TRADE AND MANUFACTURES.
The port of Newcastle has been the favourite seat of trade and
manufactures from the Roman æra in Britain down to the present time. Having, however, treated this subject at large in
the History of Northumberland, it may here be sufficient to
notice only such articles of produce and manufacture as are remarkable for extent, or are peculiar to the district.
Coal is the principal source of the immense trade and revenue
that enriches this district. The coal-trade has been progressively
increasing during the last 500 years; and, at present, the capital employed in it is
estimated at four millions sterling. In its various branches, about 75,000 persons find
employment. Its produce has been calculated at £60,000 per week, and the duty
coal yields to government at £600,000 annually. By a printed statement, published
this year, there appears to be 862 ships, registered at the Custom-house in Newcastle,
which carry 186,500 tons, and are navigated by 8710 seamen. As the whole tonnage
of the United Kingdom is stated at 3,119,191, it follows that above one-sixteenth of
the whole British shipping belongs to the port of Newcastle.
Exports.—Besides coal, the principal exports are glass of all kinds, silver bullion,
pig-lead, red and white lead, lead shot, butter, pickled salmon, bacon, hams, copperas,
grindstones, flag-stones, fire-stones, bricks and tiles, cinders and coke, cast and
wrought iron and steel, ale, beer, and porter, soap, litharge, earthen ware, flour, painters' colours, Prussian blue, sal-ammoniac, soda, oil of vitriol, paper, watch glasses,
leather gloves, lamp-black, whale oil, coal-tar, coal-oil, canvas, &c.
Imports.—The principal articles imported into the Tyne are wine, spirits, fruit,
cotton, tobacco, staves, timber, masts, plank, tar, iron, deals, corn, sugar, hemp, flax,
smalts, linen yarn, hides, rags, oil, iron-stone, &c.
Lead.—The lead produced by the rich and numerous mines near Alston Moor, in
Allendale, and in Weardale, is smelted in pigs, and conveyed in carts to the Tyne at
Stella or Swalwell. The average annual produce of the mines is estimated at about
12,000 tons of lead. One Newcastle fother, or 21 cwt. of pig-lead, produces from
seven to twelve ounces of silver; though some ore at Alston has yielded 42 ounces
per fother! The refineries are principally near the mines; but there are extensive
works for this purpose at Blaydon and Bill Quay.
Lead Manufactories.—There is an extensive concern at Low Elswick, belonging
to Messrs. Ward, Walker, Parker, and Co. for rolling sheet-lead, and converting piglead into ceruse and minium for pigments; also for casting shot. The other lead
manufacturers are, Messrs. Hall and Co. Bill Quay; Messrs. Hind and Co. Ouseburn;
and Messrs. Losh, Blackett, and Co. Gallowgate. There are also six large Colour
Manufacturers on the banks of the Tyne. At Heworth Shore is a manufactory of
prusiate of iron, or Prussian blue.
Iron Manufactures.—There are large smelting works and an iron foundery at Lemington. At New Greenwich and New Deptford is a very extensive foundery, belonging to Messrs. Hawkes. Anchors, chains, and almost every article of naval
ironmongery, are manufactured here. The iron and steel works at Swalwell, Winlaton, Stella, and the Team, have long been in operation; and a great variety of articles
are manufactured at the iron-works in the Close, Forth Street, the Forth Banks, the
Ouseburn, in Gateshead, and at Walker. The latter is conducted on a large scale.
Coke, which has now in many cases become a substitute for charcoal, is prepared in
large quantities at Wylam, Derwent Haugh, the South Shore, St. Anthon's, and several other places upon the Tyne.
