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This post was filed under: Photos, Travel.

‘Racing Ahead’

When I lived in Stockton, this life-sized sculpture by Irene Brown stood outside M&S. The sculpture was removed in 2013, when the High Street was being spruced up. M&S closed in 2018.

The sculpture isn’t really my sort of thing, but it is enormously popular with Stocktonites. There was great fanfare when the refurbished sculpture was repositioned outside the library in 2016, and where I took this photo yesterday.

This post was filed under: Art, Photos, , .

What becomes of the banks departed?

Two years ago, I reflected on the post-lockdown closures of my local high street branches of Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Nationwide.

Since then, Gosforth High Street has also lost branches of HSBC, Halifax and Virgin Money. The last branches standing are those of Lloyds and the Newcastle Building Society.

And so, you might wonder: what becomes of the banks departed? Let’s work our way northwards.

At number 59, Barclays remains empty, still with its previously-hidden Martin’s Bank sign on show. The premises have recently been sold:

At 117, Nationwide—whose adverts tell us that face-to-face banking matters—is now an upmarket cafe and soft play venue:

At 129-131, Santander is now banking on flame grilled chicken:

At 149-151, NatWest have left their exterior in a right state:

Within Gosforth Shopping Centre, Virgin Money is now mostly advertising an ‘urban park market’, which sounds like something you’d come across at CenterParcs:

At 178-180, Halifax is yet to find another function:

At 189-191, HSBC remains vacant:

Shall we check again in another couple of years?

This post was filed under: Photos, , .

Belsay Hall

In 2009, I completed a geriatrics rotation, during which I helped with clinics on the Belsay Day Unit at what was then the Newcastle General Hospital.

It’s only taken 15 years to get around to visiting Belsay itself—and specifically, Belsay Hall.

Built a couple of hundred years ago, and recently restored, it was an unusual and rather interesting experience to visit an old hall which hasn’t been stuffed full of period furniture; it feels more like its decay has been arrested, rather than like it has been restored to a version of its former glory.

The handmade wallpaper may be peeling from the walls in places, but it felt like a hall with real character. The Grade I listed quarry gardens were also spectacular.

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What a combo!

This post was filed under: Photos, Travel, .

More Morpeth

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See the sea at Seaham

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Holy socks

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Souter Lighthouse

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