Architectural Oddities: The Newcastle Vampire Rabbit

by Steve Ellwood | 22 September 2004

Located adjacent to St Nicholas's Churchyard in Newcastle Upon Tyne is a mystery which has remained unsolved for a number of years. What is the mystery? It's the strange animal which stands guard over the doorway into an office block.

shows an ornate doorway with large double doors and arched and round windows above it. The doorway is surrounded by an ornate pink and white porch. The 'Vampire Rabbit' sits on the arch at the top.

The Mystery Doorway. © Steve Ellwood

The Vampire Rabbit sits menacingly, with it's staring eyes and bared fangs above an ornate arched doorway of the 20th century Cathedral Buildings, just waiting for darkness before it comes to life and leaps onto a passing victim!

shows a close-up of the 'Vampire Rabbit' - a gargoyle resembling a rabbit - it is painted black with red fangs and claws.

The Vampire Rabbit. © Steve Ellwood

No one seems to know why the Vampire Rabbit sits in a Newcastle back lane but there is a story that the rabbit is actually a 'hare', during renovations of the building several years ago, the ears were accidentally knocked off and inadvertently replaced the wrong way around.

So will this mystery ever be solved, why is the rabbit there and what does it represent?

Can anyone explain the mystery of the 'Vampire Rabbit'? Do you know of any other architectural oddities in the North East? Click on the 'Get Involved' box on this page to find out how to send us your stories that reveal the heritage (however small!) of Newcastle and Gateshead.

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