An ongoing project which began in autumn 2021, this series focuses on Newcastle upon Tyne's Pilgrim Street and associated areas, while documenting the presence of continual land developments. Owned by the Reuben brothers, Pilgrim Quarter as it has been rebranded by the property magnates, owes its name to the pilgrims who were visiting the nearby chapel of Saint Mary in the 13th Century, now marked ruins in the leafy suburb of Jesmond.
Having undergone many transformations, layers of history can be seen through the juxtaposition of modern day commercial enterprises against the surviving heritage of the city dating as far back as the Middle Ages.
Carliol Square Screen Print. Newcastle Gaol, 1921 / Taras Property Construction, 2022
This series has been commissioned by historian Dr. Shane McCorristine and is part of a wider project to commemorate the anniversary of Newcastle's former Gaol. Designed by John Dobson, it was one of the first prisons to adopt a panoptican-style framework, regarded as progressive at the time of its inception in 1822. The gaol was situated in the East Pilgrim Street area of Newcastle and has left traces across the city, from former execution sites such as the Town Wall and Moor to the foundations of the Tyne Bridge, where bricks were redistributed upon its demise.
The creative output for the project uses topographical photographic studies of the area and merges these through the screenprinting process with archive material from Tyne & Wear Museums and Archives, Newcastle Library and Northumberland Archives. In May 2022 Newcastle's Commercial Union House was demolished to make way for construction work to begin on an a regional HMRC office complex. Though growing concerns of gentrification and lost heritage may seem like a particularly 21st Century matter, documents held in the archive show it was as much of an issue for the residents of Newcastle 200 years ago as it is now. A petition to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1822 unsuccessfully opposing the demolition of Newgate demonstrate the citizens' fears of urban development.
Screen prints juxtaposing views of Commercial Union House's demolition with text from the petition were displayed at Newcastle Central Library, along with artifacts chronicling the story of Newcastle Gaol's construction, demise and photographs detailing the area's current state of transition.
Newgate Commercial Union House Screen Print. Newgate Petiton to Mr. Mayor, 1823 / Commercial Union House demolition, 2022