Glass-works.—Glass-works were established on the Tyne, between Ouseburn and
St. Lawrence, about two centuries ago, by Sir Robert Mansel, Knt. Vice-admiral of
England. The art was introduced by the refugee families of "Hensey, Teswick,
and Tyttore," who fled from Lorraine, and who long kept the arcana of the trade in
their possession. The workmen in this district excel the world in the elegance and
beauty of their workmanship. There is more glass manufactured on the Tyne than
in all the extensive and refined kingdom of France. The quantity annually sold, a
few years ago, was estimated to be worth £500,000 sterling, and the duty paid to
exceed £180,000. At present, it appears that we possess about two-fifths of the
whole glass manufacture of the kingdom. The cast plate-glass manufactory of
Messrs. Isaac Cookson and Co. rivals every similar establishment in Europe, in the
size, fineness, and brilliancy of the plates produced.
Potteries.—There are, in this neighbourhood, seven manufactories of earthen ware,
wherein many excellent articles are made; besides three or four works for making
common black earthen ware. Fire-bricks are extensively made at various places near
the river, and large quantities are exported. There are coal-tar works at Bell's Close,
Heworth Shore, and Derwent Haugh. Copperas works are numerous, and some of
them extensive. Sal-ammoniac is still made here in considerable quantities. Oil of
vitriol is manufactured on a large scale at Bill Quay, and also at South Shields and
Walker. Aquafortis, or nitrous acid, and spirit of salt, or muriatic acid, are also made
at Bill Quay, by Messrs. Doubleday and Easterby, who have a large soapery in the
Close. Soap is likewise manufactured at Ouseburn, by Messrs. Clapham and Co.
The salt works in this district are at present much declined. Brown paper is
made by machines in several mills near Newcastle, some of which are wrought by
There are some extensive tan-yards and skinneries in Newcastle, where leather is
manufactured in a very superior manner. The Northumberland Spinning Mill, at
the Ouseburn, is an extensive manufactory for spinning linen yarn, which has lately
been conducted with great spirit. There are in Newcastle and its vicinity 49 windmills, 12 water-mills, and 18 steam-mills, most of which are used in grinding corn.
This is exclusive of 35 steam-engines constantly at work in different manufactories.
A great number of excellent vessels have been built in the dock-yards upon
the river Tyne; but ship-building at present is in a languishing state. There are
also many extensive roperies, sail-cloth manufactories, block, mast, and pump makers,
boat-builders, and other establishments connected with ship-building. The produce
of the salmon fisheries on the Tyne fluctuates greatly, but is now much less productive than formerly. In 1755, salmon sold in Newcastle at 1d. a pound.
Newcastle has always been celebrated for the excellence of its beer, which is the
favourite beverage of the inhabitants. The breweries of beer, ale, and porter, are
both numerous and extensive. In 1824, the victuallers, in consequence of a contemplated alteration in the licensing system, made certain representations to government,
which included the following estimate of the
|"NEWCASTLE BEER TRADE, 1824.
|Houses under brewers
|Houses independent of brewers, but not victuallers, including the head inns and retail spirit shops
In the period comprised, by the last excise sitting, from 23d February to 5th April, 6 weeks, the victuallers used—
|1913 qrs. of malt, which produced 3060 barr. strong, and 1818 barr. small beer.
| Add 4 weeks (fn. 1)
|Duty arising on 16,579 quarters of malt, at 2s. 6d. per bushel
|26,560 barrels of beer, at 10s. per barrel
|15,823 barrels of small beer, at 2s. per barrel
|888 cwt. 18 lb. (6 lb. to 1 qr. malt) hops, at 18s. 8d. per cwt.
|Total duty within the year
|77 victuallers produce a duty of
|100 brewers' houses and inns, say one-third of the consumption
|Total duty arising from one year's consumption in Newcastle
In 1790, all old beer was drank, none tapped under 12 months old.
In 1800, it was generally used half old and half mild.
In 1824, now used as one old to three mild, except in the case of the porters carrying corn, &c. upon the
Quay, who drink it all old, as they say, to preserve their wind."
