Northumbrian coastal town at the mouth of the river Tweed. Berwick was a disputed Anglo-Scottish border town and changed hands thirteen times before finally being recognized as English in 1482. The Elizabethan fortifications, built in 1558, followed the latest Italian system, designed to give fire cover to every part of the wall, and are the only surviving walls of their kind. The castle was an important border fortress but declined after the 1707 Union. It was eventually demolished to make way for a railway station, the platform of which runs over the great hall where Edward I made his famous decision to support John Balliol
for the Scottish crown in 1291. The barracks, built in 1719 following complaints by townsfolk against billeting and probably designed by Vanbrugh
, were among the first to be built in Britain
. Berwick has three very different bridges. The 17th-cent. Old Bridge is an elegant structure which took a quarter of a century to build. The Royal Border Bridge, an impressive railway viaduct, was designed by Robert Stephenson
and built 1847–50. It has 28 arches and stands 126 feet above the water. The Royal Tweed Bridge, of concrete construction, was built in 1928 to carry the main road north.
Richard A. Smith
Berwick-upon-Tweed (bĕr´Ĭk), former district, Northumberland, NE England, at the mouth of the Tweed River. The district included the Holy Islands and the Farne Islands and extended SW to the Cheviot Hills. The town of Berwick, located in the former district, is a market town and seaport, famous for its salmon fishing. Grain is the chief export; oil and timber are imported. Industries include shipbuilding, engineering, sawmilling, fertilizer production, and the manufacture of tweed and hosiery. The principal border town between Scotland and England, Berwick changed hands more than 13 times between 1147 and 1482, when Edward IV finally claimed it for England. It did not become officially English until 1885. Of interest are the Royal Border Bridge, the old barracks, and the walls surrounding the city that were especially designed to utilize artillery guns. Berwick-upon-Tweed was abolished as a local government authority in 2009 when Northumberland became a unitary authority.