Market Keepers’ House, Newcastle

Near Newcastle Central Station there is a new development called the “Centre for Life” Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4EP. It includes scientific research establishments, an interactive science museum for children, and various cafés and events spaces. It was built 1996-2000 to the designs of Terry Farrell and Partners on parts of an old cattle market. In the centre of the wide windswept space is this delightful building, from another era.

Market Keepers’ House, Times Square, Newcastle NE1, sketched from the Centre for Life museum café, 7th April 2023 in Sketchbook 13. About 9″ x 7″.

It is the Market Keepers’ House, 1840, designed by John Dobson, a prolific Newcastle architect of the time. His work is everywhere in the City. He designed the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, for example, and the Central Station. And he also gave us this miniature masterpiece, with its pleasing curves and symmetry. The building was restored in 1998 by Ainsworth Spark. This information is from “Pevsner Architectural Guides, Newcastle and Gateshead” by Grace McCombie 2009. We arrived at Times Square after following “Walk 5” in the book.

The people in the foreground are refuse collectors and cleaners. The two on the right are just coming off shift and the person on the left is just coming on shift. There is a lively exchange of views about their boss, a comparison of anecdotes concerning the unbelievable behaviour of the general public, and an analysis of recent decisions by the manager of Newcastle United. I couldn’t, of course, hear a word they were saying. Their articulate body language inspired me to pay attention to their conversation and include them in the picture.

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