In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Newcastle upon Tyne like this:
Newcastle upon Tyne, parl. and mun. bor., city, seaport, market town, and county of itself, Northumberland, on river Tyne, 10 miles from its mouth, 117 miles SE. of Edinburgh and 276 miles NW. of London by rail, 5371 ac., pop. 145,359; 8 Banks, 11 newspapers. Market-days, Tuesday and Saturday. Newcastle was originally called Pons Flii, from a bridge erected (120) by the Emperor Hadrian; its modern name originated from a fortress built (1080) by Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror. ...
It was an important stragetic key during the old Border feuds between England and Scotland, and suffered in the Civil War. Modern Newcastle, through the rich mineral products of the neighbourhood, and the industrial genius and activity of the inhabitants, has attained a first position among the great centres of British business enterprise. Being in the midst of one of the largest coalfields in England, it exports immense quantities of that commodity; also iron, chemicals, hardware, glass, earthenware, and machinery. Important industries are shipbuilding, the mfr. of locomotive and marine engines, cannon, patent shot, tools, fire-bricks, hemp and wire ropes, cables, anchors, sails, &c. The port (which is one of the Tyne Ports) has a very extensive traffic, greatly facilitated by the Northumberland and Tyne Docks, which cost £2, 500,000. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Among its public works a great feature of the town is its series of fine bridges across the Tyne to Gateshead. The famous High Level Bridge (1846-50) of Robert Stephenson has an extreme length of 1375 ft., the upper part being 112 ft. above high water. The Swing Bridge (opened 1876), constructed by Sir W. Armstrong, is one of the largest of the kind in the world, and allows free navigation of the river. St Nicholas' Church (1359, restored 1879) is a very fine building, with a pointed spire (194 ft.), a peal of 8 bells, and an altar piece by Tintoretto. The central railway station and the general market are remarkable for their commodiousness and convenience. The Town Hall and offices form a large and imposing range of buildings. Richard Grainger, a builder in the town, is credited with the great improvements effected in the construction of new streets and buildings. Connected with the educational state of the town, it may be mentioned that the school system both for elementary and secondary pupils is excellent; special institutions are an institute of mining, a college of medicine, and a college of physical science attached to Durham University. Several public grounds have been supplied for the inhabitants; they include Elswick Park, Armstrong Park, and Brandling Park. A bishopric was founded for Newcastle in 1882, and on the 13th June of that year the place was created a city. It returns 2 members to Parliament.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Newcastle upon Tyne has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Newcastle upon Tyne. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Newcastle upon Tyne and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th March 2014
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