The internal trade of Newcastle is very valuable and extensive, owing to the numerous and populous villages in the neighbourhood, which are chiefly supplied from
this town. The great number of carts which arrive daily for goods, from the more
distant parts of the country, shew the extent and importance of that branch of traffic;
and the crowd and bustle which are exhibited on market-days, in many of the principal streets, often remind strangers of some of the most frequented passages in the
city of London.
In 1823, which was the year before the repeal of the act for the inspection of raw
hides and skins, the following was the inspector's return for Newcastle for that year:
4989 hides, 3563 calf skins, and 62,292 sheep and lamb skins; which gives for every
week's consumption, 96 bullocks, 68½ calves, and about 1198 sheep and lambs. But
this forms a very imperfect data for calculating the numbers killed, as a great part of
the hides and skins were sent to Morpeth and elsewhere to be inspected. In 1811,
it was calculated that, in Newcastle and Gateshead, the average weekly consumption
was 300 oxen, &c. and 3000 sheep and lambs. Since that time, the population has
increased: but the wages of the people engaged in the coal-works and in keels have
been much diminished, while the number of country butchers has been rapidly increasing, so that the sales of butchers in the town cannot now be estimated so high as
The number of inns and public houses in Newcastle and Gateshead is given in the
account of the beer-trade. The principal inns as posting houses are, Mr. Dodsworth's,
Queen's Head, Pilgrim Street, a highly respectable establishment; Mr. Fletcher's,
Turk's Head, Bigg Market, which is a very commodious, well-conducted house, and
has the largest public room in town attached to it. Mr. Park's, Crown and Thistle,
Groat Market, is much frequented by commercial gentlemen. Mr. Taylor's, George
Inn, Pilgrim Street, is also a traveller's house, and is often used for bankrupt meetings,
&c. Mr. Miller's, Half Moon Inn, Bigg Market, affords very good accommodations
to travellers, and is likewise the resort of many respectable farmers on market-days.
Richardson's, Three Indian Kings, Quayside, is a convenient house for gentlemen
concerned with the trade and shipping of the port. Lough's, Turf Hotel, Collingwood Street, is chiefly used for the accommodation of travellers by the numerous
coaches that run to and from this house, and is one of the largest and best hotels of
the kind in any provincial town of the kingdom. It would be uninteresting to enumerate all the inns in the town: but Dixon's, White Hart, Old Flesh Market;
Richardson's, Rose and Crown, Bigg Market; Reed's, the Sun, Nun's-gate; Wallace's, Nag's Head, Butcher Bank; and Lowes', Fox and Lamb, Pilgrim Street,
are all respectable, well-frequented inns. There are no coffee-houses in Newcastle,
those so called being properly news-rooms, devoted to the use of their respective
subscribers, or to such strangers as they introduce. This defect in our public establishments seems almost unaccountable, when we consider the convenience of coffeehouses to the inhabitants of a populous town, and the support they would consequently
There are, it is estimated, in Newcastle and Gateshead, 100 grocers and tea-dealers,
exclusive of dealers in tea, cottons, &c. who employ about 60 men to vend their
commodities in the country. Also, 50 flour-dealers, 40 master shoemakers, 32 tailors,
and 45 linen, and linen and woollen drapers, with other tradesmen in proportion.
The market for wheat and rye was formerly held in Pilgrim Street, but, in 1812,
was removed to St. Nicholas' Square. The market for oats continues to be held in
the Bigg Market. All the farmers are obliged to bring their corn in carts for sale,
and to expose one sack of each kind as a sample. Delivery and payment immediately
follow sale, which is a great convenience to the farmers. Taking three successive
numbers of the Newcastle Chronicle for last year, at random, the sales of British corn
in the Newcastle market are given thus:—
|1826, October 7,
Thus it appears that the average sale of these three weeks was £3393, 10s. 11d.
