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Old March 15th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #41
Newcastle Historian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngerOfTheNorth View Post
So does the book explain the Vampire Rabbit?
No, as I said above, it was an unsuccessful effort on my part.

Many books (including this one) refer to it and talk about "theories" as to why it was put there, etc, but NOTHING that I have gives a 'definite' factual answer.

As Deebex said, on the Newcastle Interesting Facts and Questions Answered thread (see 'quote' below) he already has that level of information (IE, 'theory') from online sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deebex View Post
I don't mean to hog the thread but I've just noticed that it's been changed to include answers to the nagging queries people may have.

I've always been puzzled by a quite well-known feature near the Cathedral i.e. the 'Vampire Rabbit' sculpture over an ornate doorway. Although it's usually called a rabbit it looks more like a hare to me. Images of it can be seen on these links.

http://www.travel-snaps.co.uk/vampire-rabbit.html

http://www.culture24.org.uk/places+t...+east/tra24188

I've always wondered why it's there, who put it there and what it represents?

It's a fairly common query (just type 'vampire rabbit newcastle' into google) and there are some theories re. protection from evil spirits - but no-one seems to know the definitive answer. I wondered if the esteemed members of this board have any more info.?
So, Anger if you have any further info, I'm sure Deebex would like to hear it, on the "Questions Answered" thread.

I'm afraid that I cannot find anything further, but my searching simply prompted me to suggest the "Hidden Newcastle" book, as a good book to read, here on the 'Books about Tyneside' thread!
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Old March 15th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #42
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cityscapes-streets for people isbn 1-85946-023-2 1997 still has a great bearing on development in newcastle today.

http://alanjsimpson.com/

.

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Old March 18th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #43
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Being launched soon: a biography of T Dan Smith.

“T Dan Smith “Voice of the North” - Downfall of a Visionary” will be launched at the new City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, 10.30–11.30am on Thursday 25th March 2010. There will be a short film on TDS and Cllr John Shipley, present Leader of Newcastle City Council, will say a few words.



Chris Foote-Wood

Author & Publisher



Book details:

Title: T Dan Smith “Voice of the North” - Downfall of a Visionary

Sub Title: Life of the North-East’s most charismatic champion

by Chris Foote Wood

Published by Northern Writers 25th March 2010

ISBN 978-0-9553869-9-2

Softback 350pp + 32 pages of bw/colour photographs, price £14.99

“for the first time we have a rounded and comprehensive account of the man and what made him what he was” – Cliff Smith, Dan’s son.



This book WILL be controversial. T Dan Smith was the charismatic and dynamic Leader of Newcastle City Council 1960-65, and then the equally forceful Chairman of the Northern Economic Planning Council 1965-71. In 1974 Smith pleaded guilty to charges of corruption (although claiming he was not guilty) involving County Durham “strong man” Andrew Cunningham and crooked architect John Poulson. Smith was jailed for six years, Cunningham for five (reduced to four on appeal) and Poulson seven.



Why did T Dan Smith plead guilty while protesting his innocence? Was he the “fall guy” for Home Secretary Reginald Maudling and others? Court records and witness statements reproduced in the book prove, says author Chris Foote Wood, that T Dan Smith was NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED.



T Dan Smith was and still is the most charismatic political leader the North-East has ever produced. In just five years, he transformed Newcastle upon Tyne from a backward-looking, decaying and neglected city into a dynamic, modern metropolis – perhaps not quite the “Brasilia of the North” or the regional capital as Dan would have wished, but a city that had regained its pride and optimism for the future. Eldon Square secured Newcastle’s position as a major shopping city, and the Central Motorway resolved much of its traffic problems. Newcastle became the first city in Britain to clear all its slums, with the Byker Wall – recently Grade II listed – still regarded as a masterpiece of modern housing redevelopment. T Dan Smith supported an independent University and a Polytechnic for Newcastle, and pushed through the purchase of land to help these hugely important institutions develop close to the city centre. He preserved the historic City Walls and regenerated its towers and gardens. He developed Newcastle Airport and cleaned up the River Tyne.



