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New piece of history celebrates iconic Blaydon Races

Posted on: 8 June, 2022

As the town’s runners gear up for this year’s Blaydon Race, a new piece of history which immortalises the song that inspired it has been created.

A new plaque, depicting the Blaydon Races: an illustrated journey, has taken pride of place at Newcastle’s Cathedral Square, as the transformation of the famous Bigg Market continues.

The 990mm x 490mm plaque, which was commissioned by Newcastle’s business improvement company NE1 and Newcastle City Council, was developed by creative agency JUMP following a concept created by landscape planning specialist Southern Green, the firm behind the designs for the regenerated Bigg Market area.

It has been positioned on the site of an old well that served the local community, and within sight of Balmbra’s pub, the drinking establishment named in Geordie Ridley’s ‘Blaydon Races’ lyrics.

This latest development follows the unveiling of a huge mural on the side of the Cathedral Square building earlier this year by artist Bobzilla.

Tom Wooldridge, Executive Director and Founder of Monument Real Estate, which acquired Cathedral Square last summer, said: “We know how special this song is to people in the local area, and we’re proud to be part of commemorating it ahead of this year’s Blaydon Race.

“As with the mural, we feel public art such as this breathes additional vibrancy into commercial premises and enables the local community to maintain a feeling of ownership around their local history and area.”

Tariq Albassam, Director of Operations at Newcastle NE1, added: “This fantastic new installation, which gives context to many of the lyrics contained within the Blaydon Races, explaining their significance within the local landscape, builds upon the success of previous commissions by contemporary artists including Bobzilla.

“All of these pieces of work are instrumental in elevating the Bigg Market into a destination for business and leisure alike.

“A previous plaque was looking a little worse for wear, so we’ve been pleased to help enable its replacement in keeping with the many developments in and around Cathedral Square, a fitting spot as it marks the start of the Blaydon Race route.”

Monument Real Estate is currently working with Southern Green on a range of further improvements to the public realm at Cathedral Square as part of a wider asset management strategy.

Tom Wooldridge added: “We believe that investment in initiatives such as art installations and public realm strategies are important additions in the context of the building’s overall offer and its place in the city. We are working hard on a number of fronts to ensure that the building has a longstanding and vibrant future.”

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