Monday, 27 October 2014

New glasses

About a month ago I did a post on getting new glasses. When I went to the opticians the pair of glasses, I selected are not the pair glasses I mentioned on my blog posted Glasses necessary, but not enough choice.

These  are my favorite pair by Prada, I usually buy Prada frames as they are simple and classically designed. 

The glass case came in this mock crocodile box .

These are my new glasses in the slimline glass case. 

These are the side view of glasses, I love these with pink contrast with the black, I love the Prada name and the pink mirror detail. 


These are my second pair of glasses the Ralph Laren pair I tend mainly use these as the were cheapest pair . 

This is a picture of  the glasses case 

Side of view of my Ralph Laren glasses they are a baby pink frame with a mock turtle pattern. When I brought these I thought they were solid black until I looked into the ligght and showed the pattern 

The are front view of my glasses 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Interesting places in Gateshead and Newcastle : Saltwell Park

Saltwell Park is located half a mile away from Gateshead town Centre. It's located between Shipcote, Lowfell and Bensham. It has won many awards; Britain's Best Park and the Green Flag. It's one of Gateshead top visitor attractions, and one of the finest examples of a Victorian Parks in the North East. (1)

Saltwell Park was opened in 1876, and designed by Edward Kemp; Gateshead Council purchased it for £35,000 from the previous owner William Wailes. (2). The park was referred as the 'Peoples Park'(1). On the park's opening day, it was celebrated, as a public holiday as the factories were closed; allowing the working class to observe the ceremony (2)

Portrait of William Wailes , hanging in Saltwell Towers 

Originally, the park was a part of a large agricultural estate called Saltwell Estate, the land was divided up including Saltwell Cottage Estate, where the current park is located (1). The estate was purchased by William Wailes, was a prominent stained glass manufacturer. Records detail that he first designed and developed the estates' gardens before building Saltwell Towers. (4) He commissioned plans for the building in 1856, work began in 1859 , he moved in 1862, and work was completed in 1871.(5).

The Council were looking to purchase some of the local estates to use for as a public park. They first contacted Sir Walter James to purchase 14 acres of Half Mile Field. However, in his reply indicated he did not approve of the Cooperation, scheme, and the purchasing price he recommended was far higher than market prices. The Committee then wrote to Wailes, indicating their interest in to purchase the whole estate. He replied his terms and price for the land, and The committee tried continuing negations with Sir James, whilst starting negotiations with Wailes (8).

In March 1875, Sir James would not compete with Wailes price and suggested his land was more suitable for a public park. When The Parks committee reached a resolution with Wailes, they obtained a loan for £35,000 from the Local Government Board to purchase Saltwell Park. (8) Due to financial difficulties Wailes was forced to sell the property to the council, however, he continued to live in the building renting it from the council until his death in 1881 (4). Wailes and the council agreed to rent the house for £140 per a year (8). In December 1875 they requested John Handcock, a local ornithologist and landscape Gardener to design the layout of the park, but he resigned because of work pressures.

In February 1876, Edward Kemp was hired to design the park layout, and Kemp proposed a broad walk along the east side of the four fields; the main entrance should be on the North east of the park, bowling green, skating rink and croquet's ground were to be laid out, with a 3 acre lake, refreshment room and a site for a drinking fountain.(8)

The lake was constructed in 1877, it was decided to open a small zoo and an aviary, containing swans, ducks, peacock, peahen, pheasants, hens, bantam cock, and bantam hen, In later years. They had additions of monkeys, dear and a raccoon; however, these presented problems requiring their immediate removal them. The lake was first created in 1880, and the first ice skating event took place in December 1880.

Over the years, the park was extended in 1920 Saltwell when Grove Estate, next to the Park was purchased and opened to the public. In May 1922, George L. Collins offered to sell South Dene Towers; the Corporation's offer of £6,800 was rejected, eventually the estate was bought in 1938.

In 1942, the Government promoted for people to stay home and organised events for families to part take in ; bowls, tennis tournaments, concerts and children's sports, which occurred in Saltwell Park (8).

For many years, Saltwell Towers was left to decay, and the original interior has been destroyed through neglect(4). Due to neglect none of the Victorian interior features exist. Gateshead Council undertook an ambitious project to restore Saltwell Park to its former glory,which took five years to complete at cost of £10 million. They obtained £6.9 of funding from the National Heritage lottery. The restoration included; Saltwell Towers, a boating lake, a tranquil Dene, a maze, and acres of open space, trees, plants and flowers.(7).

