Centuries of the old and the new
Blackfriars – Newcastle-upon-Tyne
On the wander on Saturday and stepped into Blackfriars to refresh my memory of some of the old building’s details and keep my brain working on the period model I like to work on – see theinfill for more info. It rained a lot, so this ‘piece’ comes to you from your soggy (and now sneezy) reporter on a day’s escape to the big city.
Parts of the buildings date back to the 1300s and was in almost continuous use, one way and another, which is unusual as most monastic buildings seem to have been left to fall into disrepair after the Reformation in the 1530s. These buildings, and I think there was quite a development of them by the 1500s, were rented by the various trades guilds in the city.
“In the year 1552, the mayor and burgesses demised this house of Black Friars, (fn. 6) with its appurtenances, of orchards, gardens, &c. to nine of the mysteries, or most ancient trades of the town, at the yearly rent of 42s.; a ninth part to be paid by each company, to the respective uses of which were portioned out the several apartments of the monastry, with the adjacent grounds. This grant has saved the monastry from destruction; and though it has undergone many alterations, yet it still retains a considerable share of its ancient monastic character, as will be noticed hereafter.”
The only parts left that are based on some elements of the original buildings are around the cloister area, the entrance being through a long, arched passageway.
What is left is a jumble of the centuries, with sections altered according to the then current need.
Currently it is a restaurant and studios and showroom/outlets for various crafts.
The Dominican Friary Church is now a patch of grass with bits of masonry still in evidence, but, circling round to the right, on the far side of the Church site there are modern buildings designed to echo some aspects of period architecture.
Not so sure the contrasts in the modern arcade do it for me – possibly over-egging the pudding. The pseudo Tudor chimney is pleasant but somehow doesn’t ‘go’ with the roof – is it the shallow angle, possibly?
The theme of staying in tune with what used to be around is carried out in other new building too. Outside the cloister on the site where the Tanners’ building once stood, a modern arcade has been erected, with pleasingly varied arch heights and brickwork.
All this is on the edge of China Town with one of the main shopping and entertainment areas just round the next corner.
The mix and match and huge variety of history, people and place, brought back how much I do miss the city sometimes.
Further elated article
- St. Dominic and the Friars Preachers (insightscoop.typepad.com)