which is exclusive of the sales of foreign corn, and of flour from Stockton and other
Fairs.—King John granted to this town an annual fair, to be held on the vigil and
day of St. Peter ad vincula, at present called the Lammas fair. Edward II. extended its duration from the 1st to the 28th day of August, on provision that such
extension was not prejudicial to the neighbouring fairs. St. Luke's fair, October 18,
was granted by Henry II. in 1490. "The tolls, booths, stallage, pickage, and courts
of pie-powder, to each of these fairs, were reckoned worth, communibus annis, £12
in Oliver's time." Each of these fairs, at present, lasts for nine successive days; except the show of cattle, sheep, and horses, on the Town Moor, which seldom extends
beyond the first day of the fair. At these times, there are large exhibitions of Yorkshire woollen cloth, in the Old Flesh Market; and of Staffordshire-ware, toys, and
various other goods, on the Sandhill. There is also an annual fair called the Town
fair, on November 22, for fat cattle, called here Marts, from the time Martinmas.
Banks.—There are three banking houses, which facilitate the extensive and important trade of this district:—1. The bank of Sir M. W. Ridley, Bigge, Gibson, and
Co. east end of Mosley Street; 2. of Messrs. Chapman and Co. St. Nicholas' Square;
and, 3. of Messrs. R. J. and W. H. Lambton, Fenwick, Pybus, and Anderson, Dean
Street. Messrs. Backhouse and Co. have also a branch bank in Dean Street. In addition to these, arrangements are now making for opening a branch bank from the
Bank of England.
Custom-house.—In 1281, the "Cockettum," or Custom-house of Newcastle, charged
a duty of 6s. 8d. upon 300 woolled skins, the same sum upon a sack of wool, and
13s. 4d. upon a last of leather. Henry le Escot and Peter Graper were, in 1298, appointed keepers of the king's customs in this town; and, in 1440, Robert Rhodes
was made comptrouller of the customs and subsidies of the king in the port of the
Tyne. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, "the customer hee had a fee of £16, 13s. 4d.
and a reward of £26, 13s. 4d. a year:—the controler; fee £4, reward £10 :—weighters four; reward among them £4." In 1604, mention occurs of a house upon the
Sandhill, called the Custom-house. It stood near the east corner of the Sandhill.
The present Custom-house was built in 1765. It is held on lease of the Misses
Peareth, the term of which is nearly expired. Though it contains a spacious suite of
apartments, yet, from the great increase of trade, the accommodations have become
quite insufficient. A project is in agitation for erecting a splendid stone building
on the Sandhill, near the scite of the old Custom-house, capable of containing the
establishments both of the customs and the excise; the expense to be defrayed
by the corporation, on condition of being paid interest for the moneys advanced.
Another scheme is to extend and improve the present Custom-house, which is
warmly supported by persons interested in property upon the Quayside. But the
Board of Customs have not yet communicated their opinion on the subject.
In 1816, attempts were made to establish a branch Custom-house at North Shields,
which excited considerable interest both at that place and Newcastle. Deputations
were sent from both places, for the purpose of conferring with his majesty's ministers
on the subject. After much discussion, the Lords of the Treasury finally determined
that no branch of the Custom-house should be established at Shields, but that such
masters of colliers as wished it would be permitted to sign the coast-bond at Shields,
The late Lord Chancellor Eldon, Lord Stowell, and the members of parliament for
Newcastle, were unremitted in their exertions to procure such a decision.
The revenue of the Custom-house, including the Duke of Richmond's shilling per
chaldron on all coals sent coastways, amounted, in 1772, to about £56,000. But at a
public dinner, given on December 1, 1824, to the late Charles Ogle, Esq. on resigning the office of collector of his majesty's customs at this port, which important office
he had efficiently discharged for upwards of 34 years, Mr. Edgcome, the, present
collector, declared that the merchants of this port contributed to the customs' revenue
nearly half a million annually.
