Published on 20 April 2018
From footballing heroes to historical monuments, next time you are in Newcastle city centre, take a long, hard look around.
Because, according to one University of Sunderland academic, everywhere you turn you are drowned out by men.
Historical men, businessmen, sportsmen, men who changed the world - and good, old, Geordie men.
Dr Alex Lockwood, a journalism lecturer at the University, has created a unique podcast walking tour of the city revealing just how macho-saturated the ‘Toon’ is.
Dr Lockwood said: “We might not think the city is a ‘gendered’ space, but when you look a bit more closely, nearly all the buildings and streets are named after men, or celebrate male achievement, right down to the shop names.
“From Lloyds Bank to Greggs to Dr Marten’s. And of course we’re keeping that going now with the new Stephenson Quarter.”
As part of the podcast, Dr Lockwood spoke to a range of experts and writers.
He added: “Men are beginning to think of themselves differently—which is only a good thing, because we all know suicide is a massive killer of men under 45, because we’ve been told as men that we shouldn’t show our feelings.
“So you might think: what has masculinity got to do with climate change? But it is men’s ambitions and achievements that drove the industrial revolution, which started here, with Stephenson’s Rocket and the mining industry.
“As men, we’re more often the company directors, the inventors, the miners and the drillers. This podcast and walk is all about asking men, in particular, to just stop and think for a while about what our roles in society really mean, and if we can just change a little bit to help guarantee a safer future.”
The starting point for Dr Lockwood’s Tyneside walk is beside perhaps the city’s most famous son – Alan Shearer.
So let’s take a tour of the ‘Toon’ and we can see for ourselves just how masculine the city really is.
1) Alan Shearer statue. Barrack Road.
10ft high and made from brass, Shearer is depicted in his famous goal scoring celebration, right hand held aloft.
A hero to tens of thousands of young Tyneside men, he embodies what many young men in the city aspire to be.
2) Jackie Milburn statue. St James’ Park.
Wor Jackie can be found just yards from the Gallowgate end of the football ground.
Depicted, getting ready to hit the back of the net, the bronze statue of the goalscoring great was paid for by the people of Newcastle.
Milburn scored 200 goals for the Magpies between 1946 and 1957 and is regarded as the club’s greatest ever number 9.
3) Grey’s Monument. Top of Grey Street.
Standing 130ft high, the famous Grade I listed monument to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, was built in 1838 and dominates the city skyline. For many it is the focal point of Newcastle, the meeting place for thousands every day.
And as you take a 360 degrees walk around the Monument, what do you see?
- The Charles Greys pub – named after the 2nd Earl Grey
- Lloyds Bank - founded by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd.
- Carluccios restaurant – founded by Italian chef Antonio Carluccio
- Greggs - founded by John Gregg
- Dr Martens – founded by Klaus Martens and Herbert Funck
- Waterstones – founded by Tim Waterstone
- Jamie’s Italian – founded by Jamie Oliver
- Reiss – founded in 1971 by David Reiss
- Hugo Boss – founded in 1924 by Hugo Boss
- Jack Wills – founded in 1999 by Peter Williams and Robert Shaw
- Michael Kors – founded by Michael David Kors
- Fenwick – founded 1882 by John James Fenwick
4) José Maria de Eça de Queiroz plaque – Grey Street.
The Portuguese writer is generally considered to have been the greatest in the realist style.
5) William Armstrong plaque – High Bridge
Visionary inventor, engineer, scientist and businessman, Armstrong built Newcastle's Swing Bridge and the hydraulic mechanism that operates London's Tower Bridge.
6) Duke of Wellington pub – High Bridge
Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain
7) Former gents toilets – Bigg Market
Men-only latrines that could soon be transformed into a wine bar.
8) Statue of Queen Victoria – Collingwood Street
Finally, a monument to a woman.
However, Dr Lockwood notes she is in fact depicted in mourning for her husband, Albert.
9) Collingwood Street/Westgate Road/Neville Street and surrounding area
- The Mining Institute - dedicated to the professions of mining engineering, mechanical engineering, mining electrical engineering and related jobs.
- Cardinal Basil Hume statue – the monument stands at the rear of St. Mary's Cathedral, facing the railway station
- George Stephenson monument – dedicated to the eminent engineer and located on the junction of Westgate Road and Neville Street.
10) New Stephenson Quarter development
Talking about the development, Dr Lockwood says: “Although it’s natural to think of celebrating our historical achievements such as Stephenson’s Rocket, it really is time to think a bit harder about how we develop the city.
“For the sake of our children’s future and our fragile environment, we have to stop looking to the past and instead think about a more sustainable and equal future. Ending the practice of naming everything after dead men is one way to do that.”
11) Sochi mural in Scotswood Road
Artist Chris Fleming attracted a lot of attention for painting a mural in protest against Russia’s laws banning the publication and distribution of gay rights propaganda. The law has led to a dramatic increase in homophobic violence.
12) High Level Bridge
Designed by Robert Stephenson and considered the most notable historical engineering work in the city. It was built from 5,050 tonnes of iron.
13) Thomas Bewick House. West Street. Gateshead.
One of the most influential artists and wood-engravers to work in the North of England, Bewick lived between 11 August 1753 and 8 November 1828.
The podcast was commissioned as part of a new programme of events from The Newbridge Project arts agency, based in Newcastle and Gateshead. For more information, visit: https://thenewbridgeproject.com/events/deep-adaptation/