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Newcastle upon Tyne ( ) (often shortened to Newcastle) is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Situated on the north bank of the River Tyne, the city developed in the area that was the location of the Roman settlement called Pons Aeliusmarker, though it owes its name to the castlemarker built in 1080, by Robert II, the eldest son of William the Conqueror. The city grew as an important centre for the wool trade and it later became a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres. These industries have since experienced severe decline and closure, and the city today is largely a business and cultural centre, with a particular reputation for nightlife.

Like most cities, Newcastle has a diverse cross section, having areas of poverty to areas of affluence. Among its main icons are Newcastle Brown Ale, a leading brand of beer, Newcastle United F.C., a Football League Championship team, and the Tyne Bridgemarker. It has hosted the world's most popular half marathon, the Great North Run, since it began in 1981.

The city is the twentieth most populous in England; the larger Tyneside conurbationmarker, of which Newcastle forms part, is the sixth most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the English Core Cities Group and with Gateshead the Eurocities network of European cities.

The regional nickname for people from Newcastle and the surrounding area is Geordie.



The first settlement in what is now Newcastle was Pons Aeliusmarker, a Roman fort and bridge across the River Tyne and given the family name of the Roman Emperor Hadrian who founded it in the 2nd century AD. The population of Pons Aelius at this period was estimated at 2,000. Hadrian's Wallmarker is still visible in parts of Newcastle, particularly along the West Road. The course of the "Roman Wall" can also be traced eastwards to the Segedunummarker Roman fort in Wallsendmarker - the wall's end and to the supply fort Arbeiamarker in South Shieldsmarker. The extent of Hadrian's Wall was , spanning the width of Britain; the wall incorporated Agricola's Ditch and was constructed primarily to prevent unwanted immigration and incursion of Pictish tribes from the north, not as a fighting line for a major invasion.

Anglo-Saxon and Norman

After the Roman departure from Britain, completed in 410, Newcastle became part of the powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbriamarker, and became known throughout this period as Monkchester. After a series of conflicts with the Danes and the devastation north of the River Tyne inflicted by Odo of Bayeux after the 1080 rebellion against the Normans, Monkchester was all but destroyed. Because of its strategic position, Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror, erected a wooden castlemarker there in the year 1080 and the town was henceforth known as Novum Castellum or New Castle.

Middle Ages

Throughout the Middle Ages, Newcastle was England's northern fortress. Incorporated first by Henry II, a new charter was granted by Elizabeth in 1589. A high stone wallmarker was built around the town in the 13th century, to defend it from invaders during the Bordermarker war against Scotland. The Scots king William the Lion was imprisoned in Newcastle in 1174, and Edward I brought the Stone of Scone and William Wallace south through the town. Newcastle was successfully defended against the Scots three times during the 14th century, and was created a county corporate with its own sheriff by Henry IV in 1400.

16th to 19th century

From 1530 a royal act restricted all shipments of coal from Tyneside to Newcastle Quaysidemarker, giving a monopoly in the coal trade to a cartel of Newcastle burgesses known as the Hostmen. This monopoly, which lasted for a considerable time, helped Newcastle prosper, but it had its impact on the growth of near-neighbours Sunderlandmarker, causing a Tynesidemarker and a Wearsidemarker rivalry that still exists. In the Sandgate area, to the east of the city and beside the river, resided the close-knit community of keelmen and their families. They were so called because they worked on the keels, boats that were used to transfer coal from the river banks to the waiting colliers, for export to London and elsewhere. In 1636 about 7,000 out of 20,000 inhabitants of Newcastle died of plague.

During the English Civil War, Newcastle supported the king and in 1644 was stormed ('with roaring drummes') by Cromwell's Scots allies, based in pro-Parliament Sunderland. The grateful King bestowed the motto "Fortiter Defendit Triumphans" ("Triumphing by a brave defence") upon the town. Ironically, Charles was imprisoned in Newcastle by the Scots in 1646-7.

In the 18th century, Newcastle was the country's fourth largest print centre after London, Oxfordmarker and Cambridgemarker, and the Literary and Philosophical Society of 1793, with its erudite debates and large stock of books in several languages, predated the London Librarymarker by half a century. Newcastle also became a glass producer with a reputation for brilliant flint glass.

Newcastle's development as a major city, however, owed most to its central role in the export of coal. The phrase taking coals to Newcastle was first recorded in 1538. In the 19th century, shipbuilding and heavy engineering were central to the city's prosperity; and the city was a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Innovation in Newcastle and surrounding areas included the development of safety lamps, Stephenson's Rocket, Lord Armstrong's artillery, Be-Ro flour, Joseph Swan's electric light bulbs, and Charles Parsons' invention of the steam turbine, which led to the revolution of marine propulsion and the production of cheap electricity.


Newcastle is situated in the North East of England, in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear and the historical and traditional county of Northumberlandmarker. The city is located on the northern bank of the River Tyne at a latitude of 54.974° N and a longitude of 1.614° W.

