Grey's Monument

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Coordinates: 54°58′23″N 1°36′47″W / 54.973°N 1.613°W / 54.973; -1.613

Grey's Monument
Grey's Momument and Momument station - Newcastle upon Tyne - England - 130804.jpg
Grey's Monument
Grey's Monument Newcastle.jpg
Grey's Monument closeup
Grey's Monument is located in Tyne and Wear
Grey's Monument
Grey's Monument
 Grey's Monument shown within Tyne and Wear
OS grid reference NZ248643
List of places
UK
England
Tyne and Wear

Grey's Monument is a Grade I listed monument to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey built in 1838 in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was erected to acclaim Earl Grey for the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832 and stands at the head of Grey Street. It consists of a statue of Lord Grey standing atop a 130 feet (40 m) high column. The column was designed by local architects John and Benjamin Green, and the statue was created by the sculptor Edward Hodges Baily (creator of Nelson's statue in Trafalgar Square).[1]

In 1941, during World War II, the head of the statue was knocked off by a bolt of lightning. In 1947, sculptor Roger Hedley (the son of painter Ralph Hedley[2]) created a new head based on the preserved fragments of the original.[3]

The monument lends its name to Monument Metro station, a station on the Tyne and Wear Metro located directly underneath, and to the Monument Mall Shopping Centre. The surrounding area is simply known as Monument.

A spiral staircase leads to a viewing platform at the top of the monument, which is occasionally opened to the public.[4] Old photographs indicate that the monument was originally on a traffic island and was surrounded by railings.[5] These railings are no longer present, and the area around the monument is now pedestrianised and is home to many shops, some independent and some up-scale designer boutiques.

The wide base of the monument is a popular spot for people-watching, and often acts as a venue for buskers, religious speakers and political activists/protesters. The Maxïmo Park song By the Monument refers to Grey's Monument.

The Monument is in the Westgate electoral ward of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, and the parliamentary constituency of Newcastle upon Tyne Central.

Inscription[edit]

The main inscription[6] on the pedestal reads:

THIS COLUMN WAS ERECTED IN 1838
TO COMMEMORATE
THE SERVICES RENDERED TO HIS COUNTRY BY
CHARLES EARL GREY K.G.
WHO, DURING AN ACTIVE POLITICAL CAREER OF
NEARLY HALF A CENTURY
WAS THE CONSTANT ADVOCATE OF PEACE
AND THE FEARLESS AND CONSISTENT CHAMPION OF
CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
HE FIRST DIRECTED HIS EFFORTS TO THE AMENDMENT
OF THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE IN 1792,
AND WAS THE MINISTER
BY WHOSE ADVICE, AND UNDER WHOSE GUIDANCE,
THE GREAT MEASURE OF PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
WAS AFTER AN ARDUOUS AND PROTRACTED STRUGGLE
SAFELY AND TRIUMPHANTLY ACHIEVED
IN THE YEAR 1832.

And on the opposite face is a later inscription:

AFTER A CENTURY OF CIVIL PEACE,
THE PEOPLE RENEW
THEIR GRATITUDE TO THE AUTHOR
OF THE GREAT REFORM BILL.
1932.

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRAINGER TOWN, Greys Monument, Edward Hodges Baily, retrieved 2010-07-26, His statue by sculptor Edward Hodges Baily (also responsible for Nelson’s Column) tops a column, Grey’s Monument, of 41 metres (133ft). It has remained a favourite meeting place since it was unveiled in 1838. 
  2. ^ "Roger Hedley". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Pickford-Jones, Tim. "Grey's Monument". Timmonet. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "It's the weekend: find your heritage!". Sunderland Echo. September 9, 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-28. [dead link]
  5. ^ Manders, Frank (1995). Newcastle upon Tyne: A Selection of the Earliest Photographs. Newcastle City Libraries and Arts. p. 31. ISBN 1-85795-017-8. 
  6. ^ Charleton, R.J. (n.d.). A history of Newcastle-on-Tyne from the earliest records to its formation as a city. London: Walter Scott Ltd. 

External links[edit]