Grey's Monument

Orientation & Geography

Europe, United Kingdom, North East England

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). 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. Old photographs indicate that the monument was originally on a traffic island and was surrounded by railings. 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 (most notably Apu with their andean music), religious speakers and political activists/protesters. During the Lecturer's Strike on 7 March 2006, a congregation of lecturers who were protesting against poor pay and working conditions spent the day on and around the Monument with placards. On Tuesday 30 January 2007 the Monument hosted the first major Newcastle Flash mob event when over 500 people gathered around the landmark and struck a pose before starting a conga line. The Maxïmo Park song "By the Monument", from the album Our Earthly Pleasures, refers to Grey's Monument.