Chamber of Commerce.—Several gentlemen, interested in the commerce of Newcastle, met, in 1814, for the purpose of organizing a Chamber of Commerce, for redressing grievances affecting the trade of the port, facilitating measures calculated to
promote the interest and prosperity of local commerce, and generally for attaining
such objects, connected with commerce, as the exertions of individuals might be less
adequate to accomplish. A provisional committee was appointed to draw up rules,
which were sanctioned at a meeting of the merchants, manufacturers, and shipowners of the port of Newcastle, held at the Merchants' Court, on January 5, 1815.
The committee, which is elected by ballot annually on the first Thursday in January, meet on the first Thursday of every month. They are vested with the distribution of the funds, and the power to call extraordinary general meetings. Each
house or individual, on becoming a member, pays a fee of three guineas, and is subject
to an annual subscription of one guinea, which may, however, be commuted at any
time by a subscription of ten guineas. A single establishment are entitled to no more
than one vote, or to have more than one member in the committee. The officers for
1827 are,—President, Isaac Cookson, Esq. Vice-presidents, Benjamin Sorsbie, A. Easterby, and Thomas Fenwick, Esqrs. Committee, Isaac Cookson, Esq. jun. Matthew
Plummer, Joseph Lamb, C. J. Bigge, Thomas Clarke, James Potts, William Armstrong, William Redhead, George Burnett, E. H. Campbell, Robert Marshall, and
Thomas Hedley, Treasurer, James Potts, Secretary, Nathaniel John Winch,
Trading Vessels. —There are eighteen packets and other vessels employed in the
conveyance of goods and passengers to and from London. They are all excellent
vessels, and well manned; and clear from the London wharfs regularly twice a week.
There is also a constant intercourse, with a number of trading vessels, to all the principal ports in the kingdom. (fn. 2)
Steam-boats.—Forty-eight steam-boats have been built upon the Tyne, ten of
which are engaged at other ports, or laid aside, and the other thirty-eight ply upon
the river. They usually start both from Newcastle and Shields every half hour, under
the direction of a superintendant or time-keeper. The fare is only 6d. for adults,
and 3d. for children. The Tyne steam-packet, which commenced its course May 19,
1814, was the first built upon the river. The largest steam-boats are much employed
in towing vessels up and down the river, or to sea, when the winds are contrary.
This has become a matter of great importance to those concerned in the shipping of
coals and goods in the port, and also to the consumers of coals in London and elsewhere; for large fleets never remain wind-bound in the harbour, when there exists
the least chance of making progress at sea. (fn. 3) The engines, which are constructed on
Bolton and Watt's principle, average a ten-horse power. The Rapid, one of the
largest packets, conveys passengers to and from Leith once a week; and others, during the summer months, carry parties of pleasure to various places on the adjoining
coast. The Steam Navigation Company have lately directed one of their most commodious packets, the Hylton Jolliffe, to sail every Saturday from Newcastle to
London with passengers and light goods, and to leave London on the Wednesday
following. This speculation is said to have proved very successful.
Passage-boats.—Before steam-boats became so numerous upon the Tyne, there
were several covered passage-boats, called Comfortables, which went every tide to and
from South and North Shields. Some of these sailing boats still remain. There are
also large, strong, open boats, called wherries, daily passing through all the navigable
parts of the river, for the purpose of conveying goods and passengers. (fn. 4)
Coaches.—The Royal Mail Coach commenced running to London and Edinburgh
from Newcastle in November, 1786. At present, two mail coaches run daily to the
south, and one to Carlisle. There are also coaches which set out daily to London,
York, Leeds, Lancaster, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth, Hexham,
Durham, and Sunderland, and a gig thrice a week to Blyth. Ten coaches and
twenty-eight gigs are constantly employed in conveying passengers to and from
Tynemouth and North Shields. The gigs run once, twice, and sometimes thrice
every day. About 40 years ago, only one old crazy gig was employed upon this
road. Hackney-coaches were established in Newcastle on January 23, 1824; and the
stand was appointed to be in the square in front of St. Nicholas' church. The rate
of fares were settled by the magistrates at the following Easter quarter-sessions, in
pursuance of the local act of parliament for that purpose. The fares were again set
down and ascertained at an adjourned Easter quarter-sessions held May 8, 1826. At
present, eight hackney-coaches find good encouragement. Sedan-chairs have long
been the favourite vehicles of conveyance for the ladies of Newcastle.
