Statue In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear
Monument dedicated to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey built in 1838.
In Newcastle upon Tyne there are a number of iconic monuments and buildings. Possibly the thing on top of most people's lists along with the Tyne Bridge or St James Park, would be Grey's Monument. It has become a central place to meet friends and a spot that has seen many marches, demonstrations and buskers pass by it.
The monument is grade I listed and was built in 1838 to celebrate the life of Charles Grey, Second Earl Grey (1764-1845), who passed the Great Reform Act of 1832, changing the nation's unfair electoral system.
As well as his notable political career, Earl Grey also had a tea named after him. There are a number of stories around why this happened, but according to the Grey family, the tea was especially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey to suit the water at Howick Hall.
The column is 40 metres high and was designed by local architects John and Benjamin Green who were also responsible for the theatre Royal. The statue on top of the column was designed by sculptor Edward Hodges Baily, creator of Nelson's statue in London.
In 1941 the head of Earl Grey was struck by lightning, causing it to set on fire and fall on a passing tram on the street below. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident. A replacement head was made by Roger Hedley (appropriate name!) and put in place in 1947.
A few years back I took a trip to the top of the monument. There are 164 steps to climb up a narrow, dark staircase inside the column, but it doesn't take long to reach the top. You can see for miles on a sunny day, and you get some fab views of the streets below too.
There are two more dates scheduled for tours in 2022: Saturday 6th August and Saturday 3rd September. Tickets go on sale via the Newcastle Gateshead website and cost £5 each. The tickets go on sale 2-3 weeks before the event, so keep checking their website for details.
Thanks to Valerie Brogdon for additional photos from the top of the monument.
Place contributed by Sandra Clemens
I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.
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