Down a bit today..
I got out reasonably early today, as I had a Plan. It’s the annual Heritage Open Days weekend, which involves lots of places that aren’t normally open to the public opening their doors and letting people in to look around, or have a guided tour. Photography is generally encouraged, and it’s an opportunity to see some interesting things, and learn something about buildings you might never have seen otherwise.
There’s a helpful booklet listing things that are open in most of Tyne & Wear. I say most, because Gateshead council decided that this was something they could cut and so haven’t participated in organising or coordinating anything. Not a good choice, in my view, but never mind…
Anyway, I worked out a list of things to go to in Newcastle today, with further plans for tomorrow and Sunday. And remarkably, I got around all of today’s items. More photos will follow over the next few days, but I’ll include some samples here.
First stop was Central Square – a couple of large office buildings behind Newcastle station. The main attraction for me was this incredible atrium:
Public access was only available on the ground floor – quite understandable, as it’s a working building, but it would have been nice to get up those stairs…
Next stop was the Mining Institute, which has this magnificent library:
I arrived just in tie for the guided tour led by the Institute’s President, the splendidly named Bill Bell, who quite apart from having a wealth of knowledge about the building, mining, safety lamps and more, was quite fascinating to listen to.
I then moved on to St Nicholas’s Cathedral, where I had a short wait before having a tour of some of the many monuments and stained glass windows, including this modern piece, which replaced a window lost to blast damage in the second world war.
The outline is meant to represent a chalice, and to suggest the shape of a Spitfire.
Next stop was the rarely-seen Sallyport Tower. Indeed, it was nearly not seen, as whoever was supposed to tell somebody to open it didn’t. However, someone from the council was around, and after making some calls, let the public in.
I was rather taken with this notice board, which is quite old – it’s been a long time since Newcastle had such short phone numbers!
(And that’s a nice example of the X-T1 handling low light very well)
My next stop was going to be CastleGate, but as the next tour wasn’t for quite some time, I headed back to town for some lunch. I went to Garden Kitchen in Eldon Garden. I’d never been there, but I used to like one of its predecessors, so I thought it was time to give it a try. Good choice. I ordered a BLT and a refreshing fruit drink. The BLT was seriously good – the bacon was crisp, plentiful and if it wasn’t freshly cooked, was doing a remarkably good impression of it. The lettuce and tomato were likewise fresh and crisp. The bread was good solid white – farmhouse, I think. The cole slaw served in a little pot on the side made a good addition. I was so impressed I tweeted about it, and at the time of writing, it was still showing on their website:
After that, I had an indirect walk back to CastleGate, where I joined a large group for the tour of the building. It started life as the power station for Newcastle’s electric trams in the early 20th century, and has had various uses since. It’s currently owned by a church, who use it for their services and hire out rooms for functions, events and so on. There’s a lot of its original material still to be seen, including this lovely stained glass window, which can only be appreciated from inside the building.
After that tour, I headed for home, having had a good day out.
 Grapes are fruit.
 Which may not be the same time as that shown on this post
 Or day