Carriers.—A waggon sets out for London from the general waggon-yard, in the
Manor Chare, every day, Sunday excepted, and conveys goods to all the intermediate
places on the north London road. The Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Leeds waggon,
also sets out regularly every day. There are likewise carriers to Carlisle, and to all
the principal towns in the neighbouring counties; and also to the larger villages in
Insurance.—The Newcastle Fire Office, for the assurance of houses, buildings,
goods, wares, and merchandizes, from loss or damage by fire, was first opened in
apartments at the Head of the Side, on February 1, 1783. (fn. 5) The business of this
company has increased progressively, both as insurers from fire and as life annuitants.
Last year, they paid £4700 duty to government; and a share of £100 has recently
been sold for £3200. The following is a list of the proprietors:—Sir Matthew
White Ridley, Bart. M. P. Blagdon; Sir Thomas John Clavering, Bart. Axwell
Park; Cuthbert Ellison, Esq. M. P. Hebburn Hall; William Ord, Esq. M. P.
Whitfield Hall; Miss Simpson's representatives, Bradley Hall; Nathaniel Clayton,
Esq. Newcastle; William Burdon, Esq.'s representatives, Hartford; Thomas Gibson,
Esq. Newcastle; the representatives of T. H. Bigge, Esq. Benton; Martin Morrison,
Esq. Newcastle; Dixon Dixon, Esq. ditto; John Anderson, Esq. Jesmond House;
Thomas Fenwick, Esq. Newcastle; Robert Walters, Esq. ditto; Henry Hewitson,
Esq. Seaton Burn; Isaac Cookson, jun. Esq. Park House; Thomas Cookson, Esq.
Newcastle; William Cuthbert, Esq. Benwell; William Clark, Esq. Benton House;
George Dunn, Esq. Newcastle; Matthew Harrison, Esq. ditto; and William Woods,
Esq. ditto. There is a capital invested amply sufficient to answer every demand
upon the office, and the security of the public is further increased by the personal
guarantee of the proprietors. The business of this office has always been conducted
with a promptness and liberality that have given general satisfaction.
There are fourteen metropolitan and provincial assurance companies who have
agents in Newcastle, including the Sun Office, whose agent resides in Gateshead.
A society for the insurance of ships belonging to Newcastle first met October 28,
1778. There are now many associations for this purpose. The Hope, the Liberal,
the Tyne, and the General Out-fit for Cargoes and Freight, have each an office and a
secretary. The Newcastle Marine Assurance Association was instituted by the grocers of this town, and is limited to the goods-trade between London or Hull and
Newcastle. It commenced in February, 1823; and the amount insured and the cost
per cent. are as under:—
|From February, 1823, to June, 1823,
|From June, 1823, to June, 1824,
|From June, 1824, to June, 1825,
|From June, 1825, to June, 1826,
|From June, 1826, to June, 1827,
Water.—The "Conduit-head," at the top of Pandon Bank, was a very ancient reservoir, from which, as Brand supposes, the palace of the Saxon kings and house of
Carmelites were supplied with water. By an inquisition taken in 1264, it appears
that the Black Friars had, under a royal grant, made an aqueduct from a fountain in
the Warden's Close to their monastry, and from thence into the town. This is the
first account of an aqueduct bringing water into the town. King Edward III. in
1342, granted to the Grey Friars the sole use of the fountain called Seven-HeadWells. Leland, in speaking of Newcastle, says, "There be three hedds of condutes
for fresch water to the town." In 1647, the common council ordered a vein of water
to be cut off, it having been found "hurtfull and dangerous to be used for food and
dressinge of meate." Two years afterwards, this body made an agreement with Mr.
