River God Tyne

Statue Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

River God Tyne

Statue In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear

A bronze sculpture of the River God Tyne found on the side of the Civic Centre building.

The River God Tyne can be found on the side of the Civic Centre, Newcastle. Newcastle City Council commissioned the sculpture and David Wynne completed it in 1968. It is cast from bronze and was originally a darker colour, though the running water has now turned the sculpture green and brown. Originally a stream of water was supposed to trickle downwards from his raised right arm, but that has seemingly been stopped. With a height of 4.8m and a weight of 2880kg, the sculpture was said to be the largest bronze figure in the UK at the time of installation.

He is not the first representation of the Tyne as a River God. When Somerset House in London was rebuilt in 1786, nine 'masks' were placed along the Strand front. Sir William Chamber designed them to represent the Sea and eight English rivers. One of these was the Tyne, and the mask featured mining motifs which link to the north-east being a powerhouse for coal mining at the time. The importance of the Tyne to the coal industry explains its inclusion on Somerset House. At the time, Somerset House contained the tax office, stamp office, and many more public offices.

The mining associations are missing from the 1960s sculpture on the Civic Centre. Instead, it draws more clearly from the wilder, more mythical history of the region.

The River God Tyne sculpture oddly hides the face, the sculptor covering it with the hair that falls forward around his head. David Wynne felt that his twisting pose should contrast with the modern architecture of the Civic Centre. 

The Romans believed that all rivers were home to a deity that blessed the local community and they had altars to Neptune and Oceanus on the bridge connecting their Pons Aelius (the Roman name for Newcastle) settlement with the south.

The Romans called such deities a genius loci, or protective spirit of a place. The Romans of the Western Empire dedicated many altars to specific genii loci. In some places, these genii loci even received sacrifices. Over the centuries, the meaning of the word changed. Alexander Pope even introduced the concept of the genius loci into landscape design. Some now consider it to be the atmosphere of a place, rather than a specific spirit.

  Add To Bucket List   I Have Visited This Place

Get 1 point if you have visited this place. Already visited by 37 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.

Where Is River God Tyne

Where Is It?

What three words

Lat / Long
54.979045, -1.611636
Show Place On Google Maps

Leave the car park and walk around the Civic Centre to the Barras Bridge side of the building where the sculpture can be found on the south side of the rotunda that projects over the pond.

Where To Park?

What three words

Lat / Long
54.979531, -1.610508

Show Parking On Google Maps

Parking can be found nearby at the rear of the Civic Centre and in multiple other places in the city centre.

Andrew Gardner

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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.
Newcastle Cathedral
Religious Place Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Cathedral of Newcastle upon Tyne, originally built in 1091.

The Laing Art Gallery
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

A free art gallery in the centre of Newcastle housing works by Henry Moore, Thomas Bewick, Norman Cornish, Richard Hamilton and Charles Napier Hemy among others.

Cathedral Church of St Mary
Religious Place Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

The Grade I listed Cathedral Church of St Mary, Newcastle's Catholic and first Cathedral.

More Statues

So this statue wasn't enough and you want more? Don't worry we have you covered.
Angel Of The North
Statue Gateshead Tyne And Wear

A contemporary sculpture of a metal angel designed by Antony Gormley.

Eleven O One
Statue Seaham County Durham

A statue of a British infantryman commemorating the end of World War 1.

EM Perkins Monument
Statue Birtley, Co Durham County Durham

Statue dedicated to EM Perkins whose company supplied materials for the High Level Bridge in Newcastle.

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.

Share this Place!