Newcastle. Quayside + Baltic Flour Mills + Sage Gateshead + Lit and Phil

An excerpt from the book: Travels through History – North-East England

There’s a lovely view of the Tyne Bridge and the Swing Bridge from The High Level Bridge with the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in the distance. The Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge is behind you. Two other bridges are further upstream – The King Edward VII bridge and the Redheugh Bridge. Facing downstream, The Sage Centre is on the right-hand side in Gateshead with the Baltic Flour Mill in the distance on the same side of the Tyne. The Quayside to the left-hand side is on the northern side of the Tyne in Newcastle and the opposite side of the river is Gateshead. The High Level bridge carries both rail and road traffic.

Tyne Bridge is the main symbol of Newcastle, a through arch bridge started in August 1925 and completed in February 1928, home to around 700 pairs of kittiwakes, at least one of which will appear in all your photos. The bridge is 85 feet above the Tyne and the single arch span is 531 feet, though the whole length of the entire bridge is 1,276 feet. The bridge was officially opened by King George V and he and his queen, Mary of Teck, were the first people to be driven across it in their carriage. 20,000 children were given the day off school to witness this spectacle. Today the bridge carries the A167 across the Tyne.

The Sage Centre in Gateshead, or Sage Gateshead, designed by Norman Foster and Partners, formed the heart of an ambitious regeneration project of Gateshead’s river frontage and lies alongside the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Tyne Bridge, whose arch is echoed in the Sage’s roof. In different lights, it can look like a chrysalis, a billowing steel cloud, or a grounded, deflating airship. It was completed in 2004 and is home to The Northern Sinfonia and a base for Folkworks, which promotes folk, jazz and blues performances. There are three auditoria and accommodation for the Regional Music School. The largest of the main performance spaces is an acoustically state-of-the-art concert hall seating up to 1,650 people. The second hall can be arranged to suit folk, jazz and chamber performances and seats up to 400. Sage Gateshead is constructed from steel, aluminium, and glass and the surface reflections of the sky endlessly change as you walk by on your way to the Baltic Centre. But first make sure you have a good look at the sweeping majesty of The Millennium Bridge.

This bridge was lifted into place as a complete structure by one of the world’s largest floating cranes on 20 November 2000. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2001 and dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 May 2002. The bridge cost £22m to build. Six 18-inch  diameter hydraulic rams (three on each side) rotate the bridge back on bearings to allow ships and boats up to 82 feet in height to pass underneath. The bridge takes as little as 4.5 minutes to rotate through the full 40° from closed to open depending on the speed of the prevaling wind. The bridge’s appearance during this manoeuvre has led to it being nicknamed the “Winking Eye Bridge” or “Blinking Eye Bridge”. The design is so energy efficient it costs only around £4 each time it opens. The soaring arch and supporting guy ropes almost make it look like a distorted, white harp from certain angles.

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