Over a big picture of Durham Cathedral, last Friday’s Journal front page carried the following tease: “We asked a panel of experts for their favourite North East landmark. What was their No 1? Well, it wasn’t THIS one...”
To be fair to our experts - 16 academics, architects, writers and one TV presenter (former architect George Clarke, from Washington) - many of them did vote for Durham Cathedral and it only lost out on top spot to Newcastle Civic Centre when the two landmarks got the same number of votes but the civic was more people’s absolute favourite.
After the expert vote we opened the poll up to readers, and it is fair to say that the public have been trying to write the “wrong” done by our panel of professionals in their droves.
“How can Durham Cathedral not be number one?” said one reader. “It’s the best building in the region,” said another, “and that’s a sentence that still makes sense if you take out the words ‘in the region’.”
Hundreds of people have voted for the Durham landmark as their favourite building from the North East, with votes coming from Durham itself, elsewhere in the region and even from what we assume are ex-pat North Easterners on our website. (There were votes from America, Australia and eastern Europe for the cathedral).
Second in our readers’ list was the Sage Gateshead, which is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary but has already made it into the public’s affections, while a late flurry of what appeared to be orchestrated voting saw the Transporter Bridge on Teesside and Auckland Castle in County Durham enter our list of top buildings. The Civic Centre - top of our experts’ list last week - found less favour with the general public but was still in the top five.
Also much loved were Newcastle’s Central Station, Bamburgh Castle, All Saints’ Church in Newcastle and Cragside, which all feature in both the public’s and our experts’ lists. A glaring omission by the expert panel - the Tyne Bridge - did not slip by the public, however, who made it their seventh favourite landmark in the region.
In all, our readers suggested 76 separate buildings from around the region, with churches, bridges, housing developments and department stores all on the list.
As with our experts there were a number of slightly eccentric choices (the new Core building on the Science Central site is important, but not exactly eye catching), but what is clear from our public vote is how many wonderful landmarks there are in the North East.
READERS’ TOP TEN (position in our experts’ list is in brackets)
1 (2) Durham Cathedral
2 (18) Sage Gateshead
3 (-) Transporter Bridge
4 (-) Auckland Castle
5 (1) Civic Centre
6 (7) Central Station
7= (-) Tyne Bridge
7= (5) Cragside
9 (12) All Saints’ Church
10 (11) Bamburgh Castle