Colin, dog and I have come to spend a week in Northumberland to walk the Hadrian’s Wall path. We took the Metro to Wallsend where the path begins and the first day’s walking followed the Tyne into the centre of Newcastle. We passed a sign pointing towards Rome, 1,110 miles away, the footings which are all that is left of a Roman bath house, and warnings not to step onto the river bank as it is still polluted from the industrial waste which made the Victorian industrialists of Newcastle rich.
As we looked across the Tyne we could see the old flour mill which is now the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, then to our right upstream, the seven bridges crossing the Tyne appeared, one by one, beginning with the newest, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge which tilts and looks like a large blinking eye, then farther along the bank, the Tyne bridge which is home to a large group of kittiwakes, the furthest inland nesting colony in the world, and what a mess they make! We watched the birds fly around and perch on the nests which they have built on the metal struts of the bridge.
There were a couple of empty benches nearby and we turned to sit on them. I noticed that they had been made to mark the hundredth anniversary of World War I. I photographed them because it reminded me of our EAST “Between the Lines” project. Shown on the back rest of the bench the iconic figures of soldiers rendered in black metal, barbed wire and bright red poppies. Under each arm rest are black helmets and a dedication.
Another memorable piece of public art!