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24 September 2014

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You are in: Tyne > Places > Places features > Love it or hate it?

Michael Caine shooting Get Carter on Tyneside

Shooting Get Carter on Tyneside

Love it or hate it?

In April 2008 the public were given one last chance to visit the top levels of Gateshead's infamous multistorey 'Get Carter' car park, which is soon to be demolished.

It's official. The Gateshead "Get Carter" car park is going to be demolished.

The car park, which became famous when it was featured in the classic Michael Caine gangster movie Get Carter, has attracted both critics and fans over the years.

While some regard it as an eyesore, others – thanks to the film - see it as an iconic structure, which should be preserved.

Gateshead multistorey car park

The car park opened in 1969

View from the top

The car park is expected to close to the public on 8 June 2008 in preparation for the demolition, which is part of wider plans for a new development in Trinity Square.

Key changes could include new leisure and community facilities, student accommodation, a supermarket, shops, restaurants and a hotel.

On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 April 2008, members of the public were given a rare chance to visit the very top levels of the car park as they were opened for one last time.

Take a look at photos taken at the top of the car park:

Gateshead multistorey car park

The restaurant level was never completed

Just under 2,000 people queued up to don a hard hat and walk up to level 13 to sample the amazing views across Newcastle and Gateshead.

People also tried to spot the bits of the car park featured in the cult 70s film and some even took away bits of stone as souvenirs!

When the building was constructed it was envisaged that the top level would become a rooftop restaurant but this plan was never realised.

Although this area was not open to the visitors for safety reasons they could peer up from just underneath the dusty windows to imagine what dining there might have been like.

See what some of the last visitors to the top of the car park had to say:

People at Gateshead multistorey carpark

Lots of people went to take photos

Divided opinion

The car park, which was opened in 1969, has always divided opinion - even some of those who visited the top said they were glad it was being demolished.

On woman said of the Brutalist building: "It's of no architectural merit... it's had it's day and it really should go."

But another visitor on the same day said: "I just think it's an amazing piece of architecture, a really amazing building. I think it's a shame that it's going to be knocked down."

Chris Riley, founder of the Get Carter Appreciation Society told BBC Radio Newcastle he wouldn't be too sad to see the car park go.

"It's a bit of a mess now," he said. "It's iconic but I think Gateshead has to be regenerated and it has to go."

Your thoughts

So what do you think of the car park? Will you be sad to see it demolished or glad to see it go? Do you think it's an iconic structure or just an eye sore?

Tell us your views and your memories of the area using the comment box below or you can e-mail us:

last updated: 29/04/2008 at 12:20
created: 13/06/2007

Have Your Say

Tell us your views and memories of the car park.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

carole cross
Love the GET CARTER CAR PARK it was the first place me and my husband had our first kiss and cuddle. We met by mistaken text message we lived 300 miles apart been together 8 years now and that car park means so much to us.

steven
I would hate to see it go because I’m a big fan of films, mostly action films, I also like to look at old pictures and the history of Newcastle and Gateshead, so it’s a way to recognise Gateshead so what if you have the angel or the Millennium bridge, places like London or Manchester have more than 20 landmarks, I hate the angel anyway.

c best
this place is nothing but a closed down hovel. i mean who would want to go to a derelict place for . a museum for an empty market hall and shops. but it will be missed as tesco takes over.

chris
it has always been run down place because the traders always closed but it was a good place shame i didnt go to farewell the car park when it was open

Tracy
I agree that the car park isn't exactly attractive, but how many famous movie locations do we have here?I will be sad to see it go, despite it's looks. It is a part of British film history.The worst thing is replacing it with more Tesco! Do we really need that?! I think the space could maybe be better used. The last thing we need is another Tesco!

MICK
IT SHOULD STAY

Dave Sayers
Think its had its day, it was never used fully anyway,and I think it right that this is part of the plan to regenerate the town centre which is badly needed and long overdue.

Kevin
I watched as take after take was rehersed with a dummy being thrown off the car park. As for the car park all I can say is "planners dreams" at least recently we have put a little pride in what we do with buildings.

Peter Harrison
Fingers crossed for a last minute reprieve unlikely though it is.Repair this film and architectural icon. Redevelop the land around it.

Jon
For far to long people have justified this monstrosity's existence because of the Get Carter link. Demolition is long over due. Dated film, dated building.

