City Guides celebrates 60 years of showing visitors around Newcastle

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Volunteers who give their time to promote the history and heritage of Newcastle are celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Newcastle City Guides has showcased the most fascinating parts of the city to thousands of residents and visitors over the last six decades.

Some members of the voluntarily groups have worked with City Guides for a number of years to chart the changing face of the city, as well as some of its lost buildings and places.

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Councillor Nick Kemp, leader of Newcastle City Council, has praised City Guides for their efforts over the last 60 years.

He said: “Newcastle is a fascinating city with a very long history.

“It is changing all the time and so documenting those changes with photography and walks is very important if we are to remember who we are and where we came from.

Newcastle City Guides are celebrating showing residents and tourists around the city for 60 years. Newcastle City Guides are celebrating showing residents and tourists around the city for 60 years.
Newcastle City Guides are celebrating showing residents and tourists around the city for 60 years. | Newcastle City Council

“The City Guides have a real love of Newcastle and Tyneside, and they share so much of their time and expertise for free, keeping our history alive so I’d like to thank them for all they do in this 60th anniversary year which fittingly coincides with Local History Month.”

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To mark the milestone, a photographic exhibition of the City Guides will be held at the City Library on Saturday, May 13, at 10.30am and it will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Karen Robinson.

She commented: “The City Guides do a fantastic job promoting the history of our great city.

“We are very grateful for the time and expertise they share on a voluntary basis telling fascinating stories and showcasing important places, buildings, and monuments some of which have long gone.

“I would like to thank them for their sterling public service and on behalf of the city wish them all the best for the next 60 years.”

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The Association of City Guides was founded by Newcastle City Council in 1963 in an effort to trace the lines of the Town Wall and other streets and buildings, including the city library and Blackfriars.

In 2023, City Guides is a self-regulating body and is responsible for training future guides, plus planning an annual programme of walks.

City Guides offers more than 50 different heritage walks with concessions that cover Newcastle city centre, Jesmond, Gosforth, adn the outskirts of the city.

Recently, the group has extended into Gateshead and the Coast to explore hidden histroy, industrial heritage, public art, and some paranormal tales.

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Anthony Atkinson, chair of Newcastle City Guides, has expressed his pride in the work that the group does for promoting Newcastle to both residents and visitors.

He added: “Guides come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, but they are united in their pride and passion for Tyneside.

“They all must undertake a rigorous, yearlong, training course, culminating in a walking exam to ensure they have a sound understanding of the local history, and can communicate their knowledge in an engaging manner.

“Becoming a City Guide is one of the best things I have ever done. You become an ambassador for our great city, make new friends, and meet people from all over the world. It is hugely rewarding.”

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Every day from May to October, the Guides put on a ‘City Highlights’ walk to give tourists an introduction to the city.

The daily tour starts at 10.30am in the Central Arcade and finishes at 12pm on the Quayside - all guided walks cost £5 for adults, with no concessions and are free for accompanied under 16’s.

City Guides also offer tours of Grey’s Monument, giving people the opportunity to climb the 164 steps to the top to take in the views of Newcastle city centre and beyond.

You can find out more about City Guides here: https://newcastlegateshead.com/newcastle-city-guides.

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