Metro stained glass art work set for major restoration scheme

Nexus Project Manager Simon Manley and stained glass artist Cate Watkinson with the art work at Monkseaton Metro station
15 June 2023

Colourful stained glass art works which have adorned a North Tyneside Metro station for 40 years are to be restored to their former glory. 

The ‘Beach & Shipyards’ installation, which bookends the historic canopy at Monkseaton Metro station with iconic designs in stained glass, is to be painstakingly cleaned and repaired at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre.

And a former pupil of the artist who first created it will be undertaking the restoration work. 

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the project formed part of a £400,000 scheme to refurbish the gable ends of the station canopy, which dates back to 1915, preserving the canopy and the stained-glass windows for many years to come. 

Artist Mike Davis incorporated stained glass into each end of Monkseaton’s glazed canopy in 1983.

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

The restoration work will see the stained-glass panels carefully removed from the canopy and transported to the National Glass Centre. 

Nexus are refurbishing the glazing and steel structures that make up the gable ends of the canopy, ensuring the longevity of the structure for years to come. The glazing will be toughened so that it will be more resistant to vandalism and bad weather. 

Stained glass artist, Cate Watkinson, has been tasked with restoring the stained glass art work. She will re-lead each panel before carefully cleaning and polishing them.

And it promises to be a real labour of love for Cate, who trained as a stained-glass artist under the expert supervision of Mike Davis when she studied at the old Sunderland Polytechnic. 

By taking on the Monkseaton Metro station project Cate will be working to preserve one of her mentor’s very own commissions.

She said: “It’s lovely for me to get the task of restoring this amazing stained glass installation, and make it as good as it was 40 years ago.

“I studied for my degree under Mike Davis, and now, four decades later, I get the chance to use the skills that he taught me to ensure that a piece of his work is going to be preserved for many years to come. I can’t wait to get started. 

“Nexus will be carefully removing the glazed panels. They will then be transported to the National Glass Centre in Sunderland for the repairs to be carried out. 

“The broken panes will be pulled apart and re-leaded. The glass will be carefully cleaned and polished so that it’s ready for re-installation. It will be painstaking work but by the time it’s finished there will be no cracks in the glass and it will look as good as new.” 

Head of Renewals at Nexus, Sarah McManus, said: “The stained glass art work at Monkseaton Metro station is one of the most striking pieces of public art on Metro, and really has become an iconic feature of the station’s historic canopy. 

“We are investing in a range of repairs to the canopy and the restoration of the stained glass is a key element of the scheme, so that customers can enjoy this amazing piece of art work for many years to come.

“It’s amazing that Mike’s former student Cate Watkinson is getting the opportunity to restore his work to its former glory over at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

“‘Beaches and Shipyards’ played such 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 will be fantastic to see this unique piece of art looking as good as new again.”

Rachel Smith, Director of NGG, said: “We’re delighted that National Glass Centre will play a role in restoring Mike Davis’s work. Beach and Shipyards is a well-known and well-loved public artwork, and it’s apt that Cate is leading on its restoration – as someone who studied under Mike and is now a leading academic at University of Sunderland and National Glass Centre, as well as a respected artist in her own right.”

The car park at the Monkseaton Metro station will be used as the work compound and for welfare facilities for the contractors and will be closed from 18 May until late November.

Some station entrances at Monkseaton may need to be closed temporarily, but the station itself will remain open to customers for the duration of the project.


Restoring the canopy at Monkseaton Metro station

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