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Charrette Week

The very first week of studies at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape started with a week of Charrette, annual design event organised by the university and led by various designers and artists.

Poster for our story

The week which turned into a studio based project which was a fun activity full of inspirational vibes. During that week students worked in groups where postgraduates were mixed with undergraduates from various programmes across the school. Our team was allocated to work on The Loop and the idea behind was to create a mental map of the city in a way of short stories based on real events or city myths. We were then had been taken to a walk around Newcastle where our leaders introduced us to some exciting facts about the city that most of us never heard of.

Creating the set for the movie

We were introduced to a number of amazing and mystical stories of Newcastle. There was a legend about Dog Leap stairs, a real story of T Dan Smith and his incomplete raised pathways, a vampire rabbit myth and many more. Being fascinated by a real, yet incredible to believe incident, that happened to an outstanding Tyneside’s landmark, Earl Grey’s Monument, we decided to develop the story further and tell it to our audience in a form of a short movie.

The Story

So, according to the story, the statute of Earl Grey, standing on a tall pedestal and overlooking Grey street, was hit by a lightning strike back in 1941. The lightning got right into the head of the statue and it fall down onto a passing by tram. It is worth mentioning, that at those times the monument was standing in a middle of a roundabout and Northumberland Street wasn’t yet pedestrianised. The statue’s fallen head set the tram on fire and people ran out of it screaming. Then the head rolled down the street and right through the doors into a cake shop. The story says, that the shop owner placed the statue’s head in a shop window with a notice ‘Earl Grey shops here’. Hard to believe, but due to II World War, the head wasn’t replaced until 1948 and the statue remained headless for entire 7 years!

Headless monument (left) and replacement of the head (right)

The Charrette Movie

To represent this incredible incident our team created an installation and filmed the story. Enjoy watching it 🙂



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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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