The tower shown provides the north end support of the Tyne Bridge, and lying below the adjacent main road level more or less qualifies as a SubBrit site, even though it is at the same time above the level of Quayside, an older road running beside the River Tyne. Similarities with the Sydney Harbour bridge are not accidental as that had also been designed by Structural Engineers Mott, Hay & Anderson a couple of years before their Tyneside commission.
A locked door in the granite tower leads to a short dark staircase, and thence to the lowest level of a very tall square room. When the bridge had been built in the 1920’s (it was opened in 1928 by King George V, who christened the bridge by making its first official crossing in an Ascot Landau carriage), warehousing was still in demand along the river side and so the granite tower interior was built in such a way that four additional upper floors of storage space could be created in extremely short order. They were never needed however and all that survives today is the skeletal steel framework.
The stair tower continues up to the topmost level of the warehouse where an airy gangway runs round above the warehouse on the highest level of steelwork, these days mostly frequented by pigeons. Access to the high level roadway is also possible at this level while an adjacent defunct lift car has been turned into a store room. A steep access stair leads from here up the plant room at the top of the tower.
Visit by kind permission of Newcastle City Council