Newcastle-under-Lyme (/ˌnjuːkɑːsəl-/ NEW-kahss-əl-, locally /-kæs-/ -kass-;), is a market town in Staffordshire, England. At the 2011 census it had a population of 75,082. It is part of the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which had a population of 128,264 in 2016, up from 123,800 in the 2011 Census.
The "Newcastle" part of the name derives from being the location of a new castle in the 12th century. The "Lyme" section could refer to the Lyme Brook or (as in the family name Lindhurst) the extensive Forest of Lyme that covered the area with lime trees in the Middle Ages.
Newcastle is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, as it grew up around the 12th-century castle, but it must have rapidly become a place of importance, because a charter, known only through a reference in another charter to Preston, was given to the town by Henry II in 1173. The new castle was built to supersede an older fortress at Chesterton about 2 miles (3 km) to the north, the ruins of which were visible up to the end of the 16th century.
In 1235 Henry III constituted it a free borough, granting a guild merchant and other privileges. In 1251 he leased it under a fee farm grant to the burgesses. In 1265 Newcastle was granted by the Crown to Simon de Montfort, and subsequently to Edmund Crouchback, through whom it passed to Henry IV. In John Leland's time the castle had disappeared "save one great Toure".
Newcastle did not feature much in the English Civil War, except for a Royalist plundering. However, it was the home town of Major General Thomas Harrison, a Cromwellian army officer and leader of the Fifth Monarchy Men.
The governing charter in 1835, which created the Newcastle-under-Lyme Municipal Borough, absorbed the previous borough created through the charters of 1590 and 1664, under which the title of the corporation, was the "mayor, bailiffs and burgesses of Newcastle-under-Lyme".
Newcastle sent two members to Parliament from 1355 to 1885, when it lost one representative.
When Stoke-on-Trent was formed by the 1910 amalgamation of the "six towns" (Stoke, Hanley, Fenton, Longton, Burslem and Tunstall), Newcastle remained separate.
Despite its close proximity, it was not directly involved in the pottery industry, and it strongly opposed attempts to join the amalgamation in 1930, with a postcard poll showing residents opposing the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill by a majority of 97.4 per cent. Although passed by the House of Commons, the Bill was rejected by the House of Lords.
Following the Local Government Act 1972, it became the principal settlement of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Like neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle's early economy was based around the hatting trade, silk and cotton mills. Later coal mining, brick manufacture, iron casting and engineering rose to prominence. Very fine red earthenware and also soft-paste porcelain tableware (the first such production in Staffordshire) was produced in Newcastle at Samuel Bell's factory in Lower Street between 1724 and 1754, when production ceased. With the exception of a failed enterprise between 1790 and 1797, which then switched to brewing, there was no further commercial production of pottery within the town of Newcastle. Production of earthenware tiles, however, continued at several locations within the borough. Manufacture of fine bone china was re-established in the borough in 1963 by Mayfair Pottery at Chesterton.
The manufacture in the borough of clay tobacco-smoking pipes started about 1637 and grew rapidly, until it was second only to hatting as an industry. Nationally, the town ranked with Chester, York and Hull as the four major pipe producers. The industry continued until the mid-19th century, when decline set in rapidly, so that by 1881 there was only one tobacco-pipe maker left.
In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the town had a flourishing felt hat manufacturing industry, which was probably at its peak locally in the 1820s, when a third of the town's population were involved in over 20 factories, but by 1892 there was only one manufacturer still in production.
In 1944, the Rolls-Royce Derwent engine for the Gloster Meteor fighter was made in the borough.
Newcastle's 20th-century industries include: iron-working, construction materials, clothing (especially military, police and transport uniforms), computers, publishing, electric motors and machinery.
Near the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, the town received major redevelopment to incorporate a new street (Castle Walk) into the town centre, providing Newcastle with a new bus station and bringing in more companies. Various business centres in the town provide offices for companies that operate in the service sector.
The town has been the birthplace of several notable politicians and activists. Fanny Deakin was a campaigner for better nourishment for babies and young children and better maternity care for mothers. The former chairwoman of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Janet Bloomfield (née Hood) is a peace and disarmament campaigner. Vera Brittain writer, feminist (and mother of Liberal Democrat Shirley Williams) was born in the town.
There have been two particularly notable Members of Parliament (MPs). Josiah Wedgwood IV was a Liberal, Independent and Labour Party MP, who served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the cabinet of Ramsay MacDonald, in the first ever Labour government. He was an MP from 1909 to 1942. John Golding was elected a Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme at a by-election in 1969. He served in the governments of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, as PPS to Eric Varley as Minister of Technology, a Labour whip in opposition, and Minister for Employment, stepping down in 1986.
