History in Your Back Yard – Page 1
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Why is the Spanish Battery in Tynemouth called that? I’ve never read this anywhere, but I’d guess it was commanded by Julian Romero 🇪🇸, who was campaigning around Northumberland at the time on behalf of Henry VIII 🏴⚔️🏴 🏴⚔️⚜️
The Black Middens have always been a lethal magnet for ships, but few know about the Viking longboat that was wrecked there in 794 after attempting to plunder Tynemouth and Jarrow.
The Haven is my favourite Tynemouth beach. Before the railways it was the main beach, with boats bringing bathers from Newcastle wanting to take a dip. Thousands of years ago it was the north channel of the Tyne, making the Spanish Battery an island.
Tynemouth’s Kittiwake Colony and the Tynemouth Dyke
Tynemouth Pier – Victorian Construction at its Best 🌊
The Pier Block Yard – More Hidden Things in Tynemouth
The story of Knotts Flats, Tynemouth, and why it wasn’t bombed in the War… 🤔
Queen Victoria Park, in the middle of Tynemouth. This is where Garibaldi, the father of Italian nationhood, stayed. He spent time here gaining support from local industrialists and Chartists. Less well known is that Charles I is said to have hidden here in 1646 while a fugitive.
How King Edward I, aka Longshanks, was responsible for building Tynemouth Castle in stone, as we see it today, to protect the area from the Scots.
King Edward’s Bay – Vikings, Longshanks, 2 Springs and a lot of Sand 🌅
The Medieval Leper Hospital in Northumberland Park, Tynemouth
The Remains of the Blyth & Tyne Railway between Tynemouth and Hartley 🛤️
The Story of the Milestone and Adrian’s Mound, Tynemouth
North Shields Fish Quay
The Secret Story Behind Clifford’s Fort and the Seed of What Grew into North Shields
A Great Discovery into the Founding of North Shields 798 Years Ago
North Shields Harbour in its Heyday and the Role of the Herring Girls
Smith’s Dock was for decades the busiest shipyard in the world ⚓
The Story of Lloyd’s Jetty and the Pilots Who Walked Across the Tyne ⚓
North Shields Forgotten River and “Pestiferous Labyrinth”
North Shields Town Centre
I’m back in North Shields. This time on the bank top at Dockwray Square, now Laurel Court, where fashionable society lived in the 1700s, in the rarefied heights above the crowded dwellings on the Fish Quay
Howard Street is North Shields’ great boulevard that provided the canvas for much of John Dobson’s early work and was the home of Mary Ann Macham, who escaped slavery in Virginia and made her life in the town.
In a small forgotten park in North Shields town centre, I lay out 6 reasons why this was the site of a Roman camp called Blake Chesters. It formed the mid-point in the defences between the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall and the sea.
Lord Armstrong stood more to gain than anyone from the Tyne Improvement Commission, which dredged 800 acres of sandbanks and built the Piers. That’s why he designed this accumulator tower to operate the lock at Albert Edward Dock, as well as the Swing Bridge in Newcastle.
Why I love Arbeia, South Shields. One of the best Roman forts in the country 🤩
South Shields’ 3 lost bays and the story of The Saint Cuthbert Code – the secret of where his body is supposedly hidden 🌊🌊🌊
On South Shields Leas, between Frenchmans Bay and the Blackberry Hills, I found a very rare flower at its most northerly location in the country 🌼
North Shields has a gun battery and two guiding lights covering this most treacherous stretch of water. But directly opposite on the Lawe roundabout, which was once a Roman parade ground, there was also an array of cannons and two historically vital navigation beacons 🌟🌟⛴️⚓
Arbeia, South Shields, could be in the Med! Named ‘Place of the Arabs’, as it was home to a unit of Tigris bargemen. The Romans built a massive fort here and were determinded to conquer all of Britain because of the kudos gained from civilising the wild natives beyond the sea.
Regina was a slave girl who married a governor from Palmyra at South Shields. Her tombstone was found under Morrison’s car park and is the only Aramaic inscription in Roman Britain. Also unique is a Christian altar, which may’ve belonged to the Tigris bargemen stationed here.
St Hilda’s, South Shields, built by Robert Trollope in 1675, is probably the site of a church since 647, in the time of Aidan and Oswin. Back then, standing below the Deiran royal seat at Caer Urfa, you would’ve been able to see Bede’s monastery on the other side of Jarrow Slake.
The TYNE Lifeboat saved over 1000 lives and was restored to her full glory by the North East Maritime Trust. Here’s her story and the story of William Wouldhave, who invented the lifeboat and thus saved countless lives. He should never been forgotten from history.
St Mary’s Island – shipwrecks, sanctuary, smuggling and seals 🌊
The wreck of the Gothenburg City in Smugglers’ Creek and the most vivid tale of what they found when they boarded her 😱🤢
The Spanish City had the 2nd biggest dome in the country (behind St Paul’s) when it was built in 1910 🏖️
Marden Quarry is one of the prettiest and quietest parks you’ll find 🦆🦢
Cullercoats Harbour and the Navigational Landmarks of North Tyneside’s Coast ⛵️
Jakey’s Bay at Low Tide 🐦 History, nature and what remains of the Marden Burn that once flowed between Cullercoats and Whitley.
Table Rocks at Whitley Bay was a natural lido that became a popular attraction in the 1890s 🏊♀️🏊♀️🏊♀️
Exploring the shipwreck of the SS Zephyros on Browns Bay, Cullercoats 🚢
Smuggling was so important to Cullercoats in the 18th century, it likely involved the whole village. Back then, Captain Thomas Armstrong was the Smuggler King and beneath his house he built secret cellars and a tunnel to hide the tea and brandy he had seized. 🏴☠️⛵