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Nocturne: Lighting Up The River Tyne

Nocturne or ‘The Light on the Tyne’ is a colorful light artwork, which is on Newcastle’s Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge carries the Tyne and Wear Metro across the River Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead. It was purpose-built to form a part of the Tyne and Wear public transport network at a cost of £4.9million. The queen officially opened the bridge in 1981, although it had already been in use for some time.

Since 1980, Nexus, operators of t...

Nocturne or ‘The Light on the Tyne’ is a colorful light artwork, which is on Newcastle’s Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge carries the Tyne and Wear Metro across the River Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead. It was purpose-built to form a part of the Tyne and Wear public transport network at a cost of £4.9million. The queen officially opened the bridge in 1981, although it had already been in use for some time.

Since 1980, Nexus, operators of the Tyne and Wear Metro, has been commissioning artwork to improve their customer’s public transport experience. In 2006, they commissioned Nayan Kulkarni to install Nocturne, a huge artwork on the bridge. As the River Tyne’s Millennium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, High Level and Swing Bridges were already illuminated, it was decided that this artwork should light up the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge too.

After observing the water below the bridge, Kulkarni decided to use colour-changing lights on Nocturne. He said: "Like the slowly moving waters below the steelwork, I wanted to create a light work that would constantly change."

To light the bridge, Nocturne uses 36 banks of LED lights, which are set within the steel structure of the bridge itself. Kulkarni decided to use LED lights, as they are compact, long lasting and energy efficient. In fact, the LEDs that illuminate Nocturne use less energy in a year than the amount used by an average British family.

Nocturne or ‘The Light on the Tyne’ is a colorful light artwork, which is on Newcastle’s Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge carries the Tyne and Wear Metro across the River Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead. It was purpose-built to form a part of the Tyne and Wear public transport network at a cost of £4.9million. The queen officially opened the bridge in 1981, although it had already been in use for some time.

For Nocturne, the bridge was painted with two distinctive shades of blue, which meant that the artwork could also be enjoyed during the day. However, it is during the evening that Nocturne really comes alive, as the bridge is bathed in a kaleidoscope of colored lights. The colors of the bridge’s LED lights were based on photographs submitted by members of the public and this has given Kulkarni’s artwork a real community focus.

Since 1980, Nexus, operators of the Tyne and Wear Metro, has been commissioning artwork to improve their customer’s public transport experience. In 2006, they commissioned Nayan Kulkarni to install Nocturne, a huge artwork on the bridge. As the River Tyne’s Millennium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, High Level and Swing Bridges were already illuminated, it was decided that this artwork should light up the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge too.

Following its completion on 26 April 2007, Nocturne became the biggest light artwork in Britain and is expected to remain on the bridge for at least 15 years. Nocturne took 18 months to install and cost £300,000 to create, but when you see the bridge lit up in all of its glory, you’ll realise that it was worth every penny.

 

Gateshead's Guardian Angel

The Angel of the North is a magnificent modern structure in Gateshead, near Newcastle. While the sculptures unusual appearance initially attracted some local controversy, the Angel is now warmly regarded as a landmark of the North East and was chosen as one of the UK’s twelve official ‘Icons of England'.

Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, wanted his sculpture to convey "a sense of embrace," so he gave the Angel a massive wingspan of 175ft. As it stands at t...

The Angel of the North is a magnificent modern structure in Gateshead, near Newcastle. While the sculptures unusual appearance initially attracted some local controversy, the Angel is now warmly regarded as a landmark of the North East and was chosen as one of the UK’s twelve official ‘Icons of England'.

Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, wanted his sculpture to convey "a sense of embrace," so he gave the Angel a massive wingspan of 175ft. As it stands at the entrance of Tyneside, the Angel’s inviting, wide-open wings succeed in warmly welcoming many visitors to Newcastle and Gateshead. In addition to its huge wingspan, the sculpture is 65ft tall, which is the equivalent of more than four double decker buses. The imposing size of this 208-tonne creation makes the name ‘Angel’ seem almost too delicate to be appropriate.

The Angel of the North stands on the site of a former colliery, acting as a constant reminder of the area’s coal mining past. However, this location is rather exposed, which meant that the Angel had to be built to withstand harsh winds of over 100mph. To tackle this problem, a whopping 165 tonnes of concrete was used to create a foundation for the sculpture, anchoring it firmly into 66ft of rocky ground. The coating of the Angel also had to be weatherproof, so it was created out of weather-resistant steel that contains copper. This steel gives the sculpture its beautiful, warm reddish colour and will help the creation to last for at least a century.