The current MP is Paul Farrelly.
The town was once served by the North Staffordshire Railway, its station being on a branch line from Stoke-on-Trent via Newcastle, Silverdale and Keele, to Market Drayton in Shropshire. Newcastle-under-Lyme railway station opened in September 1852, after numerous construction difficulties involving the two tunnels of 605 yards (553 m) and 96 yards (88 m) respectively at Hartshill. There were also two halts to the west of Newcastle railway station, located at Brampton and Liverpool Road.
The section from Silverdale to Market Drayton closed to passengers in May 1956 and the rest of the line in March 1964. Only small sections remained from Madeley to Silverdale, and from Silverdale to Holditch, for coal traffic from the local collieries. The line from Newcastle Junction to Silverdale has been removed, with the site of Newcastle railway station and the Hartshill tunnels being filled in.
Newcastle was on the national canal network, but the Newcastle-under-Lyme Canal, running from the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stoke-on-Trent to Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal has been disused since 1935 and most of it filled in.
Today the town relies on buses for its public transport. FirstGroup runs a network of services connecting Newcastle to the towns of the Potteries as well as Stafford whilst Arriva buses run to Shrewsbury via Market Drayton
Situated in a valley alongside the Lyme Brook, the town is immediately west of the neighbouring city of Stoke-on-Trent, its suburbs running into those of the city. Newcastle town centre is less than 4 miles (6 km) from Stoke-on-Trent City Centre and about 17 miles (27 km) north of the county town of Stafford.
Newcastle and Stoke form the main urban area at the centre of the Stoke-on-Trent Green Belt, which is an environmental and planning area that regulates the rural space in Staffordshire, to prevent urban sprawl and minimise convergence with outlying settlements. First defined in 1967, most of the area extends into the wider borough, but there are some landscape features and places of interest within that are covered or surrounded by the designation. They include the Michelin Sports Facility, Newcastle golf course, Keele University, Apedale Winding Wheel, Watermills Chimney, and Bignall Hill. The West Coast Main Line forms the western boundary of the green belt.
|Comparative Census Information|
|2001 UK Census||Newcastle-under-Lyme||Borough||England|
Of the 73,944 residents recorded in the 2001 census, 51.7 per cent (38,210) were female and 48.3 per cent (35,734) male.Christian, and 12.9 per cent (9,570) said they had no religion. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism all covered less than 1 per cent of the population. Racially, 97.8 per cent of the population defined themselves as white, with the balance being mixed race (0.6 per cent), Indian (0.4 per cent), Pakistani (0.2 per cent), black (0.2 per cent), and Chinese (0.2 per cent), with other ethnic groups forming 0.4 per cent.Of these, 78.2 per cent (57,819) stated that their religion was
In employment, 62.2 per cent (21,586) of the population work full-time and 19.4 per cent (6,746) part time. The largest employment types are manufacturing with 7,058 (21.5 per cent), wholesale and retail 6,157 (18.7 per cent), health and social work 4,097 (12.5 per cent) and finance, real estate and business activity 3,823 (11.6 per cent).
Jewish residency of the area stretches back into the 19th century. In 1873 the community purchased an old Welsh chapel to be used as a synagogue. In 1923 a new synagogue was built in Hanley. This was closed in 2004 and the congregation moved to a smaller synagogue in Newcastle.
Newcastle-under-Lyme is served by the M6 motorway to the south and west of Newcastle and by the A500 road to the north and east. There are access points from the M6 at junctions 15 and 16, to the south and north respectively. The A34 trunk road runs through Newcastle from north to south and was the main road between Birmingham and Manchester until the M6 motorway opened. There is a large bus station in the town centre.
Newcastle-under-Lyme railway station, which was not within the town but towards Water Street on the Stoke to Market Drayton Line, closed in 1964 under the Beeching cuts. The line from Silverdale to Pipe Gate remained open to serve Silverdale Colliery and a creamery at Pipe Gate until 1998, when the line closed to all stone and mineral traffic. It now forms part of a green way from Silverdale to Newcastle-Under-Lyme, with the station site being called "Station Walks". The nearest station to the town is Stoke-on-Trent railway station which is between the town centre of Newcastle and city centre of Stoke-on-Trent and serves the Potteries as a whole. The loss of the railway station has made Newcastle Under Lyme the third largest town without a railway station.
