Category Archives: local history

Gateshead’s Unbuilt Airport

It’s hard to imagine the North East’s international airport being anywhere other than Newcastle. It is, after all, the largest city in the region and has strong business, transport and financial links. But the location of the airport was not … Continue reading

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Planning for Destruction After the Death of Coal in County Durham

The English village brings to mind images of luscious rolling fields, beautiful stone built cottages with thatched roofs and winding country roads.  These are the places words like ‘genteel’, ‘quaint’ and ‘idyllic’ were made for. Travel companies lure weary city-dwellers … Continue reading

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The Circus in Newcastle

In his 1833 Register of Remarkable Events John Sykes has a short entry for the opening of a circus in Newcastle on October 29th 1789. The Circus or Amphitheater, at the Forth, Newcastle, was first opening under the direction of … Continue reading

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Newcastle’s Skywalks

When T. Dan Smith took over the reigns as head of Newcastle City Council in 1959 he became one of the first local leaders in the United Kingdom to recognise the importance of urban planning in coping with the bundle … Continue reading

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Newcastle’s Secret Park and the Hidden History of City Fun

Most Newcastle residents are familiar with Leazes Park, Exhibition Park, Gosforth Park and Jesmond Dene. But few are aware that there’s a park hidden away in central Newcastle. You can be forgiven for not knowing it’s there, after all two … Continue reading

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Newcastle Through the Eyes of Nazi Planners

When war planners during the Second World War settled on aerial bombing raids as an effective strategy, the need for an unprecedented level of geographic intelligence intensified. In order to ensure maximum destruction both sides looked beyond traditional military targets—weapons … Continue reading

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Cumberland Hodge Fights the Devil in Gateshead

All ye whom literature engages, Come read my book through all its pages, It far surpasses former ages For truth and diction; Compar’d with which the wisest sages Wrought nought but fiction. When the irrepressible Wesleyan preacher Hodgson Casson arrived … Continue reading

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Oystershell Hall, Newcastle

Although considered something of a gastronomic indulgence now, Oysters were once staples of the English diet. In 1910 the British Government estimated that the oyster trade was the most important industry in the world and in Victorian metropoles oysters were … Continue reading

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Guerilla Heritage in Newcastle

Newcastle does not boast much in the way of Czech heritage so it’s surprising to see a blue plaque dedicated to Jára Cimrman, the famous inventor, traveler, philosopher, detective, amateur obstetrician, writer and poet. Cimrman’s national acclaim was recognised when the Czech people voted … Continue reading

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Ghost Roads / Astroturf Proving Grounds / Dead Railways

Trying to take a shortcut from housing estate to industrial estate in Gateshead on my way to walk the abandoned Leamside railway line from Follingsby and end up walking down a dead end path that only leads to a fence … Continue reading

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