Statue In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear
A life sized bronze sculpture in memory of Lord Armstrong on Barras Bridge outside the Hancock Museum.
The Armstrong Memorial is a sandstone and bronze sculpture set outside the Hancock Museum dedicated to one of Newcastle's most famous sons, Lord William Armstrong. Armstrong was born in in Shieldfield in 1810, the son of a corn merchant, and was the inventor of the hydraulic crane and the Armstrong Gun. He built Cragside, the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, restored Bamburgh Castle and founded the Elswick Works, which was one of the biggest employers in the country. His influence was felt in places as far away as Russia, Japan and Chile.
The memorial comprises two curved sandstone steps that lead to a tall, square pedestal upon which the life-size figure of Lord Armstrong stands, cast from bronze.
There are two screen walls which are inset with low reliefs in bronze showing the lowering of guns from the Armstrong Works onto a ship on one panel and the Swing Bridge on the other, which was designed and paid for by Lord Armstrong.
Armstrong never forgot the people of Newcastle and through his generosity established many institutions, including the College of Science (now Newcastle University), the Hancock Museum (now the Great North Museum), and the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI). He was President of Literary and Philosophical Society from 1860 to 1900 and was a Fellow of the Royal Society.
He also gave Jesmond Dene and Armstrong Bridge to the city. The development of his works from four buildings making hydraulic machinery to a 230 acre site producing steel, ships, munitions and hydraulic equipment with a workforce of over 20,000 was the pre-eminent industrial achievement of Victorian Tyneside. Armstrong's own status and influence grew in parallel. Following the invention of the Armstrong Gun he was made engineer to the War Department and given the honour of a knighthood.
On his death, on 27 December 1900, aged 90, his obituary in The Times stated: 'With his death Newcastle loses her greatest citizen and the country at large one of the worthies of the expiring century.'
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Turn left out of the Claremont Road car park and head down Claremont Road between the buildings of Newcastle University. The Hancock Museum is on the left after you pass under Claremont Bridge. The statue can be found at the junction of Claremont Road and Great North Road at Barras Bridge.
Place contributed by Andrew Gardner
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