Most of the bus network is run by First Potteries Limited and D&G Bus.
The town also has an independent school: Newcastle-under-Lyme School, which was established in the 17th century, whose alumni includes T. E. Hulme, John Wain and William Watkiss Lloyd. It also has a number of primary and secondary schools in the state-funded sector. The latter include Newcastle Community Academy, Clayton Hall Academy, St John Fisher Catholic College, Sir Thomas Boughey High School and Wolstanton High School. There is also a private Edenhurst Preparatory School, founded in 1961.
The town's largest sixth form college is Newcastle-under-Lyme College, which was established in the 1966.
Keele University main campus is situated 3 miles (5 km) from the centre of the town.
Sites and attractions
Parks and gardens
Newcastle excels in the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom competition. In 2005 it was national winner in the "small city/large town" category (35K–100K). The town features several parks, including the Queen's Gardens at the eastern end of Ironmarket, which won the Britain in Bloom Judges' Award for Horticultural Excellence in 2003. Queens Gardens now contains a statue of Queen Victoria funded by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam and unveiled by Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia on 5 November 1903. It is the only park within the ring road.
Grosvenor Gardens is in the centre of one of the town's roundabouts, but hidden away below road level. Queen Elizabeth Garden is located outside the town centre and was due for refurbishment using National Lottery Heritage Fund money.
To the north west of the town centre is Brampton Park, home to a museum and art gallery.
Dating back to 1173 Newcastle's market, known as the Stones, operates on the High Street. The market was originally held on Sunday; in the reign of John it was changed to Saturday; by the charter of Elizabeth it was fixed on Monday. Grants of fairs were given by Edward I, Edward III and Henry VI. Today the market is open six days a week, and there are over 80 stalls. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays see a general market, on Tuesdays there is an antiques market and Thursdays are for the sale of bric-a-brac. A cattle and livestock market was held on Mondays until the early 1990s; the site of the cattle market is now a branch of Morrison's supermarket.
The current Guildhall was built in 1713 and has undergone a number of changes. Originally the ground floor was open and was used for markets, until the Market Hall was built in 1854. In 1860, in order to provide more space, the ground floor arches were bricked up and clock tower with four clocks were added. The top rooms in the Guildhall were used for meetings by the Borough council and its committees, until 1860. It is now a grade II listed building.
The Italian styled Militia Barracks were built in 1855 from red brick. They were the headquarters of the 3rd King's Own Staffordshire Rifle Regiment until 1880. In 1882 W. H. Dalton bought the Barracks and settled them in trust for use by the Rifle Volunteers of Newcastle, which became the Territorial Force in 1907. In 2002 the Barracks were let to small businesses.
The New Vic Theatre was Europe's first purpose-built theatre in the round. Just outside the town centre, it offers a programme of entertainment that includes modern or classic plays and concert performances.
The Borough Museum and Art Gallery (Brampton Museum)depicts the civic history of the Borough of Newcastle under Lyme and an authentic, life-size Victorian street-scene whilst the art gallery hosts work by local and national artists as well as travelling exhibitions.
Notable residents who contributed to the arts and entertainment include Philip Astley, founder of the modern circus. Jackie Trent, the singer and songwriter, was born in the town. Arnold Bennett, the novelist, playwright, and essayist, completed his schooling at the Middle School, and called the town Oldcastle in his Clayhanger trilogy of novels. Dinah Maria Mulock, who wrote under her married name of Mrs Craik, lived in the town (in Lower Street and Mount Pleasant) and attended Brampton House Academy.
E. S. Turner, social commentator, was educated in the town. Newcastle was also home to Dr Philip Willoughby-Higson (1933–2012), poet, translator and historian, and author of 33 books. He was founder and president (1974–1992) of the Chester Poets, the oldest poetry group in the North West, and President of the Baudelaire Society of France from 1992 to 2012 – the only Englishman ever to receive that position.
Historically, the town had a tradition of festivities marking the start of a new municipal year.
The wide range of sports clubs and associations includes Newcastle Town F.C., an association football club currently playing in the Northern Premier League First Division South.
The largest rugby union club is Newcastle Staffs Rugby Union Club.
Cycle Staffordshire organises many local cycling events, as does the Newcastle Track Cycling Association. The town has a velodrome used by the Lyme Racing Club, which has over 150 members, including an increasing junior membership. It is active in many areas, including time trials, track racing, road racing, Audax riding, mountain biking, and regular Sunday Club runs and general leisure cycling.