William Gray, for water to be conveyed from his conduit in Pandon Bank to Sandgate. In 1654, they treated concerning some water in Gallowgate. After this,
complaints occur against certain coal-owners, for diverting part of the water that
supplied the pants. In 1671, the scarcity occasioned an order of common council
for stopping all private cocks. Mr. Cuthbert Dikes and others, in 1693, agreed with
the corporation to erect a water-engine, for supplying the town with river-water,
without Sandgate. This building was afterwards called "the Folly." In 1694, Mr.
William Soulsby negociated with the common council for permission to bring water
from the Castle Leazes; and in 1697, Mr. William Yarnold obtained a lease from
the same body, for erecting cisterns and laying pipes for conveying the "New Water"
into the town from the great pond at Carr's Hill. In the 9th and 10th of William
III. there was a private act for the better supplying the town with water from three
springs on Great Usworth Moor. Water still continuing to be very scarce, the corporation, "on September 19, 1770, ordered a lease, under their common seal, to be
granted to Mr. Ralph Lodge, and the other proprietors of the intended Water-works,
to supply the town of Newcastle with good water, of a piece of ground at the foot
or south end of the Town Moor, with liberty to dig and make a reservoir there, and
to erect, set up, and make 100 fire-plugs, or such further number as should be wanted,
in convenient and proper parts of the town, within or without the walls, at the direction of the common council, to be used for extinguishing casual fires: as also to
make a proper pipe trench, and lay and keep pipes therein, for bringing water from
Coxlodge grounds, through the Town Moor to the said reservoir, and from thence
into the town, for the term of 227 years, from the 11th day of October following, at
the annual rent of 13s. 4d. on condition also, that the mayor and burgesses should
pay £50 per annum to the said proprietors for the above 100 fire-plugs, and 10s.
a-piece, yearly, for any others that might be wanted." (fn. 6) In 1777, the common council
expended £500 in making aqueducts from the Spring Gardens to the town.
The proprietors of the Water-works still obtain a large supply of water from the
reservoirs on the Town Moor, from similar depots in the neighbourhood of Gates
head, and from the Spring Gardens. They have also a steam-engine for raising
water from the Tyne. The water is conveyed through wood, iron, or lead pipes, to
the dwellings of the inhabitants in all the principal streets of the town; and there
are at present 135 fire-plugs on the various lines of the pipes, from which an abundant supply of water is, in cases of fire, attainable. (fn. 7)
The Lamp and Watch Acts.—An attempt was made by the corporation, in 1717,
to obtain a legal power for erecting lamps and regulating the watch; but it was not
until the year 1763 that an act of parliament received the royal assent for lighting
and watching the town within the walls, and a similar act was obtained in 1812 for
that part of the town which is situated without the walls. These acts also invested
the commissioners with power to enlarge and cleanse the streets, lanes, and other
public places; to open new streets, markets, and passages, and to remove and prevent
annoyances therein; and to establish laws for the regulation of the markets, hackneycoaches, chairmen, cartmen, porters, watermen, carriers, &c.