It wasn’t just what he did, it was the way he did it, that helped make T Dan Smith the towering figure he was. Only the very best would do for Newcastle, he proclaimed, and to this end he recruited the best architects, engineers and planners he could find from the UK and abroad. He set up an independent planning department and created the post of council chief executive – both firsts for the UK. He got the position of Council Leader recognised and introduced cabinet government into the town hall, a pattern since adopted by almost every local authority in the country. Dan promoted public art and indeed art for all. He was concerned not only to give people decent housing conditions and to find them work, he looked to improve their education, health and general well-being as well. Top politicians from the UK and abroad came to see what TDS had achieved in Newcastle and how he had done it. Named the Architects Journal “Man of the Year”, he was in demand to speak all over the UK and abroad. Dan had the ear of government ministers, senior civil servants, trades union leaders and powerful business tycoons.



In his youth, miner’s son T Dan Smith was an extreme left-wing agitator opposed to Britain fighting WW2. Expelled from both the Independent Labour Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party, Dan became a leading figure in the Labour Party but refused offers of a seat in the Lords and to head a nationalised industry. Starting as a painter’s apprentice on 4s 10d a week, Dan Smith became a successful businessman with a large painting business and more than 20 PR firms with a string of blue-chip clients. He was a director of Tyne Tees Television, a Socialist with a millionaire lifestyle – he lived in a fine house, and his three children all went to private schools.



Contrary to popular belief, most of the “concrete eyesores” in Newcastle City centre were built in the 1970s and 80s, after Dan Smith’s spectacular fall from power. But since then T Dan Smith has become the forgotten man, air-brushed from history. After five years of intensive research, and with the help of Dan’s son Cliff, author Chris Foote Wood – who knew TDS well – has produced a comprehensive life of this extraordinary character, warts and all.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 10:23 PM   #44
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"Newcastle became the first city in Britain to clear all its slums, with the Byker Wall – recently Grade II listed – still regarded as a masterpiece of modern housing redevelopment."

"Contrary to popular belief, most of the “concrete eyesores” in Newcastle City centre were built in the 1970s and 80s, after Dan Smith’s spectacular fall from power."

slum clearance had been happening for decades before smith arrived, and the byker wall was built long after he'd left newcastle council.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 12:11 PM   #45
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Has history painted us the wrong picture
of T Dan Smith?

Mar 23 2010 by Adrian Pearson, The Journal



Visionary or crook? The verdict on T Dan Smith usually encompasses a bit of both. But a new book maintains the former Newcastle Council leader was the victim of rough justice. ADRIAN PEARSON reports

T DAN Smith should be remembered as an inspirational leader who recreated Newcastle, a new book will claim. The controversial council boss was a fall guy for the corruption of others according to Durham author Chris Foote Wood.

At a book launch in the city library this Thursday Mr Foote Wood will reveal why he believes the six year sentence handed down to Smith was a gross injustice against a man who dedicated himself to Newcastle and the North East.

In the 1970s Yorkshire architect John Poulson, former Newcastle Council leader Smith and former Durham councillor Andy Cunningham were all arrested for their role in corruption over building contracts for local authorities.

Mr Foote Woods biography T Dan Smith Voice of the North Down Fall of a Visionary uses witness statements from the court hearing to show how corrupt architect Poulson was awarded many contracts from the Peterlee Corporation long before Smith joined them. Smith was also on Poulsons payroll as a public relations agent.

I challenge anyone to read this book and not agree with me that even though he pleaded guilty he was most definitely not guilty as charged, Mr Foote Wood said.

There is no doubt that he is the biggest politician the North East ever had. No doubt. When he got a parking ticket it was in the national pages.

Mr Foote Wood said the fighting presence of T Dan Smith changed the face of the North East.

He was only leader for five years and he transformed the city. He should be remembered as a great council leader.

Eldon Square is a great example of this. He bought up properties and built the shopping district. This now has enabled Newcastle to stand up to the likes of the Metrocentre and without him we would be lost.