Rich
Nearly 4 years after the Tricorn demolition started (another Owen Luder building) absolutely nothing has happenened to the site in Portsmouth,apart from being one of the most expensive city centre car parks.The same may well happen in Gateshead in these economically uncertain times,leaving them with less than they have now.Modern buildings are of course renowned for being pleasing on the eye and not in the slightest cheap and nasty :-)

Harry Proud
Having been sent to Coventry for my sins approx 38 years ago i very often return home to Gateshead and to SJP with either my daughter or `the lads`.I will look forward to the day that `that` car park is demonlished.So what if it featured in a 70s film [classic as it is]it is a monstrosity of a building and surely the local council planners can come up with something better then that.It should have never been granted planning permission in the first place.

David Husbands
I have been living in Newcastle for over a year now and it's very rare I venture into Gateshead. I live in the apartments located behind the Centre of Life and have a full view of the car park across the Tyne from my balcony. It is hideous and does spoil the view! Personally, I can't understand how an eye saw like that was featured in anything, yet alone Get Carter! I'm sure there are other locations we can remember being in the film, not just a dirty boring car park!

Graham Wilkinson, Gateshead
I'm still undecided about whether I think the decision to get rid of the car park is a good or a bad thing. What is a bad thing will be the further Tesco-ification of the town centre. Also a bad thing is Ken Martin (of middle class Hexham's) comments about the Sage being elitist entertainment for the middle classes. The opening of the Sage is the best thing that has happened to Gateshead in years. It is an open door building that anyone can use, the music programmes have a wide range of target audiences and the education programme is first rate. Tickets for most concerts can be bought for a minimum price of £7 - compare that to watching Premiership football. It is pulling people from all over the world. One could argue that a place to park the motor vehicle, which in itself has contributed to the slow decline of Gateshead town centre because of road building policies in the past, will be best forgotten.

andrea mcewan
the sooner the demolition men pull it down the better its about time gateshead moved into this century its such a depressing town

Paul Marshall
Glad to see it go - it is a symbol of everything that was wrong in town planning during the time.

Robert B
The problem isn't just the car park. The sad thing is that this is the most beautiful building in the centre of Gateshead. If they think that knocking the car park down will suddenly make Gateshead centre look beautiful they need to think again...

Andrew D
It's one of the few surviving Owen Luder structures. It is eye-catching and it's a lot more interesting than most of the rest of the architectural dross in town. Rather than put up another bland "design and build" Tesco's, why not restore this potentially wonderful building, clear around it, connect it to the Baltic and the Music centre by cable car, and generally show some imagination?

Tony J
The hospital at Roukes Drift, Gateshead Car Park, The van with those 'doors'...everything has a shelf life..Time to go.

Tony
The carpark should be kept and kept, as Geoff Brown suggests, to provide a centre of focus for the new, all improved Gateshead with the regenerated area surrounding the base of this new central pillar if it is to be a success. No one is disputing the role that the car park was intended to play and by retaining the car park, albeit in a different form, we can still show Gateshead as being a centre of optimism and culture.When I explained the topis with my 8 year old son, his first response was "why can't they just paint it and re-use it?" - ...from the mouths of babes, maybe?

Dave W
Compared to the rest of Gateshead town center it appears to blend perfectly.

Rob H
down with a big block of concrete deemed to be "ugly" and "brutal" for what... a supermarket which will look be stereotypically modeled as a huge aircraft hanger?

ANdy james
Get rid of it.. Its ugly beyond belief and just kinda sums Gateshead city centre up.Grey, bland, boring, old.If its going to be kept, then dont keep it the way it is, make it into something which shows that Gateshead as a city is moving forward and can be proud of.

John Blenkinsop
Before it closed to the public, i drove up to the top. on the way up i could see through the rotting concete to the floors below. Gateshead has had stunted growth due to the lack of vision from the city planners. If the carpark was properly maintained while it was in active service and the residents and planners had an eye on the future then we might have been able to keep a cinematic icon and be able to shop in the area.

Kieran
Iam absolutely delighted to see it getting demolished. it is an absolute eyesore and has no place in a modern skyline!

