Facts about Grey’s Monument as we climb the 164 steps to see the views from the top

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Standing over 40 metres tall and overlooking the centre of Newcastle, it’s pretty hard to not be familiar with Grey’s Monument.

The monument has very much become a pillar of daily life in the city being used as a meeting point, for demonstrations, performances and much more.

Geordies who pass Grey’s Monument every day may think they know all there is to know about the statue.

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However, there is much more to Charles Grey and his pillar than meets the eye.

We’ve rounded up some of the little unknown facts connected to Grey’s Monument and its ever-evolving history.

Grey’s Monument inspired Nelson’s Column

People may fly from all over the world to see London’s infamous monuments.

However, some of them took inspiration from the humble North East.

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Sculptor Edward Hodges Bailey helped design Grey’s Monument in 1838 before working on Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square two years later.

Early Grey was around to see the finished piece

When monuments dedicated to a person are constructed, it’s normally after their death.

Take Lord Nelson for instance, who died a whole 35 years before his column was designed.

Earl Grey actually bucked that trend and was still living when Grey’s Monument was unveiled, meaning he got to lap up all the praise and adulation.

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The centre-piece of a roundabout

With current efforts to make Blackett Street fully pedestrianised, it’s hard to imagine the road as a traffic hub.

However, it didn’t used to be so easy to gather around the monument.

Back in the 20th century, Grey’s Monument was the centre of a mini roundabout andbconstantly had cars moving around it.

Monument station’s circular wall is the most important concrete in the city

Commuters may not ever have stopped to question why there’s a large circular wall in the middle of Monument metro station.

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When the station was built in 1977, special care was taken to work around that very wall.

It’s actually the monument’s foundation stone and, without it, Mr Grey would face a terrifying tumble onto the ground below.

An inspiration for singers

Grey’s Monument has played a great cultural importance over the years.

You might even have heard the statue name-checked in songs without realising.

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Artists including Maxïmo Park and Sam Fender have referenced the monument in tracks.

Who was Charles Grey?

His name seems to be just about everywhere in Newcastle, but who really was Charles Grey?

Grey, also known as Viscount Howick, was Prime Minister for four years between 1830 and 1834.

He rose to that position as a member of the Whig Party and his government was known for enacting the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which brought an end to slavery in most of the British Empire.

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Throughout his career he also worked as foreign secretary and inspired Earl Grey tea, having reportedly received the specific blend as a diplomatic gift.

Grey was born in Fallodon, Northumberland in 1764 and would eventually come back to die in the county at the age of 81.

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