Tower In Tynemouth, Tyne And Wear
A Grade II listed Clock Tower and Drinking Fountain in the Venetian Gothic Style.
When you think of Tynemouth you usually think of some of its more well known points of interest like Tynemouth Priory, the fish and chip shop where Jimi Hendrix once had a chippy tea in 1967 or the locations used as a backdrop to the TV series Supergran, but it also has some less well known gems.
One of these is the clock tower and drinking fountain that sits at the eastern end of Front Street near to the Gibraltar Rock pub (the earliest recorded Inn in Tynemouth). It was paid for by a William Scott from London and is named after him, though most people just know it as Tynemouth Clock Tower. Constructed in 1861, it was designed by Oliver and Lamb Architects and created in the Venetian Gothic style. This style is particular to Venice, think the Doges Palace, and has Byzantine and Islamic influences reflecting the city's position as a trading port, so you can see why the style works for Tynemouth.
It is a tall square tower, of brick and stone construction with a pyramidal lead roof and an 8 panelled door on its east side. Low brick pilasters support some brick arches over the granite bowls of the drinking fountains, while the clock faces sit on all four sides under the roof. It is an incredibly ornate piece of architecture, but this helps to illustrate the wealth the area had during its heyday.
An article published on the 21st December 1861 had the following to say about it;
“The village of Tynemouth, in the county of Northumberland, can boast, through the munificence of Mr. William Scott, of London, of one of the handsomest clock towers and drinking fountains in the provinces. The tower, which is a beautiful specimen of the Venetian Gothic style of architecture, was erected from the designs of Messer's. Oliver and Lamb, architects, Newcastle upon Tyne, selected in competition as the best out of twenty designs, many of them of more than ordinary merit. The structure is erected at the east end of Front Street and combines a clock tower, fountains, marine barometer and thermometer. Mr.Beall, sculptor of Newcastle, executed the carving on the fountain. Mr. Lawson was the contractor for the excellence of the work throughout.”
Its location at the heart of Tynemouth mean it is ideally placed for a visit to Tynemouth Priory followed by a pint in the "Stuffed Dog" and a carvery at the Gibraltar Rock.
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Head north out of the car park and walk back up Pier Street towards Front Street. The clock tower sits at the junction of Front Street and Pier Road.
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While there is parking nearby on Tynemouth Front Street, this is usually very busy and sometimes it is hard to find a space. The best place to park will be at Tynemouth Shore Car Park at the end of Pier Road
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.
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