Newcastle Upon Tyne is rich in interesting history and culture, which is depicted through a range of famous Newcastle monuments and statues around the city.
Since it was founded by the Romans, Newcastle has undergone a major transformation. From its significance as a working-class mining city to its major ship-building industry during the Industrial Revolution, Newcastle is one of the most fascinating cities in the UK.
There are so many cool landmarks in Newcastle, but here are 10 of the best statues and monuments to visit.
The Most Famous Newcastle Statues
The Angel Of The North
One of the most recognizable Newcastle monuments is undoubtedly the Angel of the North. Despite being synonymous with Newcastle, this statue actually stands just outside the city, on the outskirts of Gateshead.
A relatively recent addition to the North East, the Angel of the North was only constructed in 1998. The statue stands on a former coal mine site and serves as a memory to the coal miners, plus a symbol of the move from the industrial age to the information age.
It’s the biggest angel statue in the world, with a wingspan of 54 meters and a height of 20 meters. This vast statue can be seen from the East Coast Main Line railway and the A1 motorway. It’s made of steel and has a unique intentionally rusty appearance.
Monuments In Newcastle: War Memorials
The South African War Memorial
There are several war memorial monuments in Newcastle. The oldest and biggest is the South African War Memorial, which was built outside the Haymarket in 1908. The memorial commemorates the 370 soldiers from the county of Northumbria, who died in the South African War between 1899 and 1902.
The 24-meter-tall bronze statue depicts Nike, the winged Greek goddess of victory. In a nod to the region, she faces North-East. A plaque on the memorial lists the names of the 370 soldiers from Northumberland and Durham Imperial Yeomanry.
The Response 1914 Renwick War Memorial
The Response 1914 Renwick War Memorial is one of the most detailed Newcastle statues and was unveiled in 1923. It stands outside the Church of St Thomas the Martyr and is officially dedicated to the Northumberland Fusiliers who died fighting in World War I.
It depicts the Fusiliers waving goodbye to their loved ones as they set off to war. Every year on Remembrance Sunday, poppies are laid at the foot of the statue in memory of the fallen soldiers. St George is depicted on the back of the statue.
This vast statue is 14-meters-wide and eight meters tall. The Grade I listed memorial is constructed from Portland stone, granite, and bronze.
Religious And Cultural Monuments In Newcastle
The Chinese Arch
Newcastle has a notable Chinese community, and its Chinatown area on the West side is a must-visit when you’re in the city. One of the most iconic Newcastle Statues in Chinatown is the Chinese Arch, on St Andrew’s Street.
It was built by Shanghainese builders in 2004 and stands at 11-meters-tall. The beautiful arch is an architectural gem in the city’s skyline, constructed in stone and wood, and decorated with ornate paintings and intricate mosaic tiles.
On either side of the arch are traditional stone Chinese guardian lions, to protect the people of Newcastle and bring them good luck.
River God Tyne
The River God Tyne statue climbs the side of the Newcastle Civic Center. It was unveiled in 1968 and is 4.8-meters-tall. A notable feature of this bronze statue is the water that once trickled down the River God’s arm and corroded the metal, turning the statue green.
Newcastle was developed from a Roman settlement and in Roman times, it was believed that every river had a god, or spirit, who protected the local area. The River Tyne is a large river running through Newcastle, hence the name River God Tyne.
Wesley Memorial Fountain
The Wesley Memorial Fountain in Wesley Square is a tribute to John Wesley, a street preacher credited as the founder of Methodism in Newcastle. It sits in the spot where his first sermon was held and was built in 1891 to mark the centenary of his death.
The fountain is designed around a pink granite obelisk on a grey marble pedestal. At the base are two drinking troughs and a lion’s head, although the water supply was cut off many years ago.
This Quayside fountain is another of the Grade II listed statues in Newcastle.
Statues In Newcastle of People
The George Stephenson Monument
George Stephenson was a pioneer in developing the modern railway system in the UK. The engineer designed the first-ever passenger railway line connecting two cities – Liverpool and Manchester.
Stephenson was born and raised in Northumbria and his monument stands at the junction between Neville Street and Westgate Road in the city. The bronze statue was first unveiled in 1862 and is Grade II Listed.
It’s one of the more unique Newcastle statues because it depicts the same person at different times of his life. As well as the main statue on top of a large stone plinth, there are four more statues of Stephenson on the bottom corners of the plinth. They show him as a miner, a railway engineer, a bridge builder, and a blacksmith.
The William Coulson Monument
William Coulson was an active animal welfare campaigner throughout his life. He was born in 1841 near Newcastle. He chaired the first-ever public meeting of the Humanitarian League and advocated against animal cruelty at a time when animal welfare wasn’t considered an issue by the public.
Coulson died in 1911 and a statue in his memory was unveiled in 1914. Its unique design depicts Coulson on top of a drinking trough for animals.
The bronze monument is Grade II listed, like many statues in Newcastle. It was originally displayed in the Haymarket, before being moved to the junction of City Road and Horatio Road, overlooking the River Tyne.
One of the most prominent monuments in Newcastle is Grey’s Monument, which stands right in the heart of the city center and towers over Newcastle. The monument was built in 1839, in commemoration of the Prime Minister at the time, Charles Grey.
Grey was celebrated for passing the 1832 Great Reform Act, which was popular for expanding the right to vote. The stone monument depicts him standing atop a Roman Doric-style column, reaching 41-meters-high in total. The viewing platform at the top offers fantastic views across Newcastle.
Other Famous Monuments In Newcastle
The Swirle Pavilion Golden Globe
Shipping and ship-building were some of North East’s most important industries in the 19th Century and are reflected in many of the Newcastle monuments.
The Swirl Pavilion is an art installation on the banks of the River Tyne in Newcastle. It pays homage to the European ports that Newcastle traded with during the industrial revolution. Some of these include Hamburg, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, and Antwerp, alongside several UK cities.
This monument was designed in 1998 as part of the Art on the Riverside Project. The pavilion is recognizable for its futuristic Golden Globe – one of the most beautiful statues in Newcastle.
Discovering Famous Newcastle Monuments
These are just 10 of the famous statues and monuments in Newcastle. Of course, there are many more monuments in Newcastle and the best way to appreciate them is to visit this vibrant city and explore its monuments for yourself.
From war memorials and monuments commemorating inventors to modern art installations, the many Newcastle statues offer a fascinating and moving tribute to its history.