Alex
Putting the Get Carter fame to one side.Are people in 30 or 40 years time going to call for the destruction of the Sage? This is what it amounts to.The building is one of an era and a great example of that era which is quickly diminishing from our landscapes. The ruin of the area is not to do with the building but the management of the area. We saved the Baltic Flour Mills at great expense, not long ago considered an eyesore. Why not this area?How nice would Eldon Square be, houses on 3 sides?Preserve it, utilise it, regenerate it. Let the small shops survive and flourish instead of bowing to the pressure of supermarket giants, roll over, play dead and join the race of Tesc'ians we are fast becoming.Gateshead allegedly stands for Art... Architecture is art and this is a fine example. More press and publicity would be gained from its survival!Please guys, think carefully before destruction as it can never be rebuilt.

KEN MARTIN - HEXHAM
This car park is an Icon. A real piece of North East culture, not the made-up "culture" that we see on Gateshead Quays these days. The car park represents all that was good and bad in 1960's design. It stands as a monument to the misguided hopes of post war never had it so good Britain. Ugly and brash it deserves it's place on Tyneside's skyline much more than the Sage which has no connection with the local community. The Sage could be on any river bank anywhere. It is elitist entertainment for the middle classes. Ask Mr and Mr Cannybody on Gateshead High Street if they use the Sage and the answer will be "no." But how many of us have used the car park, or seen it in Get Carter?Does history or our culture count for nothing?

christine
i think it is an icon, but it will live forever in the film - it doesnt really need to live for ever in real life. It will be a shame to lose it as a great skating spot for skate boarders when it is raining, but for the general health and happiness of people in gateshead town centre it makes no sense remaining - i think it should be knocked down and i only worry about what they will replace it with in the name of the gateshead folk - i am sure it will make other people rich, not the lives of gateshead people.

Peter Long
It was an eyesore when it was first built and still is. We're ex gateshead geordies and visited Gateshead May 07 from our home in Canada and it still looks ugly. Sell the demolished ruins to all those movie buffs who love it !

Jim, London
Yes the car park is iconic, and it will be missed, but it needs to go. What I find stupifying is that the best replacement the powers that be could suggest is a supermarket! Imagination, anyone?

Paul Norman
I hate it should been knocked down ages ago

Charles Martin
I see the car park in two minds. Yes i think it is an Eye sore due to recent developments around the area like the Sage. Gateshead it a thriving area and need to show that to the rest of the nation.I also feel the Car park is iconic. I'm a Graphic Designer and i see interesting shapes and forms when i walk round it and see it from certain angles. I have wanted to take photographs to show how it could look so much better.Finally I think it should go out with the old in with the new. Gatehead needs a refresh.

ALAN SIMPSON
WE ALL KNOW THE HISTORY BEHIND THE GET CARTER CAR PARK AS IT'S KNOWN BY FANS OF THE GANGSTER MOVIE ALL OVER THE WORLD ,AND AFTER ALL SAID AND DONE THATS ALL IT IS ,HISTORY! TIME FOR GATESHEAD TO MOVE ON. LET'S HOPE THAT GATESHEAD COUNCIL CAN LEARN FROM NEWCASTLE'S ERROR OF JUDGEMENT WHEN IT STEAM-ROLLED THROUGH PLANS TO CLOSE THE GREENMARKET AT A COST TO THE TRADERS WELL ESTABLISHED ,IN THERE.COUNCIL LEADER, MICK HENRY AND CO. WOULD DO WELL TO TREAT THE SHOPKEEPERS OF THE GATESHEAD IN-DOOR MKT WITH TACT AND DIPLOMACY AND OFFER QUALITY HELP IN RE-LOCATING THEIR OUTLETS AS QUICKLY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE

Neil
I like it, it's the architecture around it that has had no thought. Sandra, I'd gladly have it in my garden...if I had one as big as your's!

John Hignett
Understand seeing it go it looks reallth awfull, but to replace it with a big Supermarket is only going to mean the death of gatesheads town centre. id rather see it redeveloped into a Museum all about the north east loacl history and emplyment traditions, you could rifoce it and clas it with solour pannels, it would complement the Sage and bring more of a link with the Gateseahd Quays and a good torist attactriac and local education resourec. the top level could have been used as a viewing terrace with with telescopes the resaruant used at last. But i guess it will be the big named superbermaket instead. so an opportunity to tuen an eyesore into a success will be sadly lost

Barry
Good news. Its about time. Those who want to keep it because of Get Carter should buy the DVD and let the people of Gateshead a more modern and pleasant environment and hopefully investment will increase.

