A lot of our local-inspired products showcase the many wonders of the North East. With amazing architecture and a great deal of heritage on our doorsteps, we delve into the history of some of the most iconic landmarks featured throughout That’s Champion Pet.
1. The Cinema’s of Newcastle Print
The Cinema’s of Newcastle Print shows five of the most famous picture houses in Newcastle’s history; the Odeon, Paramount, Tyneside Cinema, ABC Haymarket and the Westgate Picture House.
Odeon - Built in 1931, the old Odeon cinema was a great part of Newcastle’s history. Although most recently remembered for collapsing in 2017, the Odeon was, once-upon-a-time, a thriving hub for film-goers across the North East. With the last screening taking place in 2002, the cinema stood empty and decaying for years until a notice for demolition was instructed in 2016.
Paramount - The paramount cinema opened it doors back in 1931, when there was no cinema in the region of its kind. It’s incredible art-deco aesthetic projected an all-American theme that attracted film fans across the whole of the North East. In 1939, the Paramount chain was bought by Odeon, the name most of us identify as the iconic Pilgrim Street venue mentioned above!
Tyneside Cinema - The Tyneside Cinema, which still stands strong as ever today, was opened in 1937 and remains a classic cinema experience that is every independent film-goers dream. It is the only purpose-built newsreel theatre in the UK that is still operating as a cinema.
ABC Haymarket - This venue opened just a few days before Christmas in 1933. Part of the Associated British Cinemas brand which began in 1928, Westgate Road, Gateshead and Whitley Bay were home to ABC cinemas, but the Haymarket cinema was the most prolific. The cinema was demolished in 1985 along with the historic Haymarket pub in 1987.
Westgate Picture House - Now known as the o2 Academy, this cinema opened in 1912 and took on many guises throughout the years, from the ‘Westgate Road Picture House’ to the ‘New Westgate’ and eventually the ‘Gaumont’ before closing as a cinema in 1958.
2. St James’ Cushion
St James’ Park has over time become one of the most iconic football grounds in the world. Notorious for its goosebump-inducing atmosphere, the ground has been used for football since 1880 and became the home of Newcastle United in 1892. St James’ Park is one of the oldest association football grounds in the UK. The first match ever played by Newcastle United at St James’ was against Middlesbrough on Christmas Eve of 1892, with Newcastle winning 2-1.
3. Tyne Bridge Mug
Connecting Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, the Tyne Bridge is known as the most celebrated and iconic of the seven bridges that cross over the River Tyne. Built by Dorman Long and Co. of Middlesbrough in 1928, the bridge was at this time the longest single span bridge in the world. Designers of the Tyne Bridge, Mott, Hay and Anderson, based their design on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which opened a few years later in 1932. There is often a confusing ‘chicken and egg’ situation with the two bridges, but this was cleared up in 2001 by Frank Manders in his book ‘Crossing the Tyne’.
4. Grey’s Monument Print
The Grade I listed monument opened in 1838 as testament to the former Prime Minister, Earl Charles Grey for the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832 (the Earl Grey tea blend was also named after him!). The monument stands at the top of the picturesque Grey Street and is occasionally open for tours to climb the 164 steps to the top, providing spectacular views over the city. During World War Two, in September of 1941 the statue was directly hit by a lightning bolt, causing the head to fall and hit a passing tram.
5. Wooden Angel of the North Decoration
A more contemporary fixture in Newcastle’s portfolio of amazing architecture, the Angel of the North designed by Antony Gormley, was completed in 1998. The sculpture is 66ft tall and its wings span across 54 metres. Known best for the welcoming feeling of home it brings so many Geordies on their return to the motherland, the sculpture is said to be one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world, being seen by 90,000 passersby every day. The sculpture was once covered with a 30ft Alan Shearer Shirt by a group of Toon fans to mark Newcastle United’s appearance at Wembley in 1998.
6. Castle Keep Photography
The Castle Keep is a well-preserved medieval building that through time has served as a royal fortress, a dreary dungeon and even a prison. In 1400, Newcastle became its own County, however the Castle Garth remained part of the County of Northumberland as it was within the castle walls. During the 1800’s unlicensed tradesmen took to the castle as tailors, shoemakers and taveners due to the lack of jurisdiction town authorities had on the building.
7. It’s BALTIC up North Print
Housed in the previous industrial landmark, the Baltic working Flour Mills, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art opened in 2002 and serves as the UK’s largest dedicated Contemporary art institution. The flour mill was expanded to an animal food mill in 1957 and eventually came to close in 1981. The Baltic still contains the grain hoppers from the mill, which run almost the entire height of the building.
8. Alnwick, Northumberland Illustrated Print
Alnwick is an old market town in the north of Northumberland. Named after the river on which it stands, the River Aln, Alnwick is the home of Alnwick Castle, housing the Percy family for over 700 years and remaining inhabited by the 12th Duke and Duchess to this day. This castle also has a rich modern history, and is now well known for being part of the set of the Harry Potter films.
9. Spanish City Print
The Spanish City was a permanently situated funfair in the heart of the seaside town of Whitley Bay. This minimal print showcases the Grade II listed building, ‘The Dome’ which was originally completed in 1910 and was home to a wide variety of attractions, from theatre to shops, cafes and promenades. After it’s closure 18 years ago, a huge restoration project has been carried out to reopen ‘The Dome’ in the summer of 2018, where once more many entertainment activities will take place.
10. Farne Islands Puffin Cruise Cushion
The Farne Islands are a group of islands just off the coast of Northumberland. There are between 15 and 20 small islands, depending on the tide. Declared by Sir David Attenborough as his favourite place in the UK to see nature at its best, the Farne Islands attracts 23 different varieties of birds, most famously known for its colourful puffins.
The North East is home to some of the greatest landmarks, both historical and modern and many great sights too, that’s why we’re so proud to call it home. Feeling the sentiment after reminiscing the wonder that is the North East? You can shop all things Geordie here.