The geology of the area is most famous for its large deposits of coal. Whilst the local bedrock consists mainly of carboniferous rocks, millstone grit and oolite are also present.

The climate in Newcastle is temperate, although significantly warmer than some other locations at a similar latitude due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream (via the North Atlantic Drift). Being in the rain shadow of the North Penninesmarker, it is among the driest cities in the UK.
Side, a street in Newcastle near the Tyne Bridge
In large parts, Newcastle still retains a medieval street layout. Narrow alleys or 'chares', most of which can only be traversed by foot, still exist in abundance, particularly around the riversidemarker. Stairs from the riversidemarker to higher parts of the city centre and the extant Castle Keepmarker, originally recorded in the 14th century, remain in places. Close, Sandhill and Quaysidemarker contain modern buildings as well as structures dating from the 15th-18th centuries, including Bessie Surtees Housemarker, the Cooperage and Lloyds Quayside Bars, Derwentwater House and the currently unused Grade I-listed 16th century merchant's house at 28-30 Close.

The city has an extensive neoclassical centre, largely developed in the 1830s by Richard Grainger and John Dobson, and recently extensively restored. Broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie describes Newcastle as England's best-looking city and Grey Street, which curves down from Grey's Monumentmarker towards the valley of the River Tyne, was voted as England's finest street in 2005 in a survey of BBC Radio 4 listeners. A portion of Grainger Town was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Eldon Squaremarker Shopping Centre, including all but one side of the original Eldon Squaremarker itself.

Immediately to the northwest of the city centre is Leazes Parkmarker, established in 1873 after a petition by 3,000 working men of the city for "ready access to some open ground for the purpose of health and recreation". Just outside one corner of this is St James' Parkmarker, the stadium home of Newcastle United F.C. which dominates the view of the city from all directions.

Another green space in Newcastle is the vast Town Moormarker, lying immediately north of the city centre. It is larger than Hyde Parkmarker and Hampstead Heathmarker put together and the freemen of the city have the right to graze cattle on it. Unlike other cities where similar rights exist, they often take advantage of this. The right incidentally extends to the pitch of St. James' Parkmarker, Newcastle United Football Club's groundmarker, though this is not exercised, although the Freemen do collect rent for the loss of privilege. Honorary freemen include Bob Geldof, Nelson Mandela, Alan Shearer and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Hoppings funfair, said to be the largest travelling fair in Europe, is held here annually in June.

In the south eastern corner is Exhibition Park, which contains the only remaining pavilion from the North East Coast Exhibition of 1929. Since the 1970s this has housed the Newcastle Military Vehicle Museum; this is closed until further notice because of structural problems with the building - originally a temporary structure.

The wooded gorge of the Ouseburnmarker in the east of the city is known as Jesmond Denemarker and forms another popular recreation area, linked by Armstrong Park and Heaton Park to the Ouseburn Valleymarker, where the river finally reaches the River Tyne.

Notable Newcastle housing developments include Ralph Erskine's the Byker Wallmarker designed in the 1960s and now Grade II* listed. It is on UNESCOmarker's list of outstanding 20th century buildings.

Newcastle's thriving Chinatown lies in the north-west of Grainger Town, centred on Stowell Street. A new Chinese arch, or paifang, providing a landmark entrance, was handed over to the city with a ceremony in 2005.

The UK'smarker first biotechnology village, the "Centre for Lifemarker" is located in the city centre close to the Central Stationmarker. The village is the first step in the City Council's plans to transform Newcastle into a science city.

Newcastle was voted as the Best City in the North in April 2007 by The Daily Telegraph newspaper - beating Liverpoolmarker, Manchestermarker, Sheffieldmarker and Leedsmarker in an online poll conducted of its readers.

Quayside and bridges on the Tyne

The Tyne Gorge between Newcastle on the north bank and Gatesheadmarker - a separate town and borough - on the south bank, is famous for a series of dramatic bridges, including the Tyne Bridgemarker of 1928 which was built by Dorman Long of Middlesbroughmarker, and Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridgemarker of 1849, the first road/rail bridge in the world. Large-scale regeneration has replaced former shipping premises with imposing new office developments; an innovative tilting bridge, the Gateshead Millennium Bridgemarker was commissioned by Gateshead Council and has integrated the older Newcastle Quaysidemarker more closely with major cultural developments in Gateshead, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Artmarker and the Norman Foster-designed The Sage Gatesheadmarker music centre. The Newcastle & Gatesheadmarker Quaysides are now a thriving, cosmopolitan area with bars, restaurants and public spaces. As a tourist promotion, Newcastle and Gateshead have linked together under the banner "NewcastleGateshead", to spearhead the regeneration of the North-East.

The River Tyne had a temporary Bambuco Bridgemarker in 2008 for 10 days, it was not made for walking, road or cycling, but was just a sculpture.