Saltwell Towers
Saltwell Towers Entrance

Saltwell Towers front
Inside the park, Wailes built designed and built the fantastical folly Castle Saltwell Towers.With the typical Victorian combination style using Gothic architectural influences with use of decorative tower, tall chimney stacks, the entrance tower with crenelated parapets,  and Gothic archway door . Wailes took inspiration from the Elizabethan style's utilizing red brick along with contrasting yellow bricks, creating decorative friezes creating a polychromatic effect. The Tudor inspiration continues with use of large bay windows and chimney stack poking from the Victorian folly of contrasting style add to romantic feel of the Victorian folly (3,4,6).
Entrance to Saltwell Towers
I love this building I feel Wailes intentions was to create a romantic and tranquil setting for his family to escape the drudgery and pollution of the Victorian industrious North East. Every time I walk up to the building. I feel as though I've just entered into a world of Disney's interruptions of the Brother Grim's fairy tales. I feel a sense of awe and wonderment as, though I'm going to either find sleeping beauty in one of the rooms waiting to be woken up or I'm going to see Rapunzel's locked in the tower.

Saltwell Towers are now been fully restored, downstairs it's now a cafe for visitors to sit and enjoy refreshments with a lovely piece of cake. Upstairs  is a functions room for different events, and also, displays local artist's work, which are for sale. I feel it is a shame that the interior has been lost through pure neglect, it would have been amazing to see its original state. Despite this it's fantastic to see the building restored and being open to all members of the community.
Cafe inside 

The refreshments I brought 
Photographs of the Victorian gardens from inside of the cafe;

Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain

This Gothic style drinking fountain commiserates, George Charlton a butcher who was involved in the temperance practice of no alcohol consumption, and heavily involved in 'Newcastle Teetotal Society'. In later years, he was voted twice Mayor of Gateshead. There was a public mourning's of his death across Gateshed.

The fountain was installed not long after his in 1885, the Gothic style drinking fountain that commiserates his death, which, resembles a miniature Gothic revival steeple contains gables, pinnacles and crockets, which is appropriate for remembrance of someone's death. The drinking sink made from granite and weather pink marble columns, decoratively supports arches and gable ends, The spire rises from the steeple incorporating design of lilies, roses, ferns, and sunflowers As you first see the monument there is a white marble carved with his face .(9).

The Dene

This one of my favorite part of the park,  and I love walking down here, especially, in the summer as it has a very ethereal feel. I feel as though I have been transported into a  fairy world. In every turn, I feel as though there are maybe fairies to be seen. Also it's just a beautifully tranquil area to walk about in .


Saltwell Dene is an overgrown wooded area of the park, as it is cascaded with a small stream with various bridges following down the small valley and at the end is a small lily pond. William Wailes appreciated it's beauty, and it's been suggested that the Dene was designed to imitate a Sottish Glen. In 1876, Kemp changed the design to give it more of an Italian style introducing waterfalls and pool's cascading with a small stream with various bridges following down the small valley and at the end is a small lily pond . It was painted during the 19th century by Thomas Miles Richardson. (5,10).

During the restoration this was the final area that was completed in 2005 The renovations including rerouting the stream, which requiring re-installing a pumping system allowing for the water to recirculate. This meant restoring original Victorian path, and rebuilding the bridges(5,10).

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Interesting places in Newcastle and Gateshead: St. Mary's Heritage Centre.

St . Mary's Hertiage Centre
St May's previously was a church which closed in 1979 and left to decay. With help from Gateshead Council, the heritage lottery and the European Regional Development fund contributed £1.2 million pounds to transform the once ruined church in St Mary's Heritage Centre. The Centre provides a wide resource of historical information about Gateshead to the local community and visitors. The Centre provides a whole array of event to cater for everybody. The events they provide; local festival, workshops, classes, guide heritage walks, family history surgeries, concerts and performances. They have a gift shop selling local artisan crafts(1).  

