It’s a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in heart of the city

The Chronicle - - Nostalgia -

NEW­CAS­TLE city cen­tre is not short of strik­ing ar­chi­tec­tural lo­ca­tions. The Cen­tral Ar­cade, with its glass bar­rel-vaulted roof and stun­ning tile work, is one of them.

A stone’s throw from Grey’s Mon­u­ment and the The­atre Royal, the ar­cade can be ac­cessed from Grey Street, Grainger Street and Mar­ket Street. Our main im­age dates from the 1980s. On the right, we see the long-time New­cas­tle re­tail sta­ple that is Win­dow’s mu­sic store.

Many of us - in­clud­ing yours truly - will have bought records, sheet mu­sic and mu­si­cal equip­ment there.

Opened in 1908, JG Win­dow’s has been a pur­veyor of all things mu­si­cal for 110 years.

Over the years the store has wel­comed many of the re­gion’s bud­ding mu­sic stars through its doors as young shop­pers, from Mark Knopfler to Bryan Ferry to AC/DC’s Brian John­son.

As for the Cen­tral Ar­cade, it was built in 1837, the same year Queen Vic­to­ria came to the throne.

The master­mind be­hind the project was Richard Grainger, the builder who helped cre­ate the New­cas­tle city cen­tre we know and love to­day.

The tri­an­gu­lar build­ing, orig­i­nally called the Cen­tral Ex­change, was ini­tially a com­mer­cial cen­tre, then a sub­scrip­tion news­room where peo­ple went to read the news­pa­pers, and later an art gallery. As well as ad­mir­ing the art­work, you could also go there to play cards, chess and bil­liards - and have a smoke!

In 1897, a vaude­ville the­atre and restau­rant re­placed the art gallery, but dis­as­ter struck four year later.

The build­ing had sur­vived a fire in 1867, but in 1901 a ma­jor blaze - which started in the early hours of the morn­ing - com­pletely de­stroyed the in­te­rior.

It was re­built in 1906 and the curent Cen­tral Ar­cade, an el­e­gant Ed­war­dian shop­ping ar­cade de­signed by Oswald and Son, was con­structed within the orig­i­nal build­ing.

It re­mains a New­cas­tle in­sti­tu­tion.

Win­dow’s mu­sic store, Cen­tral Ar­cade, New­cas­tle, 1950s

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