Gateshead is not in Newcastle
A group of us chose Dr Stephen’s Crossley‘ walk today. It was really lovely. He pitched it just right and having spent all morning indoors, it was a welcome relief.
He made it clear that the Baltic is in Gateshead and that what we see from there, across the Tyne, is Newcastle (with the palm trees!).
He was keen to show us the beauty of Newcastle, but also ran a dark commentary alongside this.
He reminded us that those – like Virgin – who sponsor some of Newcastle’s wonderful regeneration and who celebrate its heritage, are also those businesses who fuel social injustice by dodging their taxes or funding the arms industry. They make private profit from government funds to regenerate working class city areas for tourism, not for altruism towards the local community. In fact, Newcastle hosts one of the largest foodbanks in the country, but it is well-hidden from the paved plazas adorned with cafes and restaurants. Several homeless people paved our walk today.
There are 9 bridges crossing the Tyne, including the Swing Bridge (which it does), the Tyne Bridge (which it is) and the Millenium Bridge (which it was).
And under the vaults of the majestic Tyne Bridge, there is a resident colony of Kittiwakes, who smear the sandy stonework with their white Pollock-esque droppings. But they are part of a local heritage that no amount of complaining from nearby business owners has, so far, managed to dismantle!
ps Stephen was also keen to point out at least 4 Greggs on our walk, proving that no amount of Jamie Oliver or Carluccio gentrification can threaten Newcastle’s identity.