Results in Newcastle upon Tyne, North-East England
ORIGINALLY a Roman fort protecting a Roman bridge across the Tyne at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. Newcastle was called Pons Aellius by the Romans in honour of Hadrian's Family name. After the Roman departure Newcastle fell into obscurity and during the Golden Age of Northumbria it was called Monkchester, but very little else is known about the site. After the Norman Conquest a castle was built here in wood by Robert Curthose, William the Conqueror's eldest son, but was rebuilt in stone by Henry II. It thus became the 'New Castle'. The castle served as a bulwark between the English and Scots but the Scots captured it in the 17th century for Cromwell's Parliament after a long siege. The castle can still be seen today, a massive keep offering some of the finest views of Tyneside. The keep is separated from the Blackgate, a Medieval extension of the castle by the railway line which cut through the middle of the castle in the nineteenth century. Nearby is the lanterned tower of St Nicholas, a medieval church which became a cathedral when Newcastle gained city status in 1882. The castle had given protection to the town and allowed it to develop into a major port over the centuries. From Medieval times Newcastle was famed for the export of coal and was shipping coals to London as early as the 1300s. Such was Newcastle's dominance of the coal trade that the term 'Coals to Newcastle', describing a pointless activity was familiar as early as the 1500s. Movement of coal along the rivers was placed in the hands of the Keelmen who lived in Sandgate just outside the city walls. Forming a distinct community with their own distinctive style of dress they were immortalised in the famous song 'The Keel Row'. Newcastle's commercial prosperity gathered pace from 1850 when the town was elegantly rebuilt by architect John Dobson and builder Richard Grainger. Nineteenth century Newcastle was also the home of the famous railway engineer George 'Geordie' Stephenson, although there is some dispute as to whether it was he, or Newcastle's support for King George during the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 that earned the town's inhabitants the nickname of 'Geordies'.