a few posts on this blog from the WWT but there’s always something new to see.
There is a pair of Black Swans at Washington, they have white wing tips and red bills with a white stripe on them.
We were very excited to see a kingfisher, as neither off us had seen one in the flesh before
Further up in that part of the lake a heron was also fishing
We went to see the asian short clawed otters at feeding time
The breeding programme at Washington is very successful and when the litters of the main pair grow up they are sent to other wetlands to diversify the gene pool.
Then we went to see the flamingos, my faves, but walked past the geese first,
The weather was deteriorating at this point so that was the end of our day out, but stay tooned to see where we end up next time!
all pics are clickable to embiggen.
Full album HERE
Posted on March 1, 2020
The North East Land Sea & Air Museum – NELSAM – sits on the former RAF Usworth and Sunderland airport site, next to the Sunderland Nissan factory, and comprises of the former Aircraft museum (NEAM), military vehicles collection, and the North East Electric Traction Trust (NEETT) is also based on the site. The museum houses over 30 aircraft and a wide collection of aero engines, as well as weaponry, vehicles and other historical exhibits, and is run by volunteers. Amongst the varied and unique exhibits is a cold war Avro Vulcan B2 Bomber, which flew into the former airport to become the first Vulcan to go into a private collection.
Sophie and I went off to visit there on a rather miserable-weather day, but we are intrepid! There was a fair amount of stuff in need of, and being, restored, so bits and pieces everywhere.
I took quite a few photos, as I do :), so these are just some of my favourites.
That’s only a fraction of the inside of the museums hangars, but I’m wanting to keep this visit to one post! Here are a few from outside though as they were my faves.
This was an excellent museum and I can’t really do it justice in one post, but there is a full album HERE and all pictures are embiggenable with a click!
NELSAM has a great website with pictures and information on the history of each aircraft or museum piece so for any aircraft nerds here is the link right HERE
Posted on February 23, 2020
Just some people I spotted on our walk around Gateshead & Newcastle.
All pictures embiggenable with a little click
An album of all the Newcastle pictures can be found HERE
Stay tooned for our next adventure. 🙂
Posted on February 16, 2020
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle is a grade 1 listed building, catholic cathedral and the mother church of the Dioscese of Hexam & Newcastle and seat of the Bishop of the diocese. The cathedral was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, an English architect, designer,artist and critic and was a pioneer of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. He designed many churches in England, Ireland and as far as Australia, but also the interior of the Palace of Westminster, and its iconic clock tower, later named the Elizabeth Tower which houses the bell known as Big Ben.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1842 and was completed by 1844 except for the spire and the tower which were added in 1872.
Sophie and I had been meaning to visit when we were in Newcastle, so this day was our chance.
The East window was designed by Pugin and made by renowned glassmaker William Wailes.
There are some fab stained glass windows creating some lovely light in the cathedral
We really loved the light and colours in the Cathedral, it is a nice blend of modern and original features, and well worth a visit.
Stay tooned for more out and about in Newcastle.
Posted on February 9, 2020
St.Oswalds Hospice in Newcastle cares for both adults, children and babies who have terminal illnesses. It is a registered charitable trust, and whilst the NHS regulates it, it does not fund it. The childrens hospice has to raise over £7.5 million each year to keep its doors open and its service free to those who need it, and relies a fair bit on volunteers, (who’s equivalent salary comes to around £180 million a year, if they were paid minimum contract wages). It is well run and very well thought of by those who have been unfortunate enough to need its services.
This year the Childrens Hospice organised an art trail, to raise money for the kids unit. Based on Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, a childrens book written and illustrated by David McKee. From 21st August to 1st November 2019 an art trail featuring individually designed elephant sculptures based on the Elmer character happens across Tyne & Wear. 50 large by recognised North East artists, and 114 little sculptures by school children. There’s an app (of course there’s an an app! 😀 ) to download the trail and at the end of the time period the elephant sculptures are auctioned off.
I had no inclination to go charging around Tyne & Wear doing the trail, but it is fun coming across them on outings, and there were a few in Newcastle when we went. I took some pictures of them 🙂
“‘Jumble’ illustrates that no matter what, we are all made up of an assortment of things and that so many entities influence who we are. Our thoughts, behaviours and appearance are formed by our ancestors, heritage, culture, society, surroundings and people’s influences on us. Collaboration and equality can result in an outstanding outcome.”
