Notes from a walk, Newcastle upon Tyne, 21 August 2012
Walking over to The Globe Gallery, Blandford Square last week to attend the Magnificent Distance critical discussion day, I took a route through the west part of the city that is out of my normal home-city centre / home-university groove. This is the part of town just beyond the main shopping area and Gallowgate towards St James’ football stadium. It’s an area that I used to be very familiar with when I lived in Summerhill (just off Westgate Road and around the corner from Globe). It’s a part of the city that has changed enormously in the now 20 years that I have lived in Newcastle – including the construction of the ‘boulevard’ (a dual carriageway that I remember as being much opposed by local residents when I lived in Summerhill), closure of the Newcastle Brown brewery, extension of the football stadium and the growth of the new City Gate developments. The area of the old brewery now has a high profile as the site for the new Science Central development, flagged as the largest city-centre development opportunity for over a decade.
On my way I passed this memorial to Bobby Robson (former Manager of Newcastle and England football teams, and consequently a major local hero for the City), installed in 2011 (I subsequently find out), but which I hadn’t seen, or perhaps registered, before. It still looks very new and cared for.
The location/work is officially known as the Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Garden, commissioned by Newcastle City Council and NE1 (Newcastle’s business improvement district company), and designed and sculpted by artist Graeme Mitcheson. It’s also been in the news, both press and media, as having been subject in March 2012 to some obscene graffiti, allegedly by rival Norwich football fans. But this was quickly cleaned off by Newcastle City Council’s rapid response team. A video interview with the cleaning team is posted on the Sky Tyne and Wear website.
With football and also the Olympics on my mind I later passed this ‘mystery’ artwork (?)/wall piece (the repeated and interlinking circles certainly making me think ‘footballs’ and ‘Olympic symbols’). I haven’t found this feature listed anywhere so far as a piece of ‘public art’. It’s pretty bland as a design but does certainly make this quite long stretch of dull wall more visually interesting as I walk along it.
Davies, K. (2012), ‘Sir Bobby Robson memorial garden hit by yobs’, Evening Chronicle (Newcastle edn.), 20 March. [Online] Available at http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2012/03/20/sir-bobby-robson-memorial-garden-hit-by-yobs-72703-30578573/ [Accessed 29 August 2012]
(2012). ‘Obscene Graffiti Cleaned Off Sir Bobby Robson Memorial in Newcastle’, Sky Tyne and Wear. [Online] Available at http://tyneandwear.sky.com/news/video/15413 [Accessed 29 August 2012).