Colin Higham
"Get Carter" is the iconic English gangster movie, a fantastic snapshot of the era and importantly a visual history of the North East. The car park was seen as a visual of the re-generation of the area, not some terrible blot on the landscape. Proof to those down south that we did'nt live in caves and eat raw meat! But as with all things, time moves on and so does the environment we live in. The car park is now an unacceptable feature and should go. But a supermarket??? Can't really picture Craig Daniel throwing Alf Robert's, sorry Norris from its roof though?

Paul
Just because it was in one over-rated film 35 years ago is no reason to keep it.

Sarah
I did have to look at it everyday and loved it - keep it, but redevelop the rest of the town centre, you cannot blame the ugliness on the car park the rest of teh town is in an awful state.

Jed
I used to see it daily from my office window & love it. It's actually very good architecture, though very scruffy close up through lack of maintenance. And 'Get Carter' is one of the best ever gangster films. I worry about what will replace it. There has been indifferent to downright ugly architecture permitted on the Gateshead Quayside in recent years.

Ian
To say the car park is still in use would be untrue. Anyone who knows it knows you would leave your car there at your own peril. Its about time the people of Gateshead had a decent place to shop instead of what they have now (a dump)

Sandra
Its ok for people to try to stop the demolition, but if you had to look at the ugly monstrostity every day, you would wnat to knock it down. If any Get Carter fans want it, buy it and put it in your garden.

Nick Hedley
I think this car park is Newcastle/Gateshead's only real link to an excellent piece of cinema history. Demolition....BOOOOOOOOO!!!

June
Get rid of it - give the people of Gateshead who pay their council tax something to be proud of in a town centre instead of a ramshackle run-down hovel full of closed down businesses and empty shops.

Alex
It can't go soon enough. The only people who want to keep it are those who don't have to look at it every day. Iconic design? It's a car park, and a remarkably ugly one at that. My 10 month old son can do better with building bricks.

peter
Its just a carpark and the north east deserves to improve.

Andy B
Shame, great piece of architecture. A monument to it's time. The rest of the Gateshead town centre does need developing, but could have kept that as a monument to 60s architecture. Probably the only distinctive building in gateshead centre.

kate
i used to live in gateshead before i moved to australia.. it'll be sad to see it go, but exciting to see what comes :)

martin
glad to see it go, its very unsightly and does nothing for the image of the area/

Darren W
Very sad to see it go.Welcome to Tesco Town!

gordon
Alan j a mediocre film you are not one of these people who complain about pension top ups are you?

Andy
Demolition can't come soon enough; one of the worst town centres in the UK - I live on the outskirts of Gateshead but am absolutely ashamed on the few occasions when I am forced to visit it. Gateshead will remain a laughing stock of a northern town until this monstrosity goes and the whole central area is redeveloped.

Sam
I've noticed recently when travelling by train over the tyne the car park can be spotted easily. It sticks out badly. Nice to see it go.

Steve S, Morpeth
The carpark should be demolished as soon as possible. All this talk about 'Get Carter' - it is hardly a good publicity film for Newcastle!!

Michael Matthison
So pleased to see it go as it is nothing but a blot on the landscape. spend a nice afternoon at the Gateshead Quays and as you travel back you are confronted by that eyesore.

Ian
Glad to see it go. Travelling regularly by rail through Newcastle, the biggest blot on the whole redeveloping landscape is that frightful car-park. Down with it, and the sooner the better. Get Carter? What's that?

Alan J
About time, this withered concrete shrine to what was frankly a mediocre film is finally to go. With a bit of luck in 30 or so years the Sage will follow it.

Chris
I'm absolutely over the moon about the decision. It's a blot on the landscape. Gateshead town centre needs regenerating and this could be the first steps.

Geoff Brown
Were it to be left there it could become a museum with cafes, shops and a small theatre and cinema complex attracting worlwide audiences for classic cult productions. If people can flock to an old flour mill displaying dubious art it would certainly have to take second place behind 'The Carter Complex!'

Loz
Could I push the detonation plunger please?

Steve C
Excellent news. About time it came down, it's awful.

Rob James
I'm absolutely gutted that it's being demolished! I strongly believe it has enough merit to allow it to stand along with Sage and Baltic as an advert for Gateshead, who as a council are not afraid of bold architecture. I could quite happily live without Grainger Town, but I'll be distraught when the bulldozers move in. We've already lost it's sister, Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre, so why can't this be refurbished and kept?

Rachel
Thank god for that, it's been an eyesore for years.

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