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Newcastle Upon Tyne is the nearest large town to Whitley Bay.  It has a population of around 280,000 and like its name says, it grew up around the river Tyne.  Newcastle is situated on the north bank of a shallow gorge on the River Tyne. It is believed that the Romans first built a bridge on this site. Newcastle was the lowest point downstream at which the River Tyne could be bridged. Another bridge was built here in 1250.

In the 17th century nearby coal deposits encouraged the development of the glass industry. There were also local salt deposits and local people were also involved in the manufacture of soap. Coal, salt, soap and glass were transported from the town by coastal vessels and by the beginning of the 18th century Newcastle was the most important town in the North East.  Newcastle-upon-Tyne was a commercial as well as an industrial centre. The population grew steadily throughout the 19th century, going from 33,000 in 1801 to 109,000 in 1861. The prosperity of 19th century Newcastle is reflected in the architecture of John Dobson (1787-1865) and John Green (1787-1852).

The picture to the left (click to enlarge as usual!) shows how Newcastle looked in 1875.  The rest of this page, we'll show you how it looks now!  We took a special trip into Newcastle to show Stanley a few of its delights - there are many old, impressive buildings around Newcastle, but we decided on a trip to the Quayside.

Getting into Newcastle from Whitley Bay takes around 20 minutes by road, but then car parking can be expensive.  We like to take the Metro, a train which travels from Whitley Bay and goes underground when it reaches Newcastle.  It takes about 30 minutes to Monument, the station which is close to the Theatre Royal, most of the shops, and the waterfront.

Flat Stanley preferred the Metro to the car!

The quayside has had lots of work done since 2000, with a lot of money spent on improving it.  This building is the most recent addition; it's called "The Sage" and it's a centre for music, with concerts and exhibitions.  It looks really weird and cool!  We haven't been in yet, but we will soon.

The Millennium Bridge was built to celebrate the Millennium (obviously!).  It's a great-looking bridge that you can walk or cycle over.

It's really good to walk over as you get a great view up and down the river, and you can even see the river straight down between your feet - a long way below!  Our Dad is scared...

So ships can pass underneath, the whole bridge tilts - the top part in the second photo moves to the right, lifting the footbridge at the bottom of the cables up.  You wouldn't want to be on the bridge when that happens!

When the bridge tilts, it looks like a huge eye winking.

The Tyne Bridge is in the background here, and is a very famous bridge.  It is the thing that most people think of when they think about Newcastle - it's even on the beer bottles!
The old Baltic Flour Mill has been a feature of the Quayside for many years.  Disused for ages, in recent years it has been renovated and turned into a centre for modern art.

It looks nicer and cleaner now, and at least it's being used, but...we went around it last year.  We spent most of the time saying "Well, what's that meant to be then?" and stuff like that.  It's a great building and very high, but the modern art they put in it doesn't do anything for us - we saw it all in less than 45 minutes, and didn't see anything we liked!

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