The town within the walls was, in 1811, lighted by about 750 oil-lamps; but on
Tuesday evening, January 13, 1818, Mosley Street was lighted with gas; and these
brilliant lights were soon extended to the other parts of the town. (fn. 8) At present, there
are 269 gas lamps within the walls. The commissioners pay 1s. 6d. per week per
lamp for 234, and 2s. per week for 35 lamps, which have taken an extraordinary
quantity of pipe. There are 70 of these lamps lighted during the full-moon. The
Gas Company having refused to lay down pipes in Carliol Street, Erick Street, and
Stowell Street, these places are lighted by 21 oil lamps. In the town without the
walls there are 122 gas lamps: 100 are lighted at 1s. 6d. per lamp per week, and 22
at 2s. per week. There are, besides, about 280 oil-lamps in the suburbs, where the
season for lighting is but short. (fn. 9)
The night police within the walls consists of 26 watchmen, under the direction of
a constable, usually styled "Captain of the Watch," assisted by two night constables who attend by turn, in order to assist the watchmen, and to visit them at
their several stands, to observe whether they perform their duty. (fn. 10) They keep watch
and ward from 10 o'clock every night until 6 o'clock in the morning, and are enjoined to go their several rounds, and call the time every half hour. Each watchman
is provided with a warm watch-coat, a lanthorn, a rattle, and a stick with an iron
hook at one end. They are paid half a guinea per week, and one guinea at the end
of the season, if they have behaved well. Without the walls there are 30 watchmen
employed, including two governors. They are paid the same as the watchmen within
the walls. The governors have 15s. per week.
The expense of lighting and watching the town is paid by an assessment of sixpence per pound on the rack rental of the inhabitants, which, for the season 1825–6,
produced £1374, 16s. 9d. The actual receipt without the walls, at the same time, was
£1021, 8s. 3d. at 9d. per pound. From this it appears that the yearly rental within
the walls is £54,993, 10s. and without the walls (exclusive of Westgate) £27,237,
13s. 4d. making a total of £82,231, 3s. 4d.
Newspapers. (fn. 11) —The Newcastle Courant was first published in 1711, by John
White, a native of York. (fn. 12) It was published sometimes once and sometimes twice a
week, in small quarto, with four or six leaves, and was the first newspaper published
north of the Trent. No. 110 appeared on Saturday, July 28, 1722, on a sheet size.
On Mr. White's demise, Thomas Saint became by purchase proprietor of this paper,
which, at his death in 1788, he bequeathed to his apprentice, Mr. John Hall, who died
May 16, 1795; when the business was carried on by the firm of Hall and Elliott: but,
shortly after, the paper was purchased of Mr. Hall's executors by Mr. Edward Walker,
the present proprietor and publisher. Though this paper was originally a supporter of
the revolutionary Whigs, it has long been considered as the organ of the Tories in
this district. It is conducted with amazing accuracy and address, and contains a vast
mass of matter upon a double demy sheet; a very great change from the time when
a small quarto sufficed for the news of the week. The Courant is now beautifully
printed with one of Mr. Napier's machines, by which 1000 may easily be printed in
The Newcastle Chronicle was first published on Saturday the 24th of March, 1764,
by Mr. Thomas Slack, printer and bookseller. (fn. 13) From his death on January 14,
1784, until the 21st of February following, it was carried on by his executors: when
Mr. Solomon Hodgson became the publisher. Mr. Hodgson (fn. 14) died on April 10,
1800, after which the paper was published by his widow, Sarah Hodgson, until her
death, September 10, 1822, since which time it has been carried on by her sons,
Messrs. Thomas and James Hodgson. The Newcastle Chronicle is a cool, moderate
advocate of the Whig party.
The Tyne Mercury, and Northumberland and Durham Gazette, was first published
on Tuesday, June 1, 1802, by Mr. John Mitchell, Dean Street. (fn. 15) It is at present published by his son and successor, Mr. William Andrew Mitchell. This paper is not
distinguished by any particular set of principles, but advocates the cause of reform
generally, and treats of local abuses, improvements, the fine arts, &c. with spirit and
Here it may be proper to observe, that the first book catalogue was published by
Joseph Hall, bookseller, on Tyne Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, and was "A Catalogue of excellent Books to be sold on Tyne Bridge, April 4, 1693." (fn. 16) Many spirited
and ably conducted Magazines have appeared at different times in Newcastle, (fn. 17) which
was also amongst the very first provincial towns in which books were published in
periodical numbers; (fn. 18) and perhaps there is no place in England, except the metropo
lis, where printing is more accurately and tastefully executed. The various editions
of Bewick's works printed here prove the truth of this observation. (fn. 19)