Newcastle upon Tyne

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Newcastle upon Tyne, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 199,064), NE England, on the Tyne River. The city is an important shipping and trade center. The famous coal-shipping industry began in the 13th cent.; coal, however, was exceeded by wool exports until the 16th cent. A number of heavy industries are also there, such as shipbuilding, marine machinery and equipment, defense equipment, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The city experienced an industrial revival in the 1990s with industries manufacturing computer components, motor vehicles, and household appliances. Several bridges cross the Tyne to Gateshead, including the tilting, arc-shaped Gateshead Millenium Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

The city rests on the site of the Roman military station Pons Aelii, at Hadrian's Wall. Later the site was occupied by the Angles until the Norman conquest. In 1080, Robert II, duke of Normandy and eldest son of William the Conqueror, had a fortified castle built (from which Newcastle takes its name). The castle was besieged and repaired several times; the oldest remaining parts date from 1177. The city walls, of which traces and towers remain, are attributed to Edward I. For 10 months in 1646, Charles I was a prisoner in Newcastle.

The Cathedral of St. Nicholas dates partly from the 14th cent. Other notable old buildings include Trinity Almshouse (1492) and the Royal Grammar School, founded in the 16th cent. Among the many educational institutions are the Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne, formerly King's College.

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Newcastle upon Tyne. A city and river port in Northumberland, and the administrative and commercial centre of north-east England. Its urban history starts abruptly with a ‘New Castle’ begun by Robert, the Conqueror's son, in 1080, and a borough planted at its gate. Newcastle, like most of Northumberland, was held by the Scots in Stephen's reign, but retaken by Henry II. It was one of the most successful Norman ‘new towns’, rising to become the eleventh largest English town by 1377 and one of the top half-dozen in Tudor and Stuart times. Its growing importance was based on coal exports, controlled by the wealthy and powerful Company of Hostmen. The town was captured by the Scots in 1644, and Charles I was held there in 1646–7. Coal-exporting rose further in the 18th cent., followed by shipbuilding and engineering in the 19th; in the 20th it became part of a huge conurbation straddling the river Tyne. The medieval centre, though it retains much of its walls, was largely replaced between 1825 and 1840 by the architect John Dobson and the visionary speculator Richard Grainger, making Newcastle ‘the only major city in England with a planned commercial centre of that date’ (Pevsner).

David M. Palliser

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Newcastle upon Tyne City and major port on the River Tyne, ne England; administrative centre of Tyne and Wear. The site of a fort in Roman times, Newcastle acquired a Norman castle in the 11th century. It was a major wool-exporting port in the 13th century, and later became a coal-shipping centre. Its shipbuilding industry is in decline, but heavy engineering is still important. Industries: pharmaceuticals, engineering, aircraft. Pop. (1994 est.) 283,556.

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University of Newcastle upon Tyne, at Newcastle upon Tyne, England; established 1937 as King's College as a result of the merger of Armstrong College (1871) and the College of Medicine (1834) of the Univ. of Durham. In 1963 the school gained university status. It has faculties of arts, science, engineering, social and environmental sciences, medicine, law, agriculture, and education.