Quayside's best architecture

Gayatri talks about the Quayside's best buildings

Gayatri Gopalakrishnan
18th March 2019
Image: Andy Kelly

In the early days after moving down to Newcastle, walking around and exploring the city, what caught my attention were tiny, perhaps discreet little quirky things.

Take the case of a plaque in front of a window, somewhere near Grainger Street, which marks the spot where “Mrs Mary Howard adjusted her hat, in front of the window.”

Whilst that was a small bit of amusing art, the varying architecture and the history attached to a lot of buildings in the toon had me fascinated. Starting off at what is my most favourite part of Newcastle, the Quayside, whilst the bridges are indeed lovely, there is a lot more interesting building around the place.

Bessie Surtees House:

The Tyne bank was the hub of commercial Newcastle in the 16thand 17thcentury, with merchants living and working in the houses near Sandhill. Being fine examples of Jacobean architecture, not only are two of these buildings still standing, but are also a Class I listed building. This house has its place in urban folklore as the house of Bessie Surtees. Creating a scandal in the 16thcentury, Bessie Surtees, the daughter of a merchant eloped with a pauper, John Scott, by climbing down a first-floor window and escaping to Scotland. However, the story of the Romeo and Juliet from Newcastle did not end tragically. The “pauper” that Bessie Surtees fell in love with, later went on to become Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor of England.

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