The Black Gate @ Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

October 9th, 2011 6 Commented

Hi! I’m back again. So sorry that I’ve been missing for a long time. Too many things to be done in life. Anyway, I’ll continue to share about my travel experience in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Let’s start with the historical details and descriptions of The Black Gate (facts and details are taken from Development Department, Newcastle City Council).

The Black Gate, built between 1247 and 1250 during the reign of King Henry III, was the final addition to the medieval castle defenses. It was a barbican, and additional gate and walled entrance passage, projecting from the earlier North Gate and set at an angle to the main defenses. The narrowness of the passage and its angle to the rest of the castle wall restricted attackers and exposed them to fire from the defenders.

The Black Gate stood in the castle ditch, which was excavated and landscaped in the 1970s. The modern footbridges outside and inside the gatehouse are on the site of original wooden turning bridges, which had heavy counterweights on one side of the pivot to bring the bridge rapidly into the closed position. The inner bridge served the earlier North Gate (now represented by a fragment of upstanding walling) and pre-dates the Black Gate itself.

On either side of the passage through the gatehouse are vaulted chambers thought to have been guardrooms. Little else-remains of the medieval internal arrangements, the whole building having been occupied and altered almost continuously from the 17th century to the present day.

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The name Black Gate, which was once thought to describe its appearance, is derived from one Patrick Black who occupied the building in the first half of the 17th century. It was the "chief messuage (house)" in the Castle Garth when the castle was leased by James I in 1619 and the upper parts were extensively remodeled after this date to give the building its present appearance. Much of this work is attributed to John Pickell, whose name and the date 1636, appears on a stone high up on the south side of the building and who used the Black Gate as a tavern.

By the mid 19th century the Black Gate had degenerated into a slum tenement housing 60 people and with a public house, the Two Bulls’ Heads, built in and against the south side. In 1856 there was a proposal to demolish the building on the grounds that it was a "great nuisance", but the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne intervened and eventually in 1883 became tenants or the Black Gate.

The structure was cleaned and restored under the architect R.J. Johnson and became for a while the Society’s museum. The museum has now gone, but the Black Gate is still used by the Society although it is not open to the public.

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This is the other side of the building. Some of the destroyed walls are still visible to-date.

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Many of the other medieval buildings were demolished in the mid-1800s to make way for the railway, and The Black Gate and Castle were fortunate not to have been destroyed as well. Today, the main East Coast rail line runs between the two (shown below) en route to Scotland.

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This is the view of The Black Gate under the previously mentioned railway walls.

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It was a good experience getting to know more about the heritage of Newcastle upon Tyne. I must apologize that I didn’t include many detailed photos of it. For more information, you can visit

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6 responses to “The Black Gate @ Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom”

  1. Fabrice says:

    The black gate to modor…lol
    Looks beautiful, i never thought of visiting newscatle but i think i should.

  2. Alex says:

    Awesome pics, old is gold. I’d love have a visit there. I would be a great experience for me.

  3. Aya says:

    ah very gorgeous classic buildings ;)

  4. AS says:

    Always sweet to see such classic building still around. Too bad they don’t allow you in.

  5. Nopy says:

    That’s cool, I love old structures like this.

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