Everyone knows that Newcastle is a football-obsessed city that has a strong sense of self and an outstanding ability to party. However, there are one or two other things that you should know about the Toon that you probably don’t:
- It’s the home of Lucozade
Thomas Beech came up with the sugary concoction back in 1927 inside a Newcastle pharmacy, and the orange wonder-drink was a firm favourite of many a poorly infant’s day off school from that day forth.
- Newcastle has some astonishing art galleries
Contrary to the city’s unfair image, Newcastle is actually an extremely cultural part of the world. Galleries such as BALTIC and Laing have housed some fantastic exhibitions over the years, not least of which was the first ever Turner Prize held outside of the capital in 2011.
- Newcastle Brown Ale is an overseas hit
Newcastle Brown Ale is not just a hit with the Toon Army on a Saturday; it’s actually the most imported British ale into the United States too. Pop culture has also tipped a wink to the brown stuff as well, as it has featured in both the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory and the international blockbuster Taken, starring Ireland’s own Liam Neeson.
- They have one of the UK’s finest streets
Grey Street is anything but dreary; it was actually voted as Britain’s best street in 2010 by BBC Radio 4’s canny listeners. Awash with Georgian architecture, Grey Street was built at the tail end of the era in the 1830s by the renowned Newcastle upon Tyne builder, Richard Grainger.
- Grainger Town is the historic heart of the city
The aforementioned Richard Grainger had such a huge influence on the city that the area covered by its three largest thoroughfares, Grainger Street, Grey Street and Clayton Street was named after him. 40 per cent of Grainger Town’s buildings are now listed as being architecturally and historically important.
- The first covered railway station was in Newcastle
Queen Victoria opened the United Kingdom’s first-ever covered railway station back in 1850 here in Newcastle.
- Newcastle had the world’s first road and rail bridge
The High Level Bridge spans across the River Tyne and was the first of its type anywhere in the world. Designed by railway engineer Robert Stephenson, the bridge was built between 1847 and 1849 and has a total length of just under 408m.
- The Theatre Royal wasn’t always on Grey Street
The original Theatre Royal opened in 1788 and was actually situated on Mosley Street, close to Drury Lane. The construction work of the current theatre on Grey Street was completed in 1837.
- The UK’s most famous baker began life here
The now ubiquitous Greggs started life in Gosforth back in 1951 and there are now more Greggs’ stores in the UK than there are McDonalds!
- Newcastle has a cinematic heritage
This part of the North East has seen a few movies based here – most notably the 1971 classic, Get Carter starring Michael Caine.
- Mosley Street was the first street in world to be lit by electric light
Sir Joseph Swan showed an audience of around 700 people, gathered in the city’s Literary and Philosophical Society, the world’s first ever light bulb. Unfortunately, Thomas Edison, too, came up with an almost identical design and took Swan to court. After the case was heard the pair joined forces to form the first ever electric light company, Ediswan, and Mosley Street was the first street in the world to benefit from the union.
Feature image credit: Alex Drennan via Flickr.
If you enjoyed this blog post then perhaps you would like to read “11 Facts About Leeds“?