Work started on the massive steel structure in 1994 and the project cost around £1million to complete. The Angel was cast in three separate pieces – the body and two wings - at Hartlepool Steel Fabrications Ltd. After casting, the body alone weighed a massive 110 tonnes, whereas the vast wings weighed an enormous 55 tonnes each.

The Angel of the North stands on the site of a former colliery, acting as a constant reminder of the area’s coal mining past. However, this location is rather exposed, which meant that the Angel had to be built to withstand harsh winds of over 100mph. To tackle this problem, a whopping 165 tonnes of concrete was used to create a foundation for the sculpture, anchoring it firmly into 66ft of rocky ground. The coating of the Angel also had to be weatherproof, so it was created out of weather-resistant steel that contains copper. This steel gives the sculpture its beautiful, warm reddish colour and will help the creation to last for at least a century.

Speaking of his Angel, Gormley said: “I’m just interested in making the world a more exciting place to live.” As his creation is now enjoyed by around 150,000 visitors per year, as well as being admired by over 90,00 motorists a day, he can certainly claim to have achieved his goal.

In February 2008, the Angel of the North celebrates its tenth birthday. To mark the occasion, Gateshead Council is planning a year of special events and activities. For more details, visit their site http://www.gateshead.gov.uk.

 

Middleton Place, West Ashley, SC

Charleston, South Carolina is one of America’s favorite Holiday, Vacation & Tour destinations; and for good reason. It offers pristine oceanfront beaches and an historical district that would take several days to cover on foot. The famous Market where you can watch local women as they make “sweetgrass” baskets the same way they have for hundreds of years. For the nautical lovers, there is Patriot’s Point where you can tour the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Or, you can visit the Confederate ...

Charleston, South Carolina is one of America’s favorite Holiday, Vacation & Tour destinations; and for good reason. It offers pristine oceanfront beaches and an historical district that would take several days to cover on foot. The famous Market where you can watch local women as they make “sweetgrass” baskets the same way they have for hundreds of years. For the nautical lovers, there is Patriot’s Point where you can tour the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Or, you can visit the Confederate submarine the Hunley; the first underwater vessel to ever sink another ship. Or take a tour boat out to Fort Sumter where the first shots were fired in the American Civil War.

But the crown jewel of Charleston is located west of the Ashley River in the appropriately named suburb of West Ashley. About 10 miles from downtown Charleston, out Ashley River Road, lays the Middleton Place Plantation.

One of the oldest homesteads in America, the original property was deeded to Jacob Wayte over a hundred years before the American Revolution. The next owners were the Middleton family and this is where the Plantation drew its name. The Middleton’s were one of the richest and most influential families in the antebellum south. Henry Middleton (1717 – 1784) was President of the First Continental Congress. Arthur Middleton (1742 -1787) signed the Declaration of Independence. Arthur’s son Henry Middleton (1770-1846) was Governor of South Carolina and an Ambassador to Russia. Williams Middleton (1809 – 1883) was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession that launched the American Civil War.

The original plantation house was built in 1755 with the main house and north wing ransacked and burned by Sherman’s Army in February 1865. The southern wing of the house, which suffered less damage, was restored in 1870.

In the great Charleston earthquake of 1886, Middleton Place was dealt yet another destructive blow. The beautiful garden terraces that had taken hundreds of slaves decades to build were destroyed in a matter of minutes. After the earthquake the stately mansion and beautiful gardens fell into disrepair.

In 1916, J.J. Pringle Smith inherited Middleton Place and soon began a massive restoration of the beautiful gardens. If you’ve ever seen the Mel Gibson movie, “The Patriot” you have seen the magnificence of the restoration. In 1991 the International Committee on Monuments and Sites named Middleton Place one of only six U.S. gardens of international importance.

In 1974, J.J. Pringle Smith's heirs established the non-profit Middleton Place Foundation, which now owns the Middleton Place National Historic Landmark.

Today, Middleton Place is a thriving restoration of eighteenth and nineteenth century plantation life. If you plan to visit Charleston, make the short day trip out to West Ashley and Middleton Place. Bring your walking shoes. There are amazing gardens spread across 65 acres. For those not inclined or unable to walk the grounds, a 45 minute tour in a horse drawn carriage conducted by a knowledgeable guide can be purchased at visitor’s center.

In addition to the gardens, there is a house tour available and a plantation stable yard with displays of the tools and methods used in the daily life in the Old South. These stables are staffed by local volunteers who are willing to share insight into jobs and the daily lives of the slaves who used to live there.

Be sure to include Middleton Place in West Ashley in your Charleston Holiday, Vacation & Tour plans. It is a day you will not soon forget.

Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road
West Ashley, SC 29414
(843) 556-6020
(800) 782-3608

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