Bathed in History


I sometimes like to offer up a piece thats built around the area of the UK I live in. I am fortunate to live on the edge of a very vibrant city, surrounded by history and a hop, skip and jump from the glorious coastline. Scotland is only 50 odd miles north and The Lake District about the same to the west.

So here is something that just outlines some of the features of the place. There are more, but I could go on forever.

This is posted for Poets United, The Thursday Think Tank.

Newcastle, home of the Toon Army,
Not the centurians of days long passed,
When the wall was built,
Remnants remain as attractions,
For tourists who thirst for history.

The tour bus stops en route,
See the city sights as you go,
The only shrine you shall find,
Is the one on the hill,
The one they call St James.

Museums, galleries, resturants and bars,
The Mecca of the north,
The bridge, stolen by Sydney,
Plays host to a hundred thousand feet each year,
The great run down to Sheilds.

See the Princess in all her glory,
Berthed along the quay,
The Sage, The Baltic, vie for space
With the courts of law,
New play alongside the old.

Metro, take the line to anywhere,
See a Spaniard by the coast,
See Wallsend, or should that be Wallstart?
Only a Roman could answer such questions,
Maybe Hadrian would know?

Chinatown with the great Pagoda,
Morsels of delightful orient offerings,
Tapas if the mood takes,
The Bigg Market for the brave,
Or foolhardy?

Brown Ale for the descerning palate,
Brewed now down the old Fed,
The Staiths for the delivery of coal,
To great vessels of the seas,
Bound for nowhere now.

Find the Keep of Oldcastle,
Somehow now called New?
A Cathedral aside forth banks,
Universities of learning and study,
Students in heaven made bliss.

As some readers will struggle to comprehend some of this, I offer a little extra guidance to help in that dept.

Toon Army: Supporters of the local football [soccer] team

There was a large Roman base here and they were responsible for keeping out the Picts from the North. This was helped by the great wall that the Emperor Hadrian had built from the banks of the Tyne river in the east, to the Solway of Firth to the west.

The shrine referred to is St James Park, the Home of Newcastle United Football Club. Football [soccer] is a religion in these parts. 52,000 people attend each game in all weathers.

The Bridge over the River Tyne was the blueprint for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Each year, 50,000 runners cross the bridge . The Great North Run is the biggest half marathon in the world. It starts by the Town Moor and finishes by the coast at South Shields.

The Tuxedo Princess is an old ferry that is now a nightclub on the Gateshead side of the Quayside. The Sage is a new multi purpose building for the arts. The Baltic is an old flour mill now a gallery. The Law Courts are a new building facing across the river to the Sage and Baltic, joined by the Millenium Bridge [The Blinking Eye].

We have had a metro system here [subway] for a long time. You can take a train to the coast to see the old Spanish City which is a protected landmark. Its huge white dome used to house the entrance to the amusement park. Wallsend is where Hadrians Wall ends, or begins, depending on your point of view.

We have a great Chinese community here, lots of Chinese restaurants and the entrance to Stowell Street is now under the fabulous new pagoda funded by the local council. We also now have our fair share of  Tapas bars, serving Spanish fare. The Bigg Market is the notorious area for nightlife come the weekends. There are more bars there per square yard than anywhere else in the UK. There would always be a brawl down there at chucking out time, but since the advent of 24 hour opening, that seems to have stopped. Visit at your own discretion!

Brown Ale [the dog] was brewed at Newcastle Brewery in the city. That has now closed and the world  famous Newky Brown is now brewed at the old federation brewery in Gateshead. Criminal if you ask me. The Staithes at Dunston are a protected structure. Coal from the mines in the area would travel down to the Staithes to load the barges that delivered coal around the world. Hence the saying, Like Coals To Newcastle. Sadly, all coal mines are now gone, but Dunston Staithes serve as a reminder of our heritage here.

The old castle has long since gone, but the keep still remains in good condition. Newcastle means just that. Maybe it should be called Oldcastle nowadays? We have a very old Cathedral and two Universities, so have a very large student population.

These are just some of the highlights of Newcastle upon Tyne. I hope you enjoyed reading and who knows, maybe one day you might even pay us a visit.

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About Tino

Fighting to save the sanity of a slightly demented forty something, who is fast approaching becoming a more than slightly demented fifty something ;-) View all posts by Tino

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