Parsons’ Polygon
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Parsons’ Polygon In Newcastle City Centre

Art In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear

Relief sculpture around a metro ventilation shaft.

I read that the North East has 'one of the highest concentrations of recent art in England', so it is no surprise when out shopping you can literally bump into some modern creative expressions in an urban setting. Outside Fenwick's, on Blackett Street, Newcastle is a fine example of art meeting practicality and a history lesson.

This terracotta Tardis-looking construction is actually a shrouding for a ventilation shaft from the metro underground railway that runs beneath. It is called Parsons' Polygon and is by the ceramic artist David Hamilton (born 1940 in Leeds). He is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Member of the Royal Watercolour Society.

Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (TWPTE, now known as Nexus) commissioned from 1982 more than 40 pieces of public art to brighten up people's journey.

This is the only bit of art above ground and the first to have the Grade II listed badge.

The terracotta tiles that clad this hexagonal shaft look like engineering bricks and have that rough textured feel and look. They are made from the same clay used for the Eldon Square shopping Centre bricks.

Parson's Polygon is a tribute to Sir Charles Parsons (1854-1931) who invented the modern steam turbine. Usually steam moved pistons up and down, but his method drove steam through propellors. This in turn revolutionised the generation of electricity. See Newcastle through the Ages for details of his steamship Turbina.

His steam turbine converted power into motion in the most efficient and straightforward way. He was extraordinary as he earned over 300 patents, was knighted and received the Order Of Merit.

Mr Parsons' engineering drawings were the inspiration for the designs on the tiles which are abstract. The two designs used are repeated three times around this relief sculpture.

It was unveiled in 1985 when the work was completed.

Why not let off some steam when next in Toon!

  Add To Bucket List   I Have Visited This Place

Get 1 point if you have visited this place. Already visited by 75 VIPs.

Login to the VIP area to add places to your bucket list, mark them as visited and more importantly see where you rank on the league table.

How To Find Parsons’ Polygon

Where Is Parsons’ Polygon?

Show Place On Google Maps

Lat / Long

54.974086, -1.613984

What three words


Where To Park For Parsons’ Polygon?

Show Parking On Google Maps

Lat / Long

54.976, 54.976

What three words


The choice is yours, as it is unlikely you will be going into Toon just to visit this. I can suggest Eldon Square and make your way through the shopping centre towards The Greys monument where you should see Fenwicks on Blackett Street and Parsons Polygon outside.

Contributed by Rosalind Parker

Thanks for reading through and getting to the end of this post. I enjoy exploring the Fabulous North (Especially as a Southerner residing up North). I like 'snippets' of information, and more so, if they are obscure, amusing or meaningful. The photographs are taken on a mobile phone, without any enhancements.

More Places from Rosalind
Rosalind Parker

More Places In Newcastle City Centre

Find more fabulous places in Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear and if you know of a place we haven't listed, then let us know.

Man with Potential Selves
Man with Potential Selves
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Three statues sowing the different aspects of a working man of Newcastle.

The Mining Institute
The Mining Institute
Building Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers or as it is more commonly known, “The Mining Institute” is one of the finest buildings in Newcastle. It is a Victorian building built at the time when high-Gothic architecture was coming into fashion.

Side Gallery
Side Gallery
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Small photographic gallery on Newcastle's Quayside.

More Arts

So this art wasn't enough and you want more? Don't worry we have you covered.

Art Middlesbrough North Yorkshire

Art installation near Middlesbrough football ground.

Killingworth Hippos
Killingworth Hippos
Art Killingworth Tyne And Wear

A family of four concrete hippos on a housing estate in Killingworth.

Stonehaugh Totem Poles
Stonehaugh Totem Poles
Art Stonehaugh Northumberland

Totem poles have stood in the village of Stonehaugh since 1971 and these three are the latest carvings.

Never Miss A Fabulous Place

If you are afraid of missing out on all the fabulous places we post, or just want to be the first to know, then sign up to the Fabulous North.

Each week we will email you all the brand new places that we visit.

Sign Up To Alerts
Sign up to newsletter
Fabulous North On Facebook

Find Us On Facebook

We post all our new places daily on our Facebook Groups page, so join the group today and be notified when we add a new place.

Join Our Facebook Group