“Our design was inspired by our school values of respect and equality. We encourage children to respect others and be confident in who they are – just like Elmer. We believe everyone is equal no matter what they look like and we wanted our Elmer to reflect this. Our motto is ‘Working together, we succeed,’ so everyone worked together to produce a unique design embodying self-confidence and individuality”.
“Our design was inspired by our whole school’s well-being and work on mental health. The Japanese have an old philosophy that ‘nothing is ever truly broken’. This ancient art of ‘Kintsugi’ repairs smashed pottery with gold. As people, we sometimes feel broken or in pieces but like our Elmer, with support, we can be restored.”
Jim Edwards is best known for his contemporary cityscape and landscape painting, capturing the iconic locations of the North East. ‘Orbit’s’ surface is covered in the familiar patchwork of land masses that represent the planet Earth. The tiny International Space station circumnavigates the elephants body, catching the attention of Orbit, like an insect passing by his trunk.
Natalie Guy is a contemporary mosaic artist using a wide range of materials including diamonds, hex nuts, jigsaw pieces and mirror tiles. Disco Wilbur is based on the Wilbur character who appears alongside Elmer in David McKee’s book series and is created using thousands of pieces of mirror tiles.
He’s my favourite of course 🙂
The auction raised £182,200
Stay tooned for more from Newcastle.
Posted on February 2, 2020
Part 1 HERE
After our somewhat disappointing ‘tour’ around All Saints, Sophie and I went off to find an interesting building Sophie had spotted from a train. According to Sophie it wasn’t too far away, so we left All Saints and headed down to the quayside.
We walked down the quayside and I was amused to see that a temporary beach had been set up for summer.
You may notice an elephant in the middle of the picture, this is something that happens every year in the North East, and will have a post of it’s own next time. In the mean time, back to our quest for the Oriental roofed building. We came across a few interesting bits and pieces along the way.
The Keel Row is a traditional Tyneside folk song evoking the life and work of the keelmen of Newcastle upon Tyne. The opening lines of the song set it in Sandgate, that part of the quayside overlooking the River Tyne to the east of the city centre where the keelmen lived and which is still overlooked by the Keelmen’s Hospital. The Keelmen of Tyne and Wear were a group of men who worked on the keels, large boats that carried the coal from the banks of both rivers to the waiting collier ships.
In 1699 the keelmen of Newcastle decided to build the Keelmen’s Hospital, a charitable foundation for sick and aged keelmen and their families. The keelmen agreed to contribute one penny a tide from the wages of each keel’s crew and Newcastle Corporation made land available in Sandgate. The hospital was completed in 1701 at a cost of £2,000. It consisted of fifty chambers giving onto a cloister enclosing a grass court. One matter of contention relating to the hospital was that the funds for its maintenance were kept in the control of the Hostmen, ( a cartel of businessmen who formed a monopoly to control the export of coal from the River Tyne) lest they be used as a strike fund by the keelmen. Nothing really changes does it? The hospital building still remains in City Road, and was used for student accommodation until recently. The building is now on the Heritage at Risk register. It has stood vacant since the closure of the student accommodation, and was added to the register in 2009.
After the decline of Newcastle as an industrial centre, in recent times this area of the river bank known as the Quayside and more specifically Sandgate at this point underwent a major redevelopment project. As part of this the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation funded a number of pieces of sculpture and public art including this one. Taking the theme from the sea and rivers the statue is of a female siren, who famously lured sailors away from their intended course. (Because of course statues make up for the loss of industry and jobs).
Just before we got to City Road we came across this derelict building. Once a pub, the Barley Mow and then the Frog and Firkin it has lain empty since 2010, and has been hit by arson twice in the intervening years.
We kept walking along City Road, expecting Sophies building to appear around the corner, but as we got to Ouseburn there was still no sign of it! On we went.
