Many famous ships were built in Newcastle, in an area logically named ‘Wallsend’ (it’s at the end of the Roman Wall). They include the Ark Royal, the Carpathia, which braved icebergs to rescue survivors from the Titanic disaster, and the Mauretania – see photo. It was the world’s largest passenger ship. (And, yes, it was spelt ‘Mauretania’, named after a Berber Kingdom, as opposed to the modern country Mauritania, spelt with an “i”).
Hadrian’s Wall surfaces at various points in and around the city. I used to eat my packed lunch in the “vallum” of the wall – a vast grassy moat – which ran through the grounds of my school.
After the Romans, the Vikings occupied the area. And many Geordie phrases are remarkably similar to Danish. The Geordie phrase “I’m gannin’ yem” (“I’m going home”) is virtually identical to the Danish equivalent. If you can’t understand a Geordie, just say: “Jeg forstår ikke. Er det nogen som taler engelsk?” and they’ll understand you perfectly.
Newcastle has an underground railway called The Metro.
The city also boasts the largest and smallest Marks and Spencers stores in the world. The smallest one is a tiny stall in an indoor market.
The first Fenwicks store was founded on Northumberland Street by Newcastle’s John Fenwick.
Newcastle has its own Chinatown.
Newcastle’s Centre for Life has just been given the go-ahead to do the UK’s first human cloning.
Newcastle is only 2 hours 53 minutes from London by train.