Grainger Town

The historic heart of Newcastle is the Grainger Town area. Based around classical streets built by Richard Grainger, a builder and developer, between 1835 and 1842, some of Newcastle upon Tyne's finest buildings and streets lie within this area of the city centre including Grainger Market, Theatre Royalmarker, Grey Street, Grainger Street and Clayton Street. These buildings are predominately four storeys, with vertical dormers, domes, turrets and spikes. Richard Grainger was said to 'have found Newcastle of bricks and timber and left it in stone'. Of Grainger Towns 450 buildings, 244 are listed, of which 29 are grade I and 49 are grade II*.

The development of the city in the 1960s and 1970s saw the demolition of part of Grainger Town as a prelude to the modernist rebuilding initiatives of T. Dan Smith, the leader of Newcastle City Council. A corruption scandal was uncovered involving Smith and John Poulson, a property developer, and both were jailed. Echoes of the scandal were revisited in the late 1990s in the BBC TV mini-series, Our Friends in the North.


Newcastle played a major role during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, and was a leading centre for coal mining and manufacturing. Heavy industries in Newcastle declined in the second half of the 20th century; office, service and retail employment are now the city's staples.

Newcastle is the commercial, educational and, in partnership with nearby Gatesheadmarker, the cultural focus for North East England. As part of Tyneside, Newcastle's economy contributes around £13 billion to the UK GVA. The Central Business District is in the centre of the city, bounded by Haymarket, Central Stationmarker and the Quaysidemarker areas.


There are several major shopping areas in Newcastle city centre. The largest of these is the Eldon Square Shopping Centremarker, which incorporates the first and largest Fenwick department store, and a John Lewismarker store, formerly known as Bainbridges. As Bainbridges, this store was possibly " of the earliest of all department stores". Eldon Square is currently undergoing a full redevelopment. A new bus station, replacing the old underground bus station, was officially opened in March 2007. The wing of the centre, including the undercover Green Market, near Grainger Street and The Gatemarker was demolished in 2007 so that the area could be redeveloped.

The main shopping street in the city is Northumberland Streetmarker. In a 2004 report, it was ranked as the most expensive shopping street in the UK for rent, outside of London. Other shopping centres in Newcastle include the relatively modern Eldon Garden and Monument Mallmarker complexes, the Newgate Centre, Central Arcademarker and the traditional Grainger Market. Outside the city centre, the largest suburban shopping areas are Gosforthmarker and Bykermarker. The largest Tescomarker store in the United Kingdom is located in Kingston Parkmarker on the edge of Newcastle.Close to Newcastle, the largest indoor shopping centre in Europe, the MetroCentremarker, is located in Gatesheadmarker.



According to the UK Government's 2001 census, the city of Newcastle has a population of 189,863, whereas the unitary authority of Newcastle has a population of around 259,500. However, the metropolitan boroughs of North Tyneside (population c.190,000), South Tyneside (population c. 150,000) and Gatesheadmarker (population c.200,000) are also part of the Tyneside conurbation, giving the Newcastle-Gateshead metropolitan area a population of 799,000. According to the same statistics, the average age of people living in Newcastle is 37.8 (the national average being 38.6). 93.1% of the population are of white British ethnic background (the national average being 91.3%). Many people in the city have Scottish and Irish ancestors. There is a strong presence of Border Reiver surnames, such as Armstrong, Charlton, Elliot, Johnstone, Kerr, Hall, Nixon, Robson etc. Other ethnic groups in Newcastle, in order of population size, are Pakistani at 1.9% and Indians at 1.2%. There are also small but significant Chinese, Jewish and Eastern European (Polish, Czech Roma) populations. There are also estimated to be between 500 and 2,000 Bolivians in Newcastle, which is the largest percentage for any UK city (up to 1% of the local population).

The city is largely Christian at 70.6%; Muslims form 3.6%, and over 16% have no religion.

According to 2008 figures, the city's ethnic make-up is as follows:

  • White – 90.5%
  • South Asian – 5.2%
  • Black – 1.1%
  • Chinese – 1.1%
  • Mixed-race – 1.2%
  • Other – 0.8%

The regional nickname for people from Newcastle and the surrounding area is Geordie. The Latin term Novocastrian, which can equally be applied to residents of any place called Newcastle, is also used for ex-pupils of the city's Royal Grammar Schoolmarker.

