Side Gallery
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Side Gallery

Art In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear

Small photographic gallery on Newcastle's Quayside.

The Side Gallery is a photographic gallery on Newcastle Quayside, but blink and you'll miss the entrance. You'll spot it as you head down to the Quayside - it's on the right hand side of the road up a narrow alleyway known as Battery Stairs.

The Battery Stairs themselves are named after a building in the Castle Garth known as the Half Moon Battery. In a former life the battery was a defensive tower, but during the English Civil War it was redeveloped and later turned into tenement buildings. The Battery Stairs at Side lead to the site of the former battery.

The gallery is a small and quirky building with three floors of gallery space, which was previously a warehouse. There are still some nods to it's past, with wooden beams and cast iron pillars on show around the building.

The gallery once had a memorable and uneven staircase which added to it's charm, however, in 2015 the gallery was awarded £1.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to redevelop the building. The staircase was very understandably replaced with a bespoke steel staircase and other additions were made including a lift to all three floors and a solid oak floor was fitted.

The Amber Collective was formed in 1968 and they opened the Side Gallery in 1977. It was, and still is dedicated to amazing documentary photography from local and international photographers. The number of photographers who have had their work displayed here is vast, but some names you may know include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee and Martin Parr. (Shout out to the fantastic Peter Fryer too, who was a photography lecturer at Sunderland University in the early 2000s)

The aim of the Amber Collective who opened the gallery was to capture working class life in the North East of England and as well as being prolific photographers, they have produced a number of films. The films have been shown in the 51 seater Side Cinema which is just opposite the gallery, however, the cinema has been closed for a while for redevelopment. Best to check their website first if you are planning a visit Amber Online

As well as the gallery and cinema there is also a small library and shop to peruse selling books and postcards. The Side Gallery is free, but donations are welcome. Check the link above for opening times.

The exhibitions change regularly and the current one is Classic Street Style featuring work from Robert Doisneau, Jimmy Forsyth and Weegee. It runs until October 9th 2022.

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How To Find Side Gallery

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54.969208, -1.60816

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54.968211, 54.968211

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Parking is available on the Quayside behind the Guildhall. NE1 3RG

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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Sandra Clemens

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