St . Mary's Heritage Centre
A letter from St Bede's was mentioned to Utta, Abbott of Gateshead Supposedly in 623 AD, suggesting the age  there was a monastery in Gatehead around that time (2).  The church originally, may of been built in the Gateshead monastery as  some records suggest 'monastery dating back to 635 AD, despite this there in no substantial  evidence to support this. The Church was known as the St Mary the Virgin originally built by the Saxons  and was destroyed in 1080, it was burnt down in a fire during the Anglo-Saxon revolt. The Saxon doorway is the only remaining part of the church (3)

St.Mary's grave yard
St. Mary's graveyard
St. Mary  provided care to the local community, e.g; poor, sick and education to the community, which heavily relied on donations and parish levy. The local parish built a poorhouse in the 1600's, and used a side building to educate the local community, known as the Anchorage. It originally was secured cell that housed an Anchoress, teaching duties, this was authorised by the Bishop of Durham in 1340 and close in 1870 because the introduction of the new school system.(3). 
One of the Windows in the Centre
In the 16th century, became the seat of local government called four and twenty, which consisted of twenty four prominent community members. They governed issues of highway maintenance,  care of the poor and the parish ensured legislation was adhered to. Eventually, they had so much power and could appoint churchwardens, overseers, constables this mainly occurred at Easter. In 1658, Thomas Wald, a Puritan minister in order the council to remove him from office required to obtain an  Order of council form Oliver Cromwell. (3)

St Mary's Clock tower 
All marriages and burials were performed in St Mary's until 1825. In 1836 Gateshead's first Mayor, George Hawks meetings were held in the Anchorage until they moved elsewhere. (3).

Model of the St. Mary's

Image of the Rectors of St. Mary 


1.St Mary's Heritage Centre. (2014). St Mary's Heritage Centre. Available: Last accessed 18/10/2014

2.Wikipedia . (2014). Gateshead. Available: Last accessed 18/10/2014 

3. Hodgson, J. (2014). Background and History. Available: Last accessed 18/10/2014.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Interesting place in Newcastle and Gateshead: Black Friars

I love this place as it's a great hidden gem, hidden away behind the narrow cobbled streets of Newcastle and China town. I think this is one of the oldest remaining parts of Newcastle. I love the medieval buildings are still standing here, considering they were built over several centuries ago. It's a great place to sit on a summer afternoon to read or eat lunch There are some local craft shops, along with a medieval style restaurant catering traditional English cusine. My favourite  jewellery shop is found here, and I have bought some fantastic pieces from here.
The entrance the jewellery shop and restaurant

Front of apart jewellery shop 

Frontage for the restaurant 

Beautiful to sit in during the summer

The Black Friars are the only remaining friaries left in Newcastle, and at one point it was one of the largest in England. It opened in the early 13th century and closed in 1539 because of  Henry VIII's reformation. Black Friars order  was based on the Dominican Order, founded in Italy in 1216, and  in 1221, the first Dominican Friaries arrived in England. Black friars refers to a nickname about the monks wearing black large capes (cappa magna) over their white tunics.

An example of  a friar monk. Painting by Louis Bertrand (1526–1581),
portrait by Francisco de Zurbarán, 164
The friars were highly educated and excelled in preaching, they were a part of a movement, focusing on teaching and preaching. The Friars lived simply and had modest monasteries as they depended on local community charity.The aristocracy believed giving donations to the pious monks, ensured would get into heaven.
The Friary was built in 1239, on land donated from the pious sisters, unfortunately, that building was destroyed in 1248. The first Mayor of Newcastle, Sir Peter Scott and his son, Nicholas rebuilt the monastery in 1250. However, other Chapters of the Dominican order  criticised for the extravagance of the new building in turn the Prior was removed from his office.

There are records detailing not all the friars were so pious. For example. Adam de Alnwyk, was pardoned by Edward III, in 1345, for his part in the death of a young man named John de Denton. In 1390, Richard II, refused to bestow civic honors to the brotherhood for their lack of religious dedication and misconduct.

During its time the Priory received numerous of donations and royal visits. Records detail in 1334, Edward III met John Balliol, who'd recently been restored to the Scottish throne by the King of England. Balliol met the King in Black Friars to illustrate his fealty  to the king. Unfortunately, Balliol abdicated the Scottish throne due to his unstable reign  and ceded it to Edward III in exchange of a Pension.

Image of John Balliol

During the construction of the Newcastle city wall was built over the Friars land. In 1280, the friars were granted permission to build a gate for them to access their gardens.

Remains of the blocked gate the friars built
 Dissolution of the Black Friars monastery in 1539, the church was demolished and the stone was reused to build the first lighthouse in Tynemouth. The Mayor and Burgess of Newcastle were granted the Friary by Henry VIII. In 1552, the remaining buildings were separated into nine units and leased to local craftsman guilds, the buildings were used as headquarters for the guilds held a meeting four times year. They maintained the buildings by refurbishing, reconstruction and further building.