Year and current total population

  • 1801 – 33,322
  • 1851 – 80,184
  • 1901 – 246,905
  • 1911 – 293,944
  • 1921 – 309,820
  • 1931 – 326,576
  • 1941 – 333,286
  • 1951 – 340,155
  • 1961 – 323,844
  • 1971 – 308,317
  • 1981 – 272,923
  • 1991 – 277,723
  • 2001 – 259,573
  • 2007 – 271,600
  • 2008 – 273,600


The dialect of Newcastle is known as Geordie, and contains a large amount of vocabulary and distinctive word pronunciations not used in other parts of the United Kingdom. The Geordie dialect has much of its origins in the language spoken by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries, who were employed by the Ancient British people to fight Pictish invaders, following the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain in the 4th century. This language was the forerunner of Modern English; but while the dialects of other English regions have been heavily altered by the influences of other foreign languages—particularly Latin and Norman–French—the Geordie dialect retains many elements of the old language. An example of this is the pronunciation of certain words: "dead", "cow", "house" and "strong" are pronounced "dede", "coo", "hoos" and "strang"—which is how they were pronounced in the Anglo-Saxon language. Other Geordie words with Anglo-Saxon origins include: "larn" (from the Anglo-Saxon "laeran", meaning "teach"), "burn" ("stream") and "gan" ("go"). Some words used in the Geordie dialect are used elsewhere in the northern United Kingdom. The words "bonny" (meaning "pretty"), "howay" ("come on"), "stot" ("bounce") and "hadaway" ("go away" or "you're kidding"), all appear to be used in Scottish dialect; "aye" ("yes") and "nowt" (IPA://naʊt/, rhymes with out,"nothing") are used elsewhere in northern England. Many words, however, appear to be used exclusively in Newcastle and the surrounding area, such as "Canny" (a versatile word meaning "good", "nice" or "very"), "bait" ("food"), "hacky" ("dirty"), "netty" ("toilet"), "hoy" ("throw"), "hockle" ("spit").


Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country and is ranked seventh in the country for confidence in doctors. Newcastle has three large teaching hospitals: the Royal Victoria Infirmarymarker, the Newcastle General Hospitalmarker and the Freeman Hospitalmarker, which is also a pioneering centre for transplant surgery.

In a report, published in early February 2007 by the Ear Institute at the University College Londonmarker, and Widex, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer, Newcastle was named as the noisiest city in the whole of the UK, with an average level of 80.4 decibels. The report claimed that these noise levels would have a negative long-term impact on the health of the city's residents. The report was criticised, however, for attaching too much weight to readings at arbitrarily selected locations, which in Newcastle's case included a motorway underpass without pedestrian access.



Newcastle has a reputation for being a fun-loving city with many bars, restaurants and nightclubs. More recently, Newcastle has become popular as a destination for Stag and Hen parties. Newcastle was in the top ten of the country's top night spots, and The Rough Guide to Britain placed Newcastle upon Tyne's nightlife as Great Britain's no. 1 tourist attraction.

There are notable concentrations of pubs, bars and nightclubs around the Bigg Market, and the Quaysidemarker area of the city centre. There are many bars on the Bigg Market, and other popular areas for nightlife are Collingwood Street, Neville Street, the Central Stationmarker area and Osborne Road in the Jesmondmarker area of the city. In recent years "The Gatemarker" has opened in the city centre, a new indoor complex consisting of bars, upmarket clubs, restaurants and a 12-screen Empire multiplex cinema.

Focused on the Times Square area near the Centre for Lifemarker, the "Scene" is the centre of Newcastle's gay scene and hosts many bars and pubs and two clubs. James Green was a pioneer of the gay scene in Newcastle and his initial work campaigning for gay rights has been hugely beneficial to young gay men wanting action on a night out. The community has seen much expansion in the past five years, with further growth planned in the future.

The city has a wide variety of restaurants such as Italian, Indian, Persian, Japanese, Greek, Mexican, Spanish, American, Polish, Malaysian, French, Mongolian, Moroccan, Thai food , Vietnamese, and has a Chinese village with many Chinese restaurants on Stowell Street. There has also been a growth in premium restaurants in recent years with top chefs.

Significant changes in the last ten years have been increased opening hours, more upmarket bars, a greater range of clubs and some of the older traditional pubs closing, although many have been revamped and remain very popular.

The music video for Pet Shop Boys 1990 hit "So Hard" shows Newcastle's nightlife around various parts of the city on a Friday night. The extended mix of the track also shows even more shots of the city's nightlife, clearly late on a Friday night.


Frontage of the Theatre Royal
The city contains many theatres. The largest, the Theatre Royalmarker on Grey Street, first opened in 1837. It has hosted a season of performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company for over 25 years, as well as touring productions of West Endmarker musicals. The Journal Tyne Theatremarker hosts smaller touring productions, whilst other venues feature local talent. Northern Stagemarker, formally known as the Newcastle Playhouse and Gulbenkian Studio, hosts various local, national and international productions in addition to those produced by the Northern Stage company. Other theatres in the city include the Live Theatremarker, the People's Theatremarker, the Roundmarker and the Jubilee Theatremarker. NewcastleGateshead was voted in 2006 as the arts capital of the UK in a survey conducted by the Artsworld TV channel.


Newcastle has a strong reputation as a poetry centre. The Morden Towermarker, run by poet Tom Pickard is a major venue for poetry readings in the North East, being the place where Basil Bunting gave the first reading of Briggflatts in 1965.

