Saturday, September 11, 2010

Short Cuts

Ouseburn Farm, focus of a recent royal visit.

Some brief notes on recent news and some links to worthwhile material to those interested in Battlefield, Ouseburn and the city.

First, a recent visit from H.R.H. The Prince Charles.

I am not always in step with Prince Charles but I respect him rather more than some. The Ouseburn and nearby Newcastle Quayside are both testaments to important ideas in urban life and re-generation which the Prince has supported with constancy.

In the 70s the Newcastle Quayside was being lined up for demolition. One scheme envisaged the area re-built as a series of giant 'cornflake' packet office blocks.

It was Amber Associates, founded in the 60s by a far sighted group of film makers and photo journalists' who based themselves in old premises under the massive Tyne Bridge, in what was then the very unfashionable Quayside, that stepped in and by elegant and timely intervention made a telling point. I believe Amber are chiefly to thank that this fine architectural heritage and community avoided the wrecking ball.

This survival enabled Live Theatre to open in old premises off the Quayside. Today it has grown into a major venue. 'Live' has been responsible for bringing on some now well known talent and productions, including 'transfers' to the London West End and now New York's Broadway. Following on from a recent expansion of its building, 'Live' has now found life rather less rosy.

Just how a cafĂ©, however good – and the '21' management are good, – will help the 'Live' and the area I do not know. I do however, see others who have shouldered a lot of creative effort in Newcastle  left now out in the cold.

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