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Photo-a-day 251: Schawk!

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This is the Gateshead office of Schawk!, a global brand development company. I only know that because their name is so arresting that I felt the need to take a photo of their building, so they clearly did a good job of branding themselves.

Right next door, there’s a bit of branding that I think is unique to the North East:

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Wadds is a local glazier. When businesses had their windows smashed, Wadds would (of course) temporarily board over the windows whilst manufacturing a replacement. Wadds would decorate these boards with a distinctive stencil saying “Wadds was here”. I don’t think they do it any more, but still, the “Wadds is here” sign on their HQ is a bit of an in-joke as well as a statement of fact!

And finally, just down the road there is a bit of branding to which I think the man from Del Monte would say “no”:

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Photo-a-day 250: Golden Angel

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Emily Young is a renowned carver of stone, who has created a number of “Angel” sculptures, now scattered across the globe, all of which show the faces of angels.

This particular angel – the Golden Angel – is in Maingate in the Team Valley. It’s much bigger than it appears in the photo above! It was hand-carved from a huge piece of Persian yellow travertine stone, and weighs seven tons (not including the plinth). It was installed in 2005.

This 1,799th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, .

Photo-a-day 237: Metrognomes

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Herbert, Sherbet, Maggot and Rusty, as well as Rusty’s pet Metroshoposaurus, make up the very popular Metrognomes. They come out at the Metrocentre during school holidays with free shows to entertain children, performed four times per day throughout the holidays – a brand new show for every holiday. It must surely be the job from hell for the actors by the end of the run, not to mention the workers in the shops nearby!

Despite the frequency if the performance, The Metrognomes always attract impressive crowds for each performance, which I guess is testament to their popularity. There’s also a website with a free-to-join online Metrognomes Kids Club, which entitles kids to a free wristband and Metrognomes comic. The Metrocentre also sells oodles of Metrognomes merchandise, including DVDs and cuddly toys.

Lots of shopping centres have characters and similar schemes that appeal to kids, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that’s quite as successful or comprehensive as this!

This 1,778th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 236: High Level Bridge

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This is one of the footpaths on the High Level Bridge linking Newcastle and Gateshead. The top deck of the High Level Bridge carries trains, whilst pedestrians and road traffic cross on the lower deck. It was opened by Queen Victoria herself, and if you’re wondering about the dates and designers, this plaque might help:

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The bridge was the world’s first major wrought iron tied-arch design, and spans 1,337 feet across six spans. During the Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead in 1854, it’s said that the bridge “vibrated like a thin wire”.

One has to wonder whether these not-so-good vibrations caused the first flaws in the ironwork that developed to severe cracks found when the bridge was due for restoration in 2005. These led to the bridge being closed for three years, and road traffic now being restricted to only taxis and buses in a single direction.

In the first year after it re-opened, though, some 32,000 drivers – my dad and brother included – ignored these restrictions. Perhaps, like dad and Glenn, all of them got lost and confused, ended up at the entrance to the bridge before they knew it, and were unable to turn round!

In response, Northumbria Police launched a crackdown, and fined over 1,000 drivers £30 in a few short weeks. Electronic registration number capturing monitoring equipment now automatically issues fines to anyone who breaks the rules.

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Photo-a-day 226: Metromorphosis

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The Metrocentre has an intriguing strategy for dealing with empty shop units: they’re spun as evidence of the centre’s constant refreshing, revising, and revitalising of its brand portfolio. To my mind, it’s an approach that beats the near ubiquitous Shopjacket and its clones, which seem a little tacky. I suppose, though, this approach can only work in places where units tend not to stay empty for long – and where the empty shops are relatively few and far between.

This 1,763rd post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 208: Kittiwake waste

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I’ve mentioned Newcastle’s quayside kittiwakes before – they’re very controversial because although ornithologists argue that their presence is valuable, they make a heck of a mess around the Tyne Bridge, on which they nest. The hanging sign outside this quayside bar provides a graphic demonstration of the unpleasant mess they liberally spread.

This 1,740th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .

Photo-a-day 187: Gateshead Millennium Bridge tilted

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I’ve featured the Millennium Bridge a few times: once with bollards, once during the removal of the bollards, and once without them. But today is the first time I’ve featured it tilted!

It cost £22m to build, and tilted for the first time in 2001. It’s so energy efficient that it costs just £3.60 in electricity to open. One thing that many people don’t realise is that the tilting of the bridge has a secondary function, beyond letting ships pass: it tips any litter dropped on the bridge into special traps, making the bridge uniquely self-tidying!

This 1,712th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .

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