Mr Foote Wood said Smiths private work running PR was another sign of his success, although one which would eventually link him to Poulson and their twin downfall.

Poulson was corrupt. There is no question about that. But the relation between the two was a sign of the times. In those days it was common practice for companies to treat officers and councillors and MPs, to hotel rooms, meals, drinks even holidays. It was standard practice.

His book explains how former Tory Home Secretary Reginald Maudling was also linked to Poulson and did not allow the police to crack down on the architect.

Mr Foote Wood said: Was Smith a fall guy? Maudling worked for Poulsons companies, promoted him in parliament and was found to have breached Parliaments rules.

But nothing happened to Poulson, and Maudling got away with it.

It was only when Poulson was made bankrupt that everything else came out.

He added: Smith knew by the time he was up on the third corruption charge that he had had enough. Hed had enough of the harassment of him and his family.

He was told this would go on unless he pleaded guilty, and was expecting just six months, he got six years, he served three...

He has been treated very badly by history for doing nothing wrong really and this is the chance to put the record straight. The evidence is all here.

A man of outstanding gifts brought low by the lure of easy cash

Former council leader JEREMY BEECHAM knew T Dan Smith better than most

I FIRST encountered Dan Smith at a Labour Party Branch meeting in 1960.

He was then leader of the council and housing chairman, and in the course of his address said that he would prefer to have been working directly for the council rather than, as someone in the painting and decorating business, being a contractor for it. Even to a 15-year-old this didnt quite ring true!

There was, however, no mistaking his political gifts. A flamboyant, charismatic figure and brilliant debater, he dominated the council chamber and was instantly recognisable throughout Newcastle, and not just when, long before John Prescott, he drove his Jaguar round town with its famous DAN 68 number plates.

Nothing much had happened in Newcastle local politics since local democracy began in 1835 until the Dan Smith era,with the possible exception being the mysterious disappearance of two fire engines during WW2.

Dan changed that with a massive slum clearance and house-building drive, the countrys first proper planning department, the introduction of comprehensive education, redevelopment of the city centre and the groundwork for Eldon Square, alongside one of the country's first housing renewal schemes for older homes, public art, and the promotion of the city as the regional capital.

Smith held the view that the fortunes of Newcastle and the North East were inextricably linked, and that each needed the other to be strong if either were to prosper.

Political leadership of the council wasreinforced by a Policy and Resources Committee and the appointment ofthe countrys first modern-style Chief Executive, instead of the traditional Town Clerk.

In five short years as council leader DanSmith wrote himself into local government history alongside such great figures as Joseph Chamberlain and Herbert Morrison. He achieved national acclaim, and the accolade, unique for a local council leader,of an appearance on Desert Island Discs.

And yet, of course, alongside these lasting achievements, and the occasional mistakes such as the demolition of the Royal Arcade, there eventually emerged a darker side. He saw a greatdeal of money being made in the construction and development world from public decisions, and at a time when councillors received no recompense for their time and effort, decided he wanted his share.

And so began the sorry saga of corruption,not actually in Newcastle, which dragged down many local governmentfigures and even a Conservative Home Secretary, and landed Smith injail.

Nothing can excuse that, but equally his positive achievements should not be forgotten.

Visionary or villain? Actually, and sadly, both.

Council leader says predecessor's legacy has not worn well

THE current leader of Newcastle Council,Liberal Democrat John Shipley, will speak at the book launch at Newcastle City Library this Thursday.

And despite praise for T Dan Smiths commitment to the city, he makes no attempt to gloss over the flaws of a man who led the city for just five years from 1960-65 but whose impact remains to this day, 17 years after his death.

As with all books on Dan Smiths life it will be fascinating to see how he is viewed, said Mr Shipley.

We already know he had an impressive commitment to our society and was dedicated to improving living conditions for people in the city.

But he made serious mistakes in his personal life.

Mr Shipley also disagreed with attempts to re-evaluate Smiths contribution to the architecture of the city, changed for ever by his ambitious plans for motorways and big buildings.

