The North East is formed by the following counties:
Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Teesside.
Present day Northumbrians have created the most spacious
artificial lake, lying at the heart of the vast plantation of Kielder Forest;
but for most of the county’s history men have clung mainly to its edges, shunning the wild interior.
Island, monks produced the exquisitely decorated
Lindisfarne Gospels and today, on
the Farne Islands to the
south, gray seals can be seen basking in the surf.
But for all its rugged beauty, this “debatable land” between
English and Scots, has been the most fought over frontier in Britain. Much of Hadrian’s Wall,
built by Roman legionaries, lies within Northumberland. South from Berwick’s Elizabethan ramparts, the mighty
stone walls of Alnwick and Bamburgh and the gaunt ruins of Dunstanburgh, Norham and Warkworth still keep watch over coast and river
Two arches catch the spirit of Tyne and Wear: the great steel arch of
the Tyne bridge, soaring
over the river at Newcastle, is a symbol of the city’s engineering skills, while on the coast (until 1996 when it
collapsed) the limestone arch of Marsden Rock was a piece of natural sculpture on the grand scale.
In Newcastle, the Museum of Science and Engineering celebrates
some of the county’s most inventive sons and the days when Tyneside built the liner Mauritania and the battleship
fort of Arbeia at
South Shields recalls the
importance of the River Tyne in Roman times, when Hadrian’s Wall
started near Newcastle. In the 7th century the Venerable Bede made St Paul’s Monastery at Jarrow one of the most famous
centres of learning in Europe. A Jarrow writer of modern times, Catherine Cookson, has evoked Tyneside life in more than 60 bestselling novels and her work is celebrated in
the South Shields Museum.
The Prince Bishops of Durham once ruled then north east virtually supreme
from their cathedral in Durham and their castles in Durham and Auckland. In the 12th century
King Stephen granted them the
mineral rights of Weardale, starting a long history of mining in the area, which is told today at the
A major aspect of Durham’s later industrial greatness is preserved at
the Darlington Railway Centre, while both industrial and farming life in the county in bygone days are vividly recreated
at Beamish. The arts are
not neglected in Durham.
Museum is a treasure house of works of art from all over Western Europe
and the city of Durham, among its many treasures, has Britain’s only exclusively Oriental Museum. The North Sea is never far away in Cleveland, whose spectacular coast culminates in the
towering Boulby Cliff. Here a
young haberdasher’s apprentice named James Cook walked and dreamt of running away to sea; the feats of explorations that made him famous are
recalled today at his birthplace. Hartlepool remembers its heyday in the 1880s as England’s third busiest port, while set amidst pastoral
country inland are architectural gems such as Guisborough
Priory and Ormesby
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