Inspired by haiku heights prompt “New”
Clutching my finger
Stanley captures my heart with
Swaddled in safety he sleeps,
Surrounded by love
In loving arms enfolded
His life in her hands
The word ‘new’ conjures up all sorts of memories for me.
I was born in Newcastle/Gateshead in the North of England. It is a wonderful city with 2000 years of history behind it, and I still think of it as home. Famous in the past for coal mining and ship building, glass making and steel works, it is now more famous as a city of culture, shopping and tourism. It also has some of the best beaches in the UK nearby and the beautiful Northumberland National Park on the doorstep.
The area around the Quayside and the River Tyne has been transformed in recent years into a contemporary scene that buzzes with activity, in the Baltic Art gallery (which used to be a flour mill), and the Sage which is a breathtaking venue for world class music events. Then of course there are the famous bridges! The ‘new’ bridge was built to celebrate this millennium. It is known locally as the “Winking Eye” because of the way it opens to let ships through. The cycle path and footpath on the bridge literally opens like an eyelid. It is a most spectacular bridge which is a superb backdrop for all sorts of events such as the Tall Ships race. The City Council never run out of ideas for decorating or lighting the bridge to make it even more of an attraction.
Behind the new bridge is a much older one known as the Tyne Bridge, which was opened on 10th October 1928 by King George V. My late mum was 3 years old then and she remembered sitting on her uncle’s shoulders watching this event. This bridge carried the Great North Road (A1) from the South of England to Scotland. It also carried buses – and trams when I was a child! Many ships have passed under this bridge over the years.
The name ‘Newcastle’ was adopted in Norman times when Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror, built a castle on the site of the old Roman Fort of Pons Aelius. The original castle was built of earth and timber. But in 1172, in the reign of King Henry 11 the castle was rebuilt in stone. Near the river, the original castle keep still stands as well as narrow medieval streets and 14th century staircases.
The Blackgate was photographed by David Simpson