What he did to many parts of the city has not stood the test of time, he said. There are a number of 1960s buildings which we are now having to knock down because they are very obviously unsuitable.

And his plans to turn Newcastle into the Brasilia of the North was way over the top.




Newcastle has a long and proud history and we have to build on that not just ignore it and look for the next big thing.

Dan Smith will have an important role to play in that history and itll be interesting to read this latest take on it.


.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; March 23rd, 2010 at 02:26 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #46
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'Book of the Week' - W/C Monday 29th March 2010 . .

Civic Centre Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle City Council
November 1968





An excellent book, containing lots of information about the origins and design of the Civic Centre.

Many fantastic photos that I have only seen in this book, as well, both internal and external. There is also a superb display of The Armorial Bearings of the Incorporated Companies of the Freemen of the City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne, from the ceiling of the Civic Centre Banqueting Hall. You can 'just' see them in the 3rd photo, above! I have never seen this display anywhere else, so I intend (in the future) to post it on the Town Moor thread (we have a lot about 'the freemen of the city' on that thread) or perhaps on the Historic thread. Perhaps on both!!

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; March 30th, 2010 at 10:03 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #47
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'Book of the Week' - W/C Monday 5th April 2010 . .

Victorian Panorama, a visit to Newcastle upon Tyne in the Reign of Queen Victoria
Alan Morgan
Tyne Bridge publishing
2007





This is a beautiful and 'original' book, in that it shows a number of drawings of the Newcastle streetscape in Victorian times, with significant buildings and areas 'numbered' on the drawings, with each number then described in a separate narrative.

I have selected one drawing, and from that drawing one number (number '47', the Goal at Carliol Square) to illustrate what I mean.

There are many other equally excellent drawings, similarly annotated and described, in the book.






There is also something a little strange (for me) about this book.

I tend to 'keep my ear to the ground' about books on Newcastle architecture and history, etc, but I seem to have somehow missed this one for a few years!

Its publication date is 2007 but I have never heard of it until last week. I didn't find it in one of the big Newcastle bookshops either. I found it in a small bookshop in Corbridge, and they told me they had 'only just' got it in!

A bit strange (I wonder if its issue has been delayed for some reason?) but it is in my opinion a book that is well worth the wait, and one that I would recommend to anyone.


.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #48
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Yes it's an excellent book. Hopefully they will be another one similar in a different era! I bought mine a couple of years ago, I think from Waterstones in Newcastle. Must just be one you missed NH! It's always good to look on the Newcastle City Council website for Tyne Publishing releases:
http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/core.nsf...e?opendocument
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #49
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Excellent recommendation NH. That's the sort of book I love - a mixture of old maps with commentary. The presentation and the flagging up of certain buildings looks very interesting.

I always find that books like these make me want to find out more about the buildings and see what state they are in now (if they still exist).

Old isometric views and panoramas are interesting because they show a different perspective and emphasis compared to how we view cities today. The emphasis placed on railways and railway bridge arches for example was a lot greater in Victoran times than now. It places emphasis on the arch on Trafalgar Street, which if you can get the chance to look at it now is a superb example of brickwork. But the need of the cartographer/drawer to shuffle things around to fit in with the generalisation of the map can make things a bit confusing when you're trying to interpret them today.

One building on the picture I'm intrigued with is the tall building to the south of '58' - what was that?

(actually, the book looks so good I've just ordered a copy!)

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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:19 PM   #50
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i heard about that book a while ago - the artist who did the panorama (john storey i think) also did another panorama called "newcastle in the age of queen elizabeth", his idea of what the city wouldve been like a few hundred years earlier.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #51
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the building below 58 (which looks like manors goods yard?) may be the trafalgar granary, demolished 1969 -

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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
the building below 58 (which looks like manors goods yard?) may be the trafalgar granary, demolished 1969 -

Thanks for the info. JPD. As you say that looks to be the building. Great photo as well - where did you get it from? Another substantial building with potential that we've lost
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #53
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the SINE website - structural images of the north east http://sine.ncl.ac.uk/
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:53 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
the SINE website - structural images of the north east http://sine.ncl.ac.uk/
Thanks!
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Old April 5th, 2010, 11:39 PM   #55
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The book actually refers to that building as being The Corn Warehouse, Pandon Bank.