Festivals and fairs

The arch to Chinatown, opposite St. James' Park
In February, Newcastle's Chinatown is at the centre of a carnival of colour and noise as the city celebrates the Chinese New Year.In early March there is the NewcastleGateshead Comedy Festival, this event makes a return to the region since the last event in 2006, it is hoped it will now continue as an annual event. The Newcastle Science Festival, now called Newcastle ScienceFest returns annually in early March.

The Newcastle Beer Festival, organised by CAMRAmarker, takes place in April. In May, Newcastle and Gatesheadmarker host the Evolution Festival, a music festival held on the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysidesmarker over the Spring bank holiday, with performances by acts from the world of Rock, Indie and Dance music. The biennial AV Festival of international electronic art, featuring exhibitions, concerts, conferences and film screenings, is held in March. EAT! NewcastleGateshead, a festival of food and drink, runs for 2 weeks each year in early May. Also held in late May is the North East Art Expo, a festival of art and design from the regions professional artists.

The Hoppings, reputedly the largest travelling fair in Europe, takes place on Newcastle Town Moormarker every June. The event has its origins in the Temperance Movement during the early 1880s and coincides with the annual race week at High Gosforth Park. Newcastle Community Green Festival, which claims to be the UK’s biggest free community environmental festival, also takes place every June, in Leazes Parkmarker. The Northern Rock Cyclone, a cycling festival, takes place within, or starting from, Newcastle in June. The Ouseburn Festival, a family oriented weekend festival near the city centre, incorporating a "Family Fun Day" and "Carnival Day", is held in late July.

Newcastle Mela, held on the late August bank holiday weekend, is an annual two-day multicultural event, blending drama, music and food from Punjabi, Pakistani, Bengali and Hindu cultures. NewcastleGateshead also holds an annual International Arts Fair. The 2009 event will be in the Norman Foster designed Sage Gatesheadmarker Music and Arts Centre in September. In October, there is the Design Event festival—an annual festival providing the public with an opportunity to see work by regional, national and international designers.The SAMA Festival, an East Asian cultural festival is also held in early October.


The 1960s saw the internationally successful rock group The Animals, emerge from Newcastle night spots such as Club A-Go-Go on Percy Street. Other well-known acts with connections to the city include Sting, Bryan Ferry, Dire Straits and more recently Maxïmo Park. There is also a thriving underground music scene that encompasses a variety of styles, including Drum and Bass, doom metal and Post-rock.

Lindisfarne are a folk-rock group with a strong Tynesidemarker connection. Their most famous song, "Fog on the Tyne" (1971), was covered by Geordie ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne in 1990. Venom, reckoned by many to be the originators of black metal and extremely influential to the extreme metal scene as a whole, formed in Newcastle in 1979. Folk metal band Skyclad, often regarded as the first folk metal band, also formed in Newcastle after the breakup of Martin Walkyier thrash metal band, Sabbat.

The predominant record company in Newcastle is Kitchenware Records (circa 1982), previously home to acclaimed bands such as Prefab Sprout, Martin Stephenson and the Daintees and Fatima Mansions, the management of The Lighthouse Family and home to recent successes Editors as well as other bands of varied genres.

The 1990s boom in progressive house music saw the city's Global Underground record label corner the market in the mix CD market with the likes of Sasha, Paul Oakenfold, James Lavelle, and Danny Howells recording mix compilations. The label is still going strong today with offices in London and New York, and new releases from Deep Dish and Adam Freeland.

Concert venues

Metro Radio Arena
The largest music venue in the city is the 11,000-seat Metro Radio Arenamarker, which is situated in the south of the city centre near the Centre for Lifemarker. The 2,000-seat Newcastle City Hallmarker holds a number of music events every month, particularly featuring solo artists. Both of the city's universities also have large performance venues (each holding around 2,000 people).

On 14 October 2005, the 2,000 capacity O2 Academy Newcastlemarker opened, providing a new music venue in the city centre. The opening night was headlined by The Futureheads and the profile of the venue has attracted a greater variety of bands to play in the city. The O2 Academy Newcastle is the newest in a string of Academies to be opened across the UK.

Other popular music venues in the city include The Head of Steam, which is near Newcastle Central railway stationmarker, and Trillians Rock Bar at Princess Square. The Cluny and the Cumberland Arms are both situated in the Ouseburn Valleymarker between the city centre and Bykermarker.

Museums and galleries

There are several museums and galleries in Newcastle, including the Discovery Museummarker, the Great North Museummarker, Gallagher & Turner Gallery, the Laing Art Gallerymarker, and the Newburn Hall Motor Museum.

In Film

The 1971 film Get Carter features the city of Newcastle as one of its stars. The film was shot on location in and around Newcastle and offers an opportunity to see what Newcastle looked like in the 1960s and early 1970s.


The city has a strong sporting tradition. Football club Newcastle United has been based at St James' Parkmarker since the club was established in 1892, although any traces of the original structure are now long gone as the stadium now holds more than 52,000 seated spectators.

