Newcastle upon Tyne is a lively city famed for its Geordie accent and famous nightlife. But there’s more to Newcastle than that! In fact, there are some things about Newcastle that may surprise you!
We’ve created a list of these highly interesting and surprising facts for you to enjoy. Let’s get started!
1). Newcastle has is a hotbed of action when it comes to making films. In fact, the city was used for the gangster movie Get Carter (1971) and for the noir thriller Stormy Monday (1988).
2). The city’s also famous for having the first street lit by electric lights. Back on 3 February 1879, Mosley Street was lit for one night by Joseph Swan’s incandescent lamp.
3). Newcastle is home to seven bridges that cross the river in the space of a half mile. These bridges include:
- Millennium Bridge: in Gateshead is open to cyclists and pedestrians. This bridge is nicknamed “the blinking eye.”
- Tyne Bridge: this bridge was designed by the same company that created the Forth Road Bridge. In fact, this bridge has become an iconic symbol for Tyneside.
- High Level Bridge: is one of the most amazing bridges in the city. It was constructed of 5,000 tons of iron and the design makes use of tied arches.
- Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge: is made from bright blue steel, which makes it very obvious on the skyline.
- King Edward VII Bridge: this is a railway bridge and is one of the last great railway bridges to be constructed in Britain.
- Swing Bridge: is a Grad II listed bridge. This bridge now sits where a Roman bridge was placed. In fact, there’s always been a bridge on this site since Roman times.
- Redheugh Bridge: is a road-only crossing. It was designed by Thomas Bouch back in 1859. Actually, this is the second bridge—the original suffered from design flaws. This bridge also had design flaws and was replaced in 1980.
4). Newcastle is also home to Hadrian’s Wall, which is one of the largest Roman artefacts still standing. It’s 73 miles long and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. And you can even visit a couple of reconstructed Roman-era forts near Newcastle.
5). Newcastle Town Moor is larger than most parks in London. Here you can roam over 1,000 acres of space and take in some great jogging, walk through nature, and more. It was once a pastureland back in the 12th century, and its land tenure and use are regulated by its own Act of Parliament. And to this day, certain Freemen from the city graze cattle on the moors.
6). The Metro Centre is one of Europe’s 10 largest shopping malls, and it’s the largest shopping centre in the UK. You’ll find all kinds of dining, leisure activities, restaurants, and shopping in this mall!
7). The Lit and Phil Library, once called the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne. This is the largest independent library outside of London. Here, you’ll find more than 150,000 books!
8). Newcastle Brown Ale, produced in Newcastle, is one of the most popular British Ale’s in the U.S. The ale was created by Colonel Jim Porter in 1927.
9). Newcastle International Airport is the 10th and fastest growing regional airport in the UK. This airport serves just under 5 million passengers each year. The airport was first opened on 26 July 1935 as Woolsington Aerodrome. It then consisted of a clubhouse, hangar, workshops, fuel garage and a grass runway.
10). Newcastle sits on the 55th parallel north, which it shares with Copenhagen, southern Sweden, and Denmark. Most people think of those other countries being much farther north than Newcastle!
11). Newcastle’s name was once Pons Aelius to the Romans; however the city’s current name comes from the castle built by Robert II, Duke of Normandy, in 1080. He was the oldest son of William the Conqueror.
12). The city was granted this status back on 3 June 1882.
13). In the 19th century, the city’s prosperity was driven by heavy engineering and shipbuilding. Plus, the city was a huge part of the Industrial Revolution.
14). Grainger Town was built by Richard Grainger, who was a builder and developer from 1835 to 1842. Of the 450 buildings he created, 244 are listed, with 29 as grade I and 49 as grade II.
15). The Quayside area sits along the River Tyne. It was once an industrial area and also home to a commercial dockside. The area has undergone redevelopment in recent years, and is home to modern arts, culture and music. You an even find a great place to live in that area!
16). Newcastle University is one of the highest ranked universities in the world! On the QS World 2021 university rankings, Newcastle University is ranked at 152 out of 1003 universities around the world.
17). The beautiful and iconic statue Angel of North was decreed an English icon in 2016 by the government. The angel, created by Antony Gormley, is dedicated to the miners who works in the coal mines for 200 years, in mines that once operated under the sculpture. The angel was completed in 1998 and is possibly the largest angel sculpture in the world! The angel’s wings measure 175 ft (54m), which is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767, and almost as large as a Jumbo jet.
18). The city’s stadium, St. James Park, is one of the oldest football stadiums in the UK! The stadium is home to Premier League Newcastle United FC, and has a seating capacity of 52,305. The park has been used for football since 1880.
19). The first Greggs bakery was opened in Gosforth back in 1951. The owner, John Gregg, passed away in 1964, and the bakery was then taken over by his son, Ian. Another son, Colin, worked with Ian. Almost as soon as they took over the bakery, expansion took off. The bakery has been going strong ever since!
20). The boat, the RMS Carpathia, was built in Newcastle. This is the boat that rescued the survivors of the Titanic. The ship was owned by the Cunard Line, which was a direct competitor of the White Star Line, the company that built the Titanic. The Carpathia arrived about 2 hours after the Titanic sank, and was able to rescue 705 survivors who were in lifeboats.
There you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed these surprising facts about Newcastle! It’s a beautiful city that has quite a lot to offer—whether you come to live here or are just visiting.