It goes on to explain . . . "Opened in 1849, for the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway, this multi-storey grain loft was designed by Benjamin Green. It was severely damaged by bombing in 1941, its ground floor shell survived until the 1970s. The site continues to remain derelict today."

I'm certain you will LOVE the book, when your copy arrives Deebex!!
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Old April 5th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post


The book actually refers to that building as being The Corn Warehouse, Pandon Bank.

It goes on to explain . . . "Opened in 1849, for the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway, this multi-storey grain loft was designed by Benjamin Green. It was severely damaged by bombing in 1941, its ground floor shell survived until the 1970s. The site continues to remain derelict today."

I'm certain you will LOVE the book, when your copy arrives Deebex!!
seems like it could the same as in my photo, then.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 11:47 PM   #57
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seems like it could the same as in my photo, then.
I would say DEFINITELY the same as your photo Johnny, no doubt about it!

The SINE Website is on the list of websites in Section 9 of our Websites thread, but I find it ('SINE') a quite difficult website to navigate around, at times!
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Old April 8th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
'Book of the Week' - W/C Monday 5th April 2010 . .

Victorian Panorama, a visit to Newcastle upon Tyne in the Reign of Queen Victoria
Alan Morgan
Tyne Bridge publishing
2007

...

This is a beautiful and 'original' book, in that it shows a number of drawings of the Newcastle streetscape in Victorian times, with significant buildings and areas 'numbered' on the drawings, with each number then described in a separate narrative.

...

There are many other equally excellent drawings, similarly annotated and described, in the book.

...

There is also something a little strange (for me) about this book.

I tend to 'keep my ear to the ground' about books on Newcastle architecture and history, etc, but I seem to have somehow missed this one for a few years!

Its publication date is 2007 but I have never heard of it until last week. I didn't find it in one of the big Newcastle bookshops either. I found it in a small bookshop in Corbridge, and they told me they had 'only just' got it in!

A bit strange (I wonder if its issue has been delayed for some reason?) but it is in my opinion a book that is well worth the wait, and one that I would recommend to anyone.


.
I just got the book today, and thanks for the recommendation NH! It is absolutely fascinating.

It's also very accessible - the use of maps, photos and etchings really brings the descriptions (and original John Storey panaorama) to life. The way it identifies the buildings you can still see and those that have gone just makes me want to explore the city.

I also like the reference to 'mystery' and 'unknown' buildings on the illustrations - I see them as a challenge now.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 01:54 AM   #59
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Good stuff Deebex, I'm really pleased that I was able to help you find that one. It is a great book!

Next weeks book (that I have chosen) is VERY different, but (in my opinion) equally GOOD!

All I'll say at the moment is, that it is a novel and it starts at an unforgettable Newcastle United v Chelsea FA Cup Final . . .
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Old April 11th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #60
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'Book of the Week' - W/C Monday 12th April 2010 . .

The Day the Queen flew to Scotland for the Grouse Shooting
A novel by Arthur Wise
Hodder Paperbacks
1969


This book was first mentioned on this forum when we were discussing the 'North-South divide' in February, on the skybar and Chris mentioned 'revolution'. That triggered off my memory of this book, so I responded . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian;28 Feb 2010
Have you, or anyone, heard about a book called "The day the Queen flew to Scotland for the Grouse Shooting"?

I have it somewhere, I'll try to find it . . as in it exactly what you suggest happens, Chris!!

Northern England declares war on "The South" and I remember reading about the troops marching down Pilgrim Street to head south, or something like that!

It's quite an old book (1960s, I think) but an interesting one!



It all starts at the "Newcastle United v Chelsea" F A Cup Final . .





Here is a sample of the story . .



I would think you would only be able to get this, now, on eBay or Amazon or in second hand bookshops . . . but it is an interesting read!
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