Civic Centre

Newcastle Civic Centre is a local government building located in the Haymarket area of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is the main administrative and ceremonial centre for Newcastle City Council. Designed by the city architect, George Kenyon, the building was completed in 1967 and was formally opened by HM King Olav V of Norway on 14 November 1968. It is a Grade II* listed building. The Newcastle Civic Centre is the joint eighth tallest building in the city, and stands a total of 200 feet (61 m) tall.

Plans to build a new city hall on the site at Barras Bridge had been proposed prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, to the point of holding an architectural competition, although these were halted by the war; and due to post-war restrictions on capital expenditure, it was not until August 1956 that authorisation to begin construction was granted. During the interim period, the demolition of houses and a former Eye Hospital on the intended site was implemented. The building was designed by the city architect, George Kenyon.

The construction work, which was undertaken by Sir Robert McAlpine, commenced on the building in May 1960, and the foundation stone was laid by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Mrs Gladys Robson, on 30 November 1960. The building was completed in 1967 and was formally opened by HM King Olav V of Norway on 14 November 1968. The total construction cost was £4,855,000. Newcastle's Victorian Town Hall which stood in St Nicholas Square (between the Bigg Market and the Cloth Market) was demolished in 1973.

On 6 May 1977, the Civic Centre was visited by the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, who delivered a speech famously containing the Geordie phrase "Howay the lads!" A stone commemorating the event was placed in the Centre grounds.

The council leader's office was used as a filming location by a Japanese production team in 2014 for a drama set in 1960s Tokyo.

Sculpture and art works
The Civic Centre is also notable for its modern sculptures, in particular the "River God Tyne" and "Swans in Flight", both by David Wynne and the seahorses on the top of the tower by John Robert Murray McCheyne. The cashiers reception of the former rates hall, now the Customer Service Centre, has two abstract murals by Victor Pasmore.

Description courtesy of Wikipedia.

8th March 2023

23rd February 2023

7th December 2022

Bergen Christmas Tree.
For more than 70 years, Newcastle has been gifted a Christmas tree by the city of Bergen in Norway to symbolise its gratitude for the Newcastle's support and friendship during the Second World War.

6th April 2022

Jimmy Carter Stone.
The stone commemorates the visit of U.S. President Jimmy Carter to the city in 1977. The inscription on the stone reads: "To commemorate the visit of JIMMY CARTER 39th President of the United States of America, 6th MAY 1977".

13th October 2021

New Public Entrance.
Renovation has seen some previously empty space reclaimed as the new public entrance.

Old public entrance on Sandyford Road.

Commemorative stone.
Commemorative stone marking the visit of U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

Spanish Civil War Plaque.
A run-down plaque marking the North East's contribution to the Spanish Civil War.

Swans In Flight by David Wynne.

A bronze statue commissioned for the then new Civic Centre. It is based on Hans Hartvig Seedorff Pederson's 'The Swans from the North', a Scandinavian poetic work - the five swans representing the five Scandinavian countries which were created as independent states (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Finland). The sculpture of the swans stands over a rectangular pond in the Civic Centre quadrangle, sprayed by a fountain. A copy of the sculpture stands at the Ambassador College, Big Sandy, Texas.

Grade 2 listed. Source: Sitelines

Commemorative Plaque.
Commemorative plaque marking the laying of the first stone in 1960.

9th June 2019

Undergoing renovation.

18th January 2018

24th February 2016

River God Tyne.

A bronze statue commissioned for the new Civic Centre. The 'River God Tyne' is one of eight rivers represented as sculptures of 1786 on the front of Somerset House in London. The original mask was surmounted by a basket of coals surrounded by motifs symbolising the Tyne valley. Wynne's sculpture portrays the river God in human form. He has a fountain within his outstretched hand coursing a constant flow of water across his torso. Originally patinated a dark black colour, the figure has slowly turned green and brown by the running water.

Listed Grade 2. Source: Sitelines.

23rd February 2013

9th January 2012

24th December 2010

25th November 2010

29th March 2009

22nd February 2009

2nd February 2009

16th January 2009

12th September 2008

9th July 2008

16th February 2008

Edith Adamson Carillon.

The Edith Adamson Carillon in the Civic Centre tower was donated to the City in 1967. The carillon weighs 22 tons and consists of 24 bronze bells, which are played from a key and foot console. Wires link the hand and foot keys of the console to the bell clappers. It is a rare instrument.

Source: Sitelines.

14th January 2006

11th December 2005

29th October 2005

21st August 2005

U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits Newcastle in 1977.

More information:
See my other photos around Civic Centre:


Anonymous said...

hey just a message to tell you how amazing ur pics are of the toon, i am studying away from home in Edinburgh and didnt realise how much i miss my home town till i looked at ur pics they just portray the culture/vibe newcastle has can't beat it!!!

Newcastle Photos said...

Hello and thanks for your compliment on the photos that I take.
I only use a cheap digital camera so the results are not always so good but I reckon that it's hard to take a bad photo of almost anything in our beautiful city. One day I will buy a real camera but the price is beyond me for now!
Make sure you check back for updates in the coming months as the weather improves the amount of pages will increase dramatically.

Also if you want more check out the sidebar as there is plenty of links to local photographers and collections for you to click.

ChrisM said...

Very impressed with your photos, especially as they're taken on a bog standard digicam.

I've never had a tour of the Civic Centre, but did manage a trip up the tower to see the seahorses and the bells!

Newcastle Photos said...

Thanks :).

Just looking through this years Heritage Days brochure and it seems that the tour I did of the Civic last year is not available this year.

The only thing on offer in this years events is "Newcastle Civic Centre Banqueting Suite" which was a very small part of last years tour. Although we never went up the tower!

Unknown said...

hello, your photos espesh cherry knowles are amazing, i'm so so sad I won't be able to get in for photographic purposes :(