The city also has a non-League football club, Newcastle Benfieldmarker. Also based in Newcastle are Guinness Premiership rugby union side Newcastle Falcons and 1996 Pilkington Shield winners Medicals RFC.

The Metro Radio Arena is home to Newcastle Vipers ice hockey team and Newcastle Eagles basketball team.The city's speedway team Newcastle Diamonds are based at Brough Park in Bykermarker, a venue that is also home to greyhound racing. The Brough Park promotion entered a team in the 1929 English Dirt Track league. The team known as the Diamonds operated before the war and, after an open season in 1945, the Diamonds operated from 1946 to 1951. In 1949 the team were known as the Magpies. The track reopened in 1961 and has operated, with a few breaks, since then.The first track to open in Newcastle was at Gosforth Stadium but this only operated from mid 1928 until 1930 on a regular basis and a single meeting was staged 1931. The Gosforth promotion entered a team in the 1930 Northern League. Newcastle Racecoursemarker at High Gosforth Parkmarker holds regular meets, including the prestigious race for the Northumberland Plate, first run in 1838, which takes place in June each year.

Newcastle also hosts the start of the annual Great North Run, the world's largest half-marathon in which participants race over the Tyne Bridgemarker into Gatesheadmarker and then towards the finish line away on the coast at South Shieldsmarker. Another famous athletic event is the Blaydon Race (a road race from Newcastle to Blaydonmarker), which has taken place on 9 June annually since 1981, to commemorate the celebrated Blaydon Races horse racing.


Newcastle is governed using the leader and cabinet system, and the executive is Liberal Democrat, as they have 49 councillors against the Labour Party's 29. No other parties hold seats on the city's council.

For the purposes of City Council elections, Newcastle is divided into 26 electoral wards.



Newcastle International Airport is located approximately from the city centre on the northern outskirts of the city near Pontelandmarker. The airport handles over five million passengers per year, and is the tenth largest, and the fastest growing regional airport in the UK, expecting to reach 10 million passengers by 2016, and 15 million by 2030. As of 2007, over 90 destinations are available worldwide.


Newcastle Central Station
Newcastle railway station, also known as Newcastle Central Station, is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line and Cross Country Route. Opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria, it was the first covered railway station in the world and was much copied across the UK. It has a neoclassical facade, originally designed by the architect John Dobson, and was constructed in collaboration with Robert Stephenson. The first services were operated by the North Eastern Railway company. The city's other mainline station, Manorsmarker, is to the east of the city centre.

Train operator National Express East Coast provides a half-hourly frequency of trains to London King's Crossmarker, with a journey time of about three hours. CrossCountry and First TransPennine Express operate regular services to many major destinations, whereas Northern Rail provides local and regional services.


The city is served by the Tyne and Wear Metro, a system of suburban and underground railways covering a lot of Tyne and Wear. It was opened in five phases between 1980 and 1984, and was Britain's first urban light rail transit system; two extensions were opened in 1991 and 2002. It was developed from a combination of existing and newly built tracks and stations, with deep-level tunnels constructed through Newcastle city centre. A bridgemarker was built across the Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead, and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1981. The network is operated by Nexus and carries over 37 million passengers a year, extending as far as Newcastle Airport, Tynemouth, South Shieldsmarker and South Hyltonmarker in Sunderlandmarker. The Metro system is the first in the UK to have mobile phone antennae installed in the tunnels.

The Metro consists of two lines. The Green line starts at Newcastle Airport, goes through the city centre and into Sunderland, terminating at South Hylton. The yellow line starts at St. James Park, runs north of the river alongside Byker towards Whitley Bay, before returning to the city, on to Gateshead and terminates at South Shields.


Major roads in the area include the A1marker (Gateshead Newcastle Western Bypass), stretching north to Edinburghmarker and south to London; the A19 heading south past Sunderlandmarker and Middlesbroughmarker to Yorkmarker and Doncastermarker; the A69 heading west to Carlislemarker; the A167, the old "Great North Road", heading south to Gatesheadmarker, Chester-le-Streetmarker, Durhammarker and Darlingtonmarker; and the A1058 "Coast Road", which runs from Jesmondmarker to the east coast between Tynemouthmarker and Cullercoatsmarker. Many of these designations are recent—upon completion of the Western Bypass, and its designation as the new line of the A1, the roads between this and the former line through the Tyne Tunnelmarker were renumbered, with many city centre roads changing from a 6-prefix to their present 1-prefix numbers.


