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Tyne and Wear HER(15756): Newcastle, post medieval town - Details

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Newcastle, post medieval town






Post Medieval


Newcastle thrived due to the coalfield and the River Tyne. Trade grew as sea-going ships could bring goods into the quayside and take away cargoes of coal, millstones, hides and wool. Sir William Brereton said of Newcastle in 1635 "This is beyond all compare the fairest and richest towne in England, inferiour for wealth and building to noe citte save London or Bristow". By 1700 the principal building material in the town was brick, previously just used as nogging in timber-framed buildings. Stone was still used for churches and civic buildings. In 1698 Celia Fiennes said Newcastle "most resembles London of any place in England, its buildings lofty and large of brick mostly or stone, the streets very broad and handsome". The exchange or guildhall was built on Sandhill in 1658 next to the quay. The town's late 17th and early 18th century brick houses had pantiled roofs with shaped gables. Windows were mullioned. The windows of Alderman Fenwick's House on Pilgrim Street were later narrowed to take fashionable verticl sliding sashes. Early 18th century sashes survive at Trinity House and in Plummer Tower. There are slightly later sashes in the stair hall of 55-57 Westgate Road. Medieval burgage plots were filled with houses and outhouses. Buildings extended beyond the medieval town walls. Charlotte Square was built in the precinct of the Dominican Friary. Nearby the assembly rooms were built in 1786. Both were designed by William Newton. Merchants and the gentry built houses in the town. 55-57 Westgate Road has fine plaster decoration. Entertainment was provided at the theatres and music halls. The medieval bridge was destroyed by floods in 1771. A replacment was built by Newcastle Corporation and the Bishop of Durham. In 1784 the Lort Burn was culverted and its Dene partly in-filled. Dean Street and Mosley Street were built over it.This allowed carts, coaches and cattle to more easily climb the steep hills from the bridge. In 1811 Collingwood Street was built to link Mosley Street to Westgate Street (now Road). Newcastle Corporation bought Newe House or Anderson Place and the two medieval precincts of St Bartholomew's Nunnery and the Franciscan Friary in 1834 for Richard Grainger's urban development. The mansion was demolished and the Lort Dene that ran through the grounds was in-filled. Grainger built a new covered market (now known as the Grainger Market) to a design by John Dobson. His classical style 'new town' had streets with ashlar-fronted shops and houses. Grainger demolished buildings only where his new streets could break into existing ones. The Theatre Royal in Mosley Street was demolished for the junction of Mosley and Grey Streets. Grey Street extended Dean Street northwards. A new Theatre was built and an academy of art. Until its expansion in 1835 the town's northern edge was the Crag Hall Burn which was also the south boundary of Kenton and Coxlodge. Newcastle became a city and county in 1882 {based on Heslop and McCombie 2013}.




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