Victorian decadence in Newcastle
The Central Arcade in Newcastle upon Tyne links Grey Street to Market Street and Grainger Street in what must have been amongst the most opulent and indulging experiences of the Edwardian era on Tyneside, a place where the slightly more wealthy could enjoy their shopping experience under cover and dry whenever it was raining.
This triple domed edifice fills its triangular site, each dome is crowned by a bunch of monstrous bronze feathers. The Central Arcade has frontages on Grainger Street, Grey Street and Market Street, all dating from c1840 designed for Richard Grainger, probably by John Wardle. Exchange Buildings was originally designed as a commercial exchange and newsroom but in 1869 the exchange was converted into an art gallery. After a devastating fire it was rebuilt in 1906 and the Central Arcade was opened with entrances on all three sides of the triangle. Below the glass barrel-vaulted roof all is glistening Burmantofts ceramics in shades of browns, buffs and yellows: huge panels, little niches, grotesque animal heads and elegant lettering abound.
The level of detail in the ceramic decoration is quite amazing, as is the longevity of it’s oldest trader J.G. Windows, when I was a teenager I’d often take the train up here with friends just so we could hunt down obscure records (vinyl LPs) or sheet music for those who knew what to do with it. The shop still retains it’s quaint charm and is probably the best place in Newcastle to find the musical instrument of your choice.
Just another little treasure found during our day away from South Shields, if you appreciate Newcastle please take a couple of minutes to visit their Daily Photo Site.
Camera details: Pentax K100D, 35 mm lens, 1/90 second, f7.1, iso 400