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!

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54.974086, -1.613984

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54.976, 54.976

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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.

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Rosalind Parker

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Parsons’ Polygon was listed in Art // Tyne And Wear // Newcastle City Centre