Not an entirely random name for a blog, but close. I am not a goat herder - in the usual meaning of that word; nor does the Urban Dictionary definition apply to me either (for a decade at least): an extremely drunk male who having lost all self-respect and standards, loses his powers of discrimination when pulling females. It is said that Gateshead derives its name from a settlement near an early Tyne crossing where goats once roamed. The goats are long gone, but me - I like to roam these parts - or rather run - exploring new places, rediscovering old ones in and around Gateshead and Newcastle when I'm out jogging. This blog is a collection of my photos, thoughts, observations, rants, loves and hates about Newcastle and Gateshead.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

End of an era for Newcastle city night spot


You can guess someone's age or generation at least by the name they use to refer to the night club on New Bridge Street, the one currently known as Liquid (or it it just LQ nowadays?) Me, I only went there when it was the Studio, Ritzy and then Ikon, but I'm from the younger end of the Tiffany's generation. For my parents generation, it was, of course, the Oxford, or The Oxford Galleries - named after a street which ran alongside, roughly parallel to the central motorway, called Oxford Street.   But the long-standing Newcastle nightspot is set to become history under redevelopment plans that have been submitted to the council.

There are plans afoot to demolish much of the club, leaving the listed entrance building and portico, intact. In its place, the developers plan to build student accommodation - a modern development in three blocks of increasing height, stepping up away from the rear of the Grade II listed John Dobson House (which currently houses the club entrance, cloakroom and "back-office" space).

Many will have happy memories of this place, the Oxford holds a special place in the hearts of many of my parents generation; the same is true for subsequent generations who have enjoyed nights at the various incarnations of nightclubs that followed.  But over the past twenty years, the reputation of night clubs here has deteriorated. Unfortunately, violent incidents, glassings and murders even will be the overriding memories of some.

While it is sad to see the end of the club, it's a great opportunity to restore the John Dobson house to its former glory. The plans include stripping back the white paint to reveal its original stone facade. The restored building will house a cafe / restaurant with outside seating on the Blue Carpet. 

I'm not quite so sure about the designs for the student accommodation blocks though - it's seems to be a design which is very much of this time (based on similar modernist design concepts popular in the 1960s) - and very similar to other buildings that are going up across the city.  I do like modern and modernist architecture, but I can't help thinking that another T Dan Smith-esque silhouette is looming across the city again, just when many of the monstrosities from the 60s and 70s have been demolished.

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