Monkseaton Metro stained glass art work is back on display after restoration work

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Colourful stained glass art work has gone back on public display at a North Tyneside Metro station after it was painstakingly restored to its former glory.

The ‘Beach and Shipyards’ art installation, which bookends the historic canopy at Monkseaton Metro station, has been carefully cleaned and repaired by stained glass experts.

Cate Watkinson and Rita Griskonyte, who specialise in making stained glass, carried out the work at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nexus, the public body which runs Metro, said it formed part of a £575,000 scheme to refurbish the gable ends of the canopy at Monkseaton, which dates back to 1915, preserving it for many years to come.

Cate Watkinson, Mike Davis and Rita Griskonyte with the restored stained glass art work at Monkseaton Metro station.Cate Watkinson, Mike Davis and Rita Griskonyte with the restored stained glass art work at Monkseaton Metro station.
Cate Watkinson, Mike Davis and Rita Griskonyte with the restored stained glass art work at Monkseaton Metro station.

The stained glass has been gently put back into place for thousands of Metro customers to enjoy it once again.

Sarah McManus, Head of Renewals at Nexus, said: “The stained glass artwork at Monkseaton Metro station is one of the most striking pieces of public art on the network, so we are delighted to have it restored to its former glory.

“We’ve invested over £500,000 into the station’s historic canopy so the structure is strengthened here for many years to come, and the historic canopy is back to looking its best at a station which is a key gateway into our region’s amazing coastline.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s amazing that Mike Davis’s former student Cate Watkinson has had the opportunity to restore his work and what an amazing job it is.

Restored artwork at Monkseaton Metro station.Restored artwork at Monkseaton Metro station.
Restored artwork at Monkseaton Metro station.

“‘Beaches and Shipyards’ played a big part in the first few years of our art on transport programme in the early 1980s, not long after Metro first opened. It’s truly fantastic to see this unique piece of art looking as good as new again.”

Artist Mike Davis first incorporated the artwork into the glazed canopy in 1983.

He said: “I was most grateful to Northern Arts and Nexus for the chance to make work for a public space - this was my first large scale commission in the region, after moving to the north east. The imagery in my design related to industry, especially to engineering and shipbuilding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It was both celebratory and inevitably, something of an elegy for the great changes taking place and the decline of the heavy industries, particularly engineering. We hoped that a local schools competition would be a celebration of the seaside nature of Monkseaton and I feel that we were lucky that Rosalind’s design had a simple charm.

“The work was made partly at our studio in Durham and partly at Sunderland Polytechnic in Backhouse Park in Sunderland.

“Our region was the first place in England where stained glass emerged, at Monkwearmouth in 674 AD, and later in Jarrow. The Venerable Bede describes how Benedict Biscop brought glaziers from Gaul ‘to teach the English their mystery”.

So, there has been a long history in glass working in the region. The work features some fine coloured glass from Hartley Woods who manufactured handmade ‘antique’ sheet as it is known.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I must thank Cate Watkinson and Rita Griskonyte for their skill and care. My hope is that they will be properly recognised and valued.”

The canopy features two stunning pieces of stained-glass artwork. ‘Beach’, executed in a bold and colourful style, was designed from a school’s competition won by Rosalind Hurst, while ‘Shipyards’ is a more abstract treatment of the River Tyne’s heritage.

Each stained glass panel was re-leaded before being cleaned and polished.

It was a real labour of love for Cate, who trained as a stained-glass artist under the Mike Davis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

By taking on the Monkseaton Metro station project she has worked to preserve one of her mentor’s very own commissions.

Cate said: “It’s fantastic to see the completed piece restored back to its former glory. There’s no more broken bits, no more dirt, no more muck. It’s all as good as new again, and will be there for a very long time to come.

“A lot of work went into the restoration, from taking all the glass out, making sure that it didn’t get broken and pulling it apart, to ensuing it was all carefully cleaned and put back in the right place.

“It was great to see Mike Davis at the unveiling. As his former pupil I was enormously proud to be able to restore his original work from 1983.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Congratulations to Nexus for supporting this project, ensuring that the stained art work was preserved and returned back to its former glory.”

Nexus has refurbished the glazing and steel structures that make up the gable ends of Monkseaton canopy, ensuring the longevity of the structure for years to come.

The glazing has been toughened so that it will be more resistant to vandalism and bad weather.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.