There are 3 main bus companies providing services in the city; Arriva Northumbria, Go North East and Stagecoach North East. Arriva services mainly operate from Haymarket Bus Stationmarker to Gosforthmarker and the northern surburbs, North Tyneside and Northumberlandmarker. Go-Ahead operates mainly from Eldon Square Bus Stationmarker and Grainger Town to Gatesheadmarker, Metro Centre and County Durham. Stagecoach in Newcastle is the main operater in the city proper, providing services mainly between both the West and East ends via the city centre. Bus Services in Newcastle upon Tyne and the surrounding boroughs part of the Tyne and Wear area are coordinated by Nexus, the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive. Other major departure points are Pilgrim Street for buses running South of the Tyne via Gatesheadmarker, and Blackett Street/Monument for services to the East or West of the city. Many bus services also pass Newcastle Central Stationmarker, a major interchange for Rail and Metro Services. QuayLink is a hybrid electric bus service operated to the Quayside. Newcastle Coach Stationmarker, near the railway station, handles long distance bus services operated by National Express.


Newcastle is accessible by several mostly traffic-free cycle routes that lead to the edges of the city centre, where cyclists can continue into the city by road, using no car lanes. The traffic-free C2C cycle route runs along the north bank of the River Tyne, enabling cyclists to travel off-road to North Shieldsmarker and Tynemouthmarker in the east, and westwards towards Hexhammarker.

Suburban cycle routes exist, which utilise converted trackbeds of former industrial wagonways and industrial railways. A network of signed on-road cycle routes is being established, including some designated on-road cycle lanes that will lead from the city centre to the suburbs of Gosforthmarker, Heatonmarker and Wallsendmarker.


Newcastle has access to an international Ferry Terminal, at North Shieldsmarker, which offers services to destinations including IJmuidenmarker (near Amsterdammarker). A ferry to Gothenburgmarker, Sweden, operated by Danish DFDS Seaways, ceased crossing at the end of October 2006. The company cited high fuel prices and new competition from low-cost air services as the cause. From summer 2007, Thomson cruise lines includes Newcastle as a port of call on its Norwegian and Fjords cruise.


The city has two universities - Newcastle Universitymarker and Northumbria University. Established as a School of Medicine and Surgery in 1834, and becoming independent from Durham Universitymarker in 1963, Newcastle University is now one of the UK’s leading international universities. It won the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year award in 2000. Newcastle Polytechnic was granted university status in 1992, becoming the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. Northumbria University, as it is currently known, was voted 'Best New University' by The Times Good University Guide 2005. The latter university also won a much coveted company award of the "Most IT enabled organisation" (in the UK), by the IT industry magazine Computing.

There are eleven LEA-funded 11 to 18 schools and seven independent schools with sixth forms in Newcastle. There are a number of successful state schools, including Gosforth High Schoolmarker, Heaton Manor Schoolmarker, St Cuthbert's High Schoolmarker, St. Mary's Catholic Comprehensive Schoolmarker, Kenton Comprehensive Schoolmarker and Sacred Heartmarker. The largest co-ed independent school is the Royal Grammar Schoolmarker. The largest girls' independent school is Central Newcastle High Schoolmarker. Both schools are located on the same street in Jesmond. Another notable girls' independent school is Newcastle Upon Tyne Church High School located at Tankerville Terrace. Newcastle School for Boys is the only independent boys' only school in the city and it situated in Gosforthmarker. Newcastle Collegemarker is the largest general further education college in the North East and is a beacon status college; there are two smaller colleges in the Newcastle area.

Religious sites

Newcastle has two cathedrals, the Anglican St. Nicholasmarker, with its elegant lantern tower of 1474, and the Roman Catholic St. Mary'smarker, designed by Augustus Welby Pugin. Both cathedrals began their lives as parish churches. St Mary's became a cathedral in 1850 and St Nicholas' in 1882. Another prominent church in the city centre is the Church of St Thomas the Martyrmarker which is the only parish church in the Church of England without a parish and which is not a peculiar.

One of the largest evangelical Anglican churches in the UK is Jesmond Parish Churchmarker, situated a little to the north of the city centre.

Newcastle is home to the only Bahá’í Centre in North East England, the centre has served the local Bahá’í community for over 25 years and is located close to the Civic Centre in Jesmondmarker.

Newcastle was a prominent centre of the Plymouth Brethren movement up to the 1950s and some small congregations still function. Among these are at the Hall, Denmark Street and Gospel Hall, St Lawrence.


Local newspapers that are printed in Newcastle include Trinity Mirror's Evening Chronicle and The Journal, the Sunday Sun as well as the Metro freesheet. The Crack is a monthly style and listings magazine similar to London's Time Out. The adult comic Viz originated in Jesmond, and The Mag is a fanzine for Newcastle United supporters.

Two converted warehouses provided the base for Tyne Tees on City Road until 2005
Tyne Tees Television, the regional contractor for ITV, was based at City Road for over 40 years after its launch in January 1959. In 2005 it moved to a new facility on The Watermark business park next to the MetroCentre in Gateshead. The entrance to studio 5 at the City Road complex gave its name to the 1980s music television programme, The Tube. BBC North East and Cumbria is located to the north of the city on Barrack Road, Spital Tonguesmarker, in a building known, as the result of its colouring, as the Pink Palace. It is from here that the Corporation broadcasts the Look North television regional news programme and local radio station BBC Radio Newcastle.

