Historic, vibrant and wonderful. My home city of Newcastle and just some of the reasons why I love it!
Some historical facts about Newcastle upon Tyne
Today Newcastle upon Tyne boasts a population of 259,000.This is certainly a far cry from its humble beginnings almost 2000 years ago when in 1080 the Normans erected a wooden fort and a wooden bridge at the lower mouth of the river Tyne in order to safeguard growing crossings. The middle ages was the start of prosperity in Newcastle. Its prime position meant that exporting goods, especially wool and coal together with shipbuilding and the rope industry, enabled people to earn a living and the population to grow. The first record of a ship being built tells us that this was in 1294.
As Newcastle gradually grew in importance walls were built around the city in order to protect its interests. In total there were19 towers and 7 main gates. Also from the late 13th century the church was becoming an important part of people's lives and eventually 4 churches were built. There were Friars and nuns at this time who played an integral role in the daily lives of ordinary people caring for and nursing the sick. By 1400 Newcastle had been made a county in itself with a population of 4000, a large town for that period.
During the 16th and 17th century events moved on. In 1539 Henry Vlll closed all the friaries and 1540 also witnessed the closing of the nunnery. However, he did found a grammar school which was established in 1600. The population was still steadily growing and had now reached around 10,000. In 1635 a writer referred to Newcastle as "the fairest and richest town in England inferior for wealth and building to no city save London and Bristol" and another writer at the end of the 17th century was said to have described Newcastle upon Tyne as a noble town and said it resembled London more than any other in England. Her name was Celia Fiennis.
By the mid 18th century the walls and gates of Newcastle were demolished. The population was by now around 20,000 and traffic was becoming impeded. Space was needed for a growing economy and future of the city. The 1700's also brought with it the building of an Assembly room for balls and card games, a Customs House, the magnificent Theatre Royal and a new bridge over the river Tyne. In 1801 the first census in Newcastle recorded a growing population of 28,000 which had reached 53,000 by 1831. In 1825-40 the centre of Newcastle was rebuilt.
My beautiful city 2012
Today in 2012 we have a wonderful city which is rich in history yet has all the elements of a vibrant,cosmopolitan, exciting city which oozes energy and draws people from across the globe.Let me show you my home town, give you a little background and share why it is so special to me
The Leazes and The Ehxibition parks
I simply love the peace and tranquility that is found right in the heart of the city of Newcastle nestling amongst the hustle and bustle. Two wonderful parks offering solitude, beauty and time out.The Leazes park and The Exibition park.
The Leazes park is the city's oldest. It was opened in 1873 after a petition by working men in 1857 to Newcastle Council for "ready access to some open ground for the purpose of health and recreation". Since it has continued to develop with deer, avaries, tennis and croquet. It was refurbished in 2001 with 3.7 million pounds from the National Lottery.
Similarly, The Exhibition park was developed for recreation. It was given its name during the Jubilee exhibition of 1887 which attracted 2,000,000 visitors. In May to October 1929 The North East Coast Exhibition was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales. This was a symbol of pride and the industrial success of the region.
Newcastle Theatre Royal
The Theatre Royal is particularly special to me. It sits at the top of Grey street a street lined with splendid architectural buildings. My great uncle worked as the stage manager of this magnificent building for many years. Myself and many thousands of other people from all over the globe have enjoyed shows here and have been part of the culture Newcastle offers through the arts and The Theatre Royal.
The theatre is a Grade 1 listed building and was opened on January 21st 1788 after being granted Royal License by King George lll. It established itself as one of Englands leading theatres. Today it has an annual audience of 337,000 and over 380 performances every year.
The Tyneside cinema and coffee rooms
I adore spending time at the Tyneside cinema either watching a film or sitting in the quirky alleyway having a coffee, soaking up the ambience and listening to the voices of critics discussing the arts and their favourite passions. The place reeks of sultry meiiterranean culture and I often get carried away by the romance and the escape of it all.
The Tyneside cinema was founded by a man named Dixon Scott in the 1930's. He was a local film entrepreneur who saw an opportunity to cash in on a craze that was sweeping the uk at that time. In the early 20th century radio and newspapers were the only medium to relay world news. News theatres were becoming popular and would show continuous news reels in cinemas.Scott saw this opportunity and built the citys first news theatre. The Tyneside cinema opened as the "Newcastle News Theatre" on 1st February 1937.The Tyneside coffee rooms opened one year later in 1938.
As time went on people became desperate to discover something different and exciting from other cultures. Today the cinema shows the very best films being made right across the world.
Well, this is just a small taste of my own personal hotspots in my home town of Newcastle. I grew up here and I am proud to call myself a "Geordie". By the way if you wondered where the word Geordie originates, I did! now I can tell you. Geordies were so called because Newcastle was the only city in the north east of England to support George II and close its gates to the Jacobite army during the 1745 rebellion. Even our nick name is historic!
I certainly hope you have enjoyed sharing a little part of my world.Newcastle is a place I am very proud of and a place I most definitely call and will always call home, my hometown.
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