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May 6, 2012

Amazing Photographs Capture Daily Life in Newcastle in the 19th Century

The city of Newcastle Upon Tyne was founded at the lowest place the Tyne could be easily crossed. In 1080 the Normans built a wooden fort to safeguard the crossing. They also erected a wooden bridge. (The 'new castle' was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century). Soon a little town grew up in the shadow of the new castle and was named after it. In the Middle Ages towns often grew up by castles because the garrisons provided a market for the townspeople's goods.

Medieval Newcastle prospered partly because of the wars between the English and the Scots. There was much traffic through Newcastle and travelers spent money there.

In 1801, at the time of the first census Newcastle Upon Tyne had a population of 28,000. It grew rapidly. The population of Newcastle reached 53,000 in 1831. The boundaries were extended in 1835 to include Byker, Westgate, Elswick, Jesmond and Heaton. The population of the borough reached over 87,000 in 1851. By 1901 it had risen to 215,000.

In the years 1825-1840 the centre of Newcastle was rebuilt. This was mostly the work of three men, John Dobson, an architect, Richard Grainger, a builder and John Clayton the town clerk. All three have streets named after them.

Like all 19th century cities, Newcastle was dirty and unsanitary as seen in these rare and amazing photographs below:

Quayside, possibly near the Fish Market, fish seller and small crowd gathered around.

Black Gate, looking northwards towards St Nicholas Cathedral, 1886

Black Gate, close-up of the gateway with a woman leaning against a shop doorway, 1880

Castle Garth, looking towards St Nicholas Cathedral from the corner of Dog Leap Stairs 1881

Castle Garth Stairs, (site of many clogmakers shops), looking towards the Castle Keep, 1881

The Side, looking east, featuring number 86, the birthplace in 1786 of Admiral (later Lord) Cuthbert Collingwood, 1880

Barges at the Mansion House Quay Newcastle. Date nd [Ascension Day, 26 May 1881]

Sandgate, looking east. Includes corner of Milk Market, number 12, the Three Bulls Heads, 1882

Stockbridge, looking east, 1880

Sandhill, looking north-west towards the railway viaduct. Includes numbers 38-41, premises of B J Sutherland and Co, flour, grain, and provisions merchant; H and W Robertson, hay and straw merchants; J Richardson, hairdresser; J Edminson, corn and salt dealer and Newton and Co, india rubber merchants.

Percy Street, looking south, including number 38, Johnson Hedley, wholesale confectioner. nd (1882)

Gosforth High Street on Race Day nd 1900

(Photos: 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)


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