|Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Area: 113.44 kmē|
Newcastle upon Tyne, often shortened to Newcastle, is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear situated on the north bank of the River Tyne, in North East England. The city was founded in Roman times under the name Pons Aelius, with the current name being adopted from 1080 onwards. Historically it has been the county town of Northumberland.
The city is the 20th most populous in England and the Tyneside conurbation, of which Newcastle forms part, is the 5th most populous conurbation in England. Newcastle is a member of the English Core Cities Group.
Technically, people from Newcastle are Novocastrians (a Latin term which can equally be applied to residents of any place called Newcastle), although the term Geordie is now more commonly used.
The name of the city is pronounced new-CASS-el in the north of England, and NEW-cah-sel in the south.
Newcastle, known at the time as "Pons Aelius" was founded by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, whose Wall is still visible in parts of Newcastle, particularly along the West Road. The course of the "Roman Wall" can also be traced eastwards to Wallsend (Segedunum).
After the Roman withdrawal from Britain, Newcastle became part of the powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria and was known throughout this period as Monkchester. After a series of conflicts with the Danes and the devastation north of the River Tyne inflicted by Odo after the 1080 rebellion against the Normans, Monkchester was all but destroyed. Because of its strategic position, Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror, erected a wooden castle there in 1080 and the town was henceforth known as Novum Castellum or New Castle.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Newcastle was England's northern fortress. A 25ft high stone wall was built around the town to defend it from invaders during the Border war against Scotland. The Scots king William the Lion was imprisoned in Newcastle in 1174, and Edward I brought the Stone of Scone and William Wallace south through the town. Newcastle was successfully defended against the Scots three times during the 14th century and around this time became a county corporate.
King Charles bestowed upon Newcastle the East of England coal trading rights. This monopoly helped Newcastle prosper, but it had its impact on the growth of near-neighbours Gateshead and Sunderland, causing a North of Tyne/South of Tyne and a Tyne-Wear rivalry that still exists. During the English Civil War, Newcastle supported the king and in 1644 was stormed ('with roaring drummes') by Cromwell's Scots allies, based in pro-Parliament Sunderland. The grateful King bestowed the motto "Fortiter Defendit Triumphans" ("Triumphing by a brave defence") upon the town. Ironically, Charles was imprisoned in Newcastle by the Scots in 1646-7.
In the 18th century, Newcastle was the country's largest print centre after London, Oxford and Cambridge, and the Literary and Philosophical Society of 1793, with its erudite debates and large stock of books in several languages predated the London Library by half a century. Newcastle also became the greatest glass producer in the world. Newcastle's development as a major city, however, owed most to its central role in the export of coal. The phrase taking coals to Newcastle was first recorded in 1538. In the nineteenth century, shipbuilding and heavy engineering were central to the city's prosperity; and the city was a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Innovation in Newcastle and surrounding areas included the development of Safety lamps, Stephenson's Rocket, Lord Armstrong's artillery, Joseph Swan's electric light bulbs, and Charles Parsons' invention of the steam turbine, which led to the revolution of marine propulsion and the production of cheap electricity.
Heavy industries in Newcastle declined in the second half of the twentieth century; office and retail employment are now the city's staples.