Work begins on Get Carter car park
Published 26/07/2010 | 15:22
Work has begun on the demolition of the car park made famous by Michael Caine classic Get Carter.
Like many of Britain's handful of Brutalist buildings, designed mostly in the 1960s in an era of utopian idealism, it has been widely seen by the public as an eyesore, not an icon.
Today it stands in the way of Gateshead's 2010 take on town centre utopia - a retail and student village scheme delivered by Spenhill, Tesco's regeneration subsidiary.
Now, in the presence of Owen Luder, the car park's architect and one of the British Brutalist movement's leading exponents, work began to demolish the car park. Mr Luder was making a final visit to the structure's extraordinary rooftop box, built 124ft up as a nightclub with stunning views across Tyneside, but never used.
He said it was a sad day and that Gateshead was losing its "front teeth".
Mr Luder added he thought the car park should be kept and the shops below it revamped.
"It was allowed to deteriorate, it obviously looks an eyesore. In fact it could be renovated," he said. "The sad thing is of course that in 20 or 30 years time when they in fact are going to demolish what is going to be built now, there won't be interviews on that."
The multi-storey car park achieved notoriety by featuring in the 1970s film, in which Caine played gangster Jack Carter. It opened in August 1969 and closed in January 2008.
It the movie, the underworld figure returned to Newcastle to try to find out the truth about his brother's death.
In one scene Carter threw local businessman Cliff Brumby, played by the late Bryan Mosley, to his death from the car park.