Newcastle upon Tyne: A case study of a major city in the UK
The location and importance of the city in the UK and the wider world
Newcastle upon Tyne, more commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England. It can be found 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London, which are all linked together by the East coast main line (for trains).
Newcastle sits on the on the northern bank of the River Tyne, facing the city of Gateshead on the southern bank, and is just 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Indeed, the River Tyne is still tidal at the famous Quayside section of Newcastle, and seals can occasionally be seen swimming in the river at this point.
Newcastle is part of the Tyne and Wear city region, which encompasses more than 1.2 million people, the city itself is estimated to number just over 300,000 people. People from the city and some of the surroundings are affectionately known as Geordies.
Above - The changing population of Newcastle upon Tyne
History of development
Newcastle owes its original location to the Romans, who established Pons Aelius as a defensive outpost. Initially the city was a great defensive site up on a valley side, which had freshwater in the Tyne and is a bridging point.
• It grew initially because of the wool trade but is actually famous for being a major coal mining area.
• The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres.
• The coal industry developed from 1530 after a royal law was passed, and by the 18th century, Newcastle was the country's fourth largest print centre after London, Oxford and Cambridge.
• In the 19th century, shipbuilding and heavy engineering were central to the city's prosperity; and the city was a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Innovations in the North East included the development of safety lamps, Stephenson's Rocket, Lord Armstrong's artillery, Be-Ro flour, Joseph Swan's electric light bulbs, and Charles Parsons' invention of the steam turbine, which led to the revolution of marine propulsion and the production of cheap electricity.
These developments encouraged the growth of Newcastle, and this involved rapid urbanisation and suburbanisation. The wealthy tended to migrate to the North of city away from the heavy industries of the river, and the city suburbanised in this direction and continues to do so today. Major suburbs include Gosforth, Jesmond and more recently Newcastle Great Park.
The council also helped in this suburbanisation process as they constructed edge of town council estates in Longbenton and Kenton. Industry has followed in this suburbanisation pattern, with new light industrial centres and office developments at Quorum, Newcastle Great Park and at Silverlink along the A19. The urbanisation process took place East and West along the river, and this gave rise to inner city developments of Wallsend, Walker and Benwell.
The importance of Newcastle.
Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom.
Newcastle also houses Newcastle University, a member of the Russell Group, as well as Northumbria University. According to the Chronicle (source) the city hosts over 45,000 students, with students “contributing an estimated £500m to the economy each year and also attract young people from countries around the world to our city. Students themselves make a really important contribution to the local economy - with many continuing to live and work here after their studies - and the universities are major employers.”
According to Centre for Cities, “Newcastle is the economic centre within the city region which has the strongest agglomeration forces at work. This suggests that enabling growth in the Newcastle economy has the potential to spread economic benefits more widely to neighbouring towns and cities”
Newcastle's economy includes corporate headquarters, learning, digital technology, retail, tourism and cultural centres, from which the city contributes £13 billion towards the United Kingdom's Gross Value Added.
Among its icons are Newcastle United football club and the Tyne Bridge. Since 1981 the city has hosted the Great North Run, a half marathon which attracts over 57,000 runners each year and Newcastle International Airport links to 54 non-stop destinations.
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