Independent local radio stations include Metro Radio and sister station Magic 1152, which are both based in a building on the Swan House roundabout on the north side of the Tyne Bridge. Galaxy 105-106 broadcasts across Newcastle from its studios in nearby Wallsendmarker. 100-102 Real Radio and 97.5 Smooth Radio both broadcast from Team Valleymarker in Gateshead.

NE1fm launched on June 8 2007, the first full time community radio station in the area. Newcastle Student Radio is run by students from both of the city's universities, broadcasting from Newcastle Universitymarker's student's union buildingmarker during term time. Radio Tyneside has been the voluntary hospital radio service for most hospitals across Newcastle and Gateshead since 1951, broadcasting on 1575AM.

Newcastle is one of the first in the UK to have its city centre covered by wireless internet access.

Notable people

Charles Avison, the leading British composer of concertos in the 18th Century, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1709 and died there in 1770. Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster (1976-1999) was born in the city in 1923. Other notable people born in or associated with Newcastle include: engineer and industrialist Lord Armstrong, engineer Robert Stephenson, modernist poet Basil Bunting, Lord Taylor, the Portuguese writer Eça de Queiróz who was a diplomat in Newcastle from late 1874 until April 1879 - his most productive literary period,, The Prime Minister of Thailandmarker Abhisit Vejjajiva, singers Eric Burdon, Sting, multiple circumnavigator David Scott Cowper, Neil Tennant, Mark Knopfler, Cheryl Cole and current AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, , entertainers Ant and Dec, international footballers Peter Beardsley, Michael Carrick and Alan Shearer, David A. T. Stafford, historian and author.

Twin cities

Newcastle also has a "friendship agreement" with

In 2009 Jill Halfpenny, Anthony Hutton and former Newcastle United striker Les Ferdinand joined forces with low-cost airline easyJet to back a bid to twin Newcastle with Alicantemarker in Spainmarker after it was revealed that the city was one of easyJet's most popular routes from Newcastle International Airportmarker.

Foreign consulates

The following countries have consular offices in Newcastle:
  • Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germanymarker: Grainger Suite, Dobson House, Gosforth, NE3 3PF
  • Honorary Consulate of Italy: 63 High Bridge, NE1 1DU
  • The Royal Norwegian Consulate: 14 Grey Street, NE1 6AE
  • Honorary Consulate of Sweden: 2 Osborne Road, Jesmond, NE2 2AA
  • Honorary Consulate of Iceland: 1/3 Lansdowne Terrace, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE3 1HN
  • French Consulate Agency: Dobson House, Regent Centre, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE3 3PF
  • Belgian Consulate: 30 Cloth Market, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 1EE

See also



  1. Roman Britain Pons Aelius - 'The Aelian Bridge'
  2. GoogleBooks George Patrick Welch, Britannia, the Roman Conquest and Occupation of Britain, Wesleyan University Press, 1963
  3. Forum UNESCO University and Heritage 10th International Seminar “Cultural Landscapes in the 21st Century”, Social Housing as Cultural Landscape: A Case Study of Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne pp3, John Pendlebury, Tim Townshend and Rose Gilroy, Newcastle University (April 2005 - revised June 2006). Retrieved 24 November 2008
  4. Pointer, Graham, The UK's Major Urban Areas at, Retrieved on 2007-04-08
  5. Core, Retrieved on 2007-04-08
  6. Eurocities, Retrieved on 2007-08-19
  7. C.Michael Hogan (2007) Hadrian's Wall, ed. A. Burnham, The Megalithic Portal
  8. Stephen Johnson (2004) Hadrian's Wall, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc, 128 pages, ISBN 0-7134-8840-9
  9. British History Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Eneas Mackenzie, 1827. Date accessed: 24 November 2008
  10. Newbottle - Newcastle-upon-Tyne British History Online - retrieved 18th August 2009
  11. Plague. 11th Edition Encyclopedia Britannica.
  13. Flannery, Peter. Retrospective - An interview with the creators of the series. Included as a bonus feature on the Our Friends in the North DVD release. (BMG DVD 74321 941149).
  14. Exercise: Bolivia|publisher=International Organization for Migration|publication-place=London|accessdate=2008-11-29|ref=CITEREFInternational Organization for Migration2007
  15. RGS Alumni - the Old Novocastrians' Association Retrieved on 2007-01-14
  16. Newcastle upon Tyne District: Total Population
  17. Restaurants in Newcastle & North East restaurants, eating out, places to eat in Newcastle & North East restaurant guide UK
  18. Restaurants in Birmingham, Newcastle, Nottingham, Derby - The Gourmet Society UK
  23. untitled


  • Tyneside: A History of Newcastle and Gateshead from Earliest Times, Alistair Moffat and George Rosie, Mainstream Publishing (10 Nov 2005), ISBN 1-84596-013-0
  • History of Northumberland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Leslie W. Hepple, Phillimore & Co Ltd (1976), ISBN 0-85033-245-1

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