Front part of Black Friars.

These were the building used by the guilds
These were the building used by the guilds

The building on the ground floor were used as an almshouse for the poor, until 1951.During the 1960's the buildings were threatened by  demolition, fortunately, the historic buildings were saved by Alderman Peter Renwick, Mayor of Newcastle between 1963-64 . It was decided the buildings were to sole to be used as local businesses and craft to keep with the tradition. During the renovations, archaeological excavation reveals the ruins of the old cloister ruins.

The remains of the cloister 

The remains of the cloister 

The remains of the cloister 
In 1980, in the 900th anniversary of Newcastle being established. Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Mother, unrelieved a plaque signifying the restoration in 1981.

All information provided by Newcastle city council public display boards.

Interesting places in Newcastle and Gateshead- St Mary's Cathedral

Hi, at the moment I am going to start a series of posts of some interesting places in Newcastle and Gateshead. Today, I am going to start off with  St. Mary's Cathedral, 

I love this Cathedral as it has a very usual interior, which incorporates Victorian  medieval and Gothic revival  styles. It's stunning to sit in and appreciate the glorious décor. I found I was lost in time in its beauty, despite the mismatching color scheme and different use of materials, such as wood and tiles. The contrasting interior scheme magnanimously works in the celebration of God and the followers of the Catholic faith. Personally, I am not religious, but I took great delight in walking around and admiring the building.  

This the outside of St.Mary's
St Mary's Cathedral is the only Catholic Cathedral in Newcastle. It was built by the prominent Victorian Architect Augustus Welby Pugin, who is famous for designing the interior of the House of Parliament at Westminster. The Church was built in the early 1840's, . In Later years, the Dunn family contributed donations; that has paid for several stained glass windows and the steeple.

Augustus Welby Pugin 

Church interior 

Interior of the church 
Here is a more in depth history of the church, in 1838, the local Catholic population in Tyneside held a meeting about building a second church, for the expanding Catholics population. In 1842, Fr. James Worsick and Fr. Williams raised £6,500 from the poorest of The Tyneside immigrant community, who donated halfpennies. Augustus Welby Puginn (b.1821- d.1852) was commissioned to oversee the building work.  In 1844, Bishop William Riddel along with the parish priest, performed a Ponitfact High Mass to celebrate the new church's opening.
 After the reformation in the 16th Century, England and Wales Catholic churches were overseen by a temporary council of four Apostolic vicars  governed a lot of the country. In in 1850, the system of parishes and dioceses were reinstated. In 1850, the church was made into the Cathedral for the New Dioceses of Hexham and renamed the Diocese of Newcastle and Hexham in 1861.

In 2002/ 2003 there was extensive renovations this included building the new cloister, bookshop and cafe are  undertaken. The spires floor was lifted up, the Crypt was rediscovered. The Crypt was built in 1844 and was closed off in 1848; it contains the bodies of Bishop Ridell and Father William Fletcher, who died in chorea epidemic.  

It was composed of the clergy house, the public memorial garden dedicated Cardinal Basil Hume, the cloisters, the coffee shop.

                          The Cardinal Hume, public memorial Garden. 
  I loved the composition of the pigeons and white pigeon sitting on top the statue's 
head. I found this picture amusing.

The Cathedral is most noted for its:

The needle work Spire, was built by Donations from Elizabeth Dunn, to build the tower and the steeple, designed by Dunn and Hansen.

St Mary's spire

St. Mary's tower. 
Walls and floor tiles in the Gothic revival style

Gothic revival style
One of the plain window with the wall tiles.

Some of the wall tiles 

Floor tile next to the Sanctuary 

More beautiful floor tiles. 

The declaratory carved alter. 

The alter 
The monument in the sanctuary 

The stained glass windows were funded from bequeaths of the Dunn's family. In 1944, during a bombing raid to place on the city; resulting in the the stained glass windows being damaged and replaced.

Stained glass of local saints

Stained glass of local saints

This was one of my favorite stained glass window
The Assumption of Our Lady
One of the new stained glasses windows,
I loved this one as it represent Newcastle's history 
The fantastic organ and choir gallery,The Organ was installed in March 2013, by Keith Tickwell and Comapany; the pipes were carved by Keith German. The design accompanied Pugin's church deign. It sit in choir balcony found above the main entrance of the church.   
The organ and choir gallery . 

All the information was provided and researched by the St, Mary's Cathedral organisation 

Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...