A Former Wesleyan Mission House dating to 1867, it’s been converted into flats but retains much of its architectural integrity. The plaque on it’s wall relates to Gladstone Adams (1880 1896). Born just around the corner from the mission he attended Gosforth Academy. Adams served an apprenticeship in Tynemouth with photographer William Auty and opened his own studio in 1904. In April 1908, he drove down to Crystal Palace Park in a 1904 Darracq-Charron motorcar to see Newcastle United play against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup final. It was such a novelty to see a car in those days that it was put into a car showroom window while he was there, because so many people wanted to see it. On the way back from the cup final, snow kept getting on the windscreen and Gladstone had to keep getting out of the car to clear it. This experience led to his invention of the windscreen wiper. In April 1911, Gladstone patented the design of a windscreen wiper with Sloan & Lloyd Barnes, patent agents of Liverpool. Gladstone’s version of the windscreen wiper was never manufactured, however. His original prototype can be seen in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. In World War I, Adams served in the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the RAF, as a photograph reconnaissance officer. One of his duties was to prove the death and then arrange the burial of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’, after he had been shot down and killed.
Four companies came together in 1904 to form the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company. These were: The Tyne Steam Shipping Co. Ltd, The Tees Union Steamship Co. Ltd, The Free Trade Wharf Co. Ltd and Furness Withy & Co. Ltd. The Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company provided shipping services in the United Kingdom from 1904 to 1943. Two of their ships were sunk – one by torpedo in 1917 with the loss of 8 crew members and another hit a mine in 1915 with a loss of 2 of the crew. According to the Hotel du Vin website the building has now been converted into “42 timelessly styled bedrooms, trademark bistro, intriguing Laroche tasting room, two stunning private dining rooms, Bubble bar, courtyard for alfresco dining and an outstanding wine cellar”. A bit of posh then.
Looking over from City Road you can see The Malings, a residential development by the architects Ash Sakula on the banks of the river Ouseburn. Named after the Malings Pottery dating back to 1817, the scheme comprises 76 low energy and eco-friendly homes, with commercial units for local business and community uses. It was named “Supreme Winner” at the 2016 Housing Design Awards.
You can see this graffiti on the other side of the road behind The Malings on the yet-to-be-developed-site.
At the junction of City Road an Horatio Street, you can see the Sailers Bethel which was opened on the 12th of April 1877. Designed by the architect Thomas Oliver Junior it cost £2000 to build. This building has been used as a nonconformist chapel, a community centre, a Danish seamen’s church and now, finally, offices. The word Bethel is hebrew for House of God. In the 1800’s a lot of trade between Newcastle and Denmark occurred, resulting in cargoes of fresh meat, eggs and butter, which all arrived at the mouth of the Ouseburn river. The Bethel was where the Danish sailors stayed overnight whilst their cargo was unloaded.
It was quite a long walk to get there but eventually Sophies building appeared in front of us, easily spotted by it’s weird rooftops, which Sophie had thought of oriental design, so we were not sure what kind of building it was.
The rather flamboyant Ouseburn School on Albion Road, facing City Road was built in 1891-93 at the considerable cost of £17,000. The listed school closed in 1977 and lay empty for years until it was converted into a business development centre, providing 50 offices and workshops. Designed by F W Rich in 1893 it is characterised by Dutch type gables, decorative moulded brickwork and pagoda-style turrets in the style of those found on Burmese Temples. It’s rumoured that industrial giants, Armstrong and Vickers, gave hefty donations towards the building as they were trying to impress the Japanese Navy who visited Tyneside with a view to buying battleships with steam generators. Hence the pagodas.
Mission accomplished and we turned back to the quayside and the centre of Newcastle. Stay tooned for part 3 when we’ll look at the elephants of Newcastle.
all pictures by me and embiggenable with a click!
Posted on January 19, 2020
Onwards into the castle itself.
Built on the site of the medieval Great Hall, the Kings Hall is a Victorian masterpiece. The magnificent false hammer beam ceiling is made with teak from Thailand.
They were playing music in the Kings Hall, and we saw the lovely French man and his wife dancing to it
The Cross Hall, which crosses the Kings Hall, has a vast Tudor style fireplace and intricate stone carvings representing ship building across the ages along with large tapestries and a copy of Theodore Rombout’s The Card Players.
The Dining room has a good view
and a castle always should have a suit of armour or two
So that’s the lot for this visit to Bamburgh Castle. Stay tooned for next time when we take a trip to Newcastle.
all pictures clickable to embiggen