Thursday, 15 October 2009

I Miss Newcastle!!

There I've said it ... I'm missing Newcastle, I don't know if its because I'm hating the change of moving to the countryside and back "home" but I miss the city, its buzz and its life. Its oh so quiet in the countryside. Its the place where I feel I belong. So I'm reminiscing by looking through old photographs of the city, but mostly focusing on the people - the Geordies.

I need to get back up there, somehow, some way, its the only place I seem to feel settled.

Capturing the launching of the World Unicorn ship in 1973, this image is part of the "river project" collection by Sirkka Liisa Konitten. Looking back now it recalls and documents a city and way of life built around the River Tyne which made the cities fortunes. It was a city of industry, of power and community. I first saw the launching of this ship in a film by Amber, it all seemed out of a movie as the massive hulk of the ship towered over the terraced streets of the east end of the city. I just adore how this little moggy is sat in the middle of the quiet street, the only signs of life to be found at the far end.

Peaceable Kingdoms additionally taken from the online collection of Amber. In this picture taken by Peter Fryer a young, what appears a girl sits up on a chair looking over the ricky wooden fence at the neighbouring allotment owner. His expression shows a happy, cheerful situation and atmosphere between these two characters.

Taken in 1959 along Park Road in the west end of Newcastle down in Scotswood, I just love the happy stance, the friendly, loving hold between the girls. Maybe they are friends? Or sisters standing for a family portrait. Are they wearing their Sunday best? Their shiny clean shoes and their happy smiling faces as a seagull circles above them. Again from the Amber collection of Newcastle based images.

Far from seeing line upon line of yellow buses and taxis now outside the Theatre Royal along Grey Street, a line of elephants are paraded down the street, perhaps down to the quayside.

A group of young children play with junk in front of the looming Byker Bridge taken in 1971 by the Swedish photographer then living in the area - Sirkka Liisa Konttien. With the Ouseburn [now a site of major redevelopment] hidden away in the valley below, the looming towers of the city centre hide in the hazy background.

Back in Scotswood this picture looks down what was once Clara Street towards Dustan Power Station over the River Tyne. Capturing a soggy, drizzly [and often typical Newcastle day] a child strides up the steep road, a dog rushing out of the frame, perhaps her mother looking, encouraging her tired child on. Row upon row of these terraced streets where demolished through large scale regeneration plans, often plans that never saw the light of day, at the expense of ruining many communities. 

Update - all the pictures that were used in this blog when it was first written have since been taken offline from whatever sources they were taken from.


  1. What a fantastic post...that first photo fills me with absolute horror though, and I've just written a post about my phobia. I've always loved Sirkka Lisa Konttinen, ever since I worked in a play in Newcastle when I was much younger, in the mid 80's. I was given her book 'Byker' as a leaving present, and is a very cherished possesion. It is signed at the front by, amongst others, Pete Postlethwaite and Sean Bean!!!... who were quite simply not at all famous then...but her book and her images have been constant and very formative inspiration to me.
    Thanks ever such a lot for the lovely reminder.

  2. Aww that you so much for your comment! Her images are really like no other, they really do describe the areas so well by the people she captures.