Newcastle Athletic Club is based at the Ashfield Road track next to Newcastle College. This ash track was constructed in 1964. The club competes in the North Staffs XC League and the Local, National and Heart of England League 3.
The town is home to one of the most prominent volleyball clubs in England, Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club. Established in 1980, it has teams playing in the National Volleyball League, producing numerous England and Great Britain international players over the years.
Newcastle under Lyme College is home to Castle Korfball Club, one of the nation's oldest such clubs.
The town has a successful swimming club; Newcastle (Staffs) Swimming Club, which was founded in 1908.
There are golf courses at Kidsgrove, Wolstanton, Keele and Westlands.
Keele University is home to one of the UK's first quidditch teams, the Keele Squirrels.. It hosted the first ever Quidditch game in the UK in 2011 against the Leicester Thestrals.
The town was the birthplace of John James Blunt, a divine and Anglican priest. Josiah Wedgwood was a Unitarian and he and his family attended meetings at the Old Meeting House, adjacent to St Giles' Church, which is still in use for the purpose.
The town has a large number of Anglican churches, including St Giles, the medieval parish church dating from 1290. There are several Catholic churches, notably Holy Trinity, whose style is Gothic in blue engineering bricks, described as "the finest modern specimen of ornamental brickwork in the kingdom" at the time.
In the 18th century John Wesley made repeated visits to the area, which was becoming industrialised, and recruited many residents to Methodism. This is reflected in a large number of Methodist churches. There is a Baptist church in Clayton.
Of interest also is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), across from the Brampton Park, which serves as the "Stake Centre" for the church in the region and has an on-site Family History Centre, where the public can research their ancestry at little or no charge.
The town is part of a worldwide network of towns and cities with the name Newcastle. These include well-known Newcastle upon Tyne (also in England), Neuburg an der Donau (Germany), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Neufchâteau (France), New Castle, Indiana (US), New Castle, Pennsylvania (US), New Castle, Delaware (US), Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and Shinshiro (Japan).
This small international network of eight towns, formed in 1998, is designed to encourage friendship and cooperation between them. Accordingly, a school in the South African town benefited in 2004 from gifts of computing equipment surplus to Newcastle-under-Lyme's needs. The annual Newcastles of the World Summit was held in Newcastle-under-Lyme for six days from 17 June 2006.
- Humphrey Wollrich (1633–1707), Quaker writer
- Philip Astley (1742–1814), equestrian, circus owner, inventor and father of the modern circus
- Silvester Harding (1745–1809), artist and publisher, who aged 14 ran away and joined a company of strolling actors
- John James Blunt (1794–1855), Anglican priest. His writings included studies of the early Church.
- Henry Moseley (1801–1872), churchman, mathematician, and scientist
- Joseph Mayer (1803–1886), goldsmith, antiquary and collector
- Emma Darwin (née Wedgwood) (1808–1896), granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood and wife of Charles Darwin
- Hungerford Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe FSA, FRS (1812–1894), landowner and peer, inherited the Jacobean mansion of Crewe Hall and unsuccessfully opposed the construction of a Silverdale and Madeley Railway Company line
- Edward Stringer (1819–1863), convict and prospector, discovered the Walhalla, Victoria goldfield in Australia.
- Sir Oliver Lodge (1851–1940), physicist, inventor and writer
- Arthur Howard Heath TD (1856–1930), industrialist, cricketer, Rugby Union international and local Conservative MP
- Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG, PC (1860 in Silverdale – 1947), worked in the local coalmines and emigrated to Australia in 1885; Prime Minister of Australia from 1913 to 1914
- Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia, (1861–1929), lived in Keele Hall from 1900 to 1909.
- Arnold Bennett (1867–1931), writer
- Ada Nield Chew (1870–1945), suffragist
- Alfred Herbert Richardson (1874–1951), policeman and Chief Constable of Newcastle-under-Lyme 1901/1903
- Oliver William Foster Lodge (1878–1955), poet and author born in Newcastle
- Fanny Deakin (1883–1968), local politician born in Silverdale, who campaigned to improve nourishment of children and maternity care for mothers.
- Vera Brittain (1893–1970), author, reformer and pacifist, and mother of Shirley Williams
- Reginald Mitchell (1895–1937), aeroplane designer of the Spitfire
- E. S. Turner (1909–2006), freelance journalist and author, went to school in the town.
- Fred Kite (1921–1993), only Second World War British soldier to receive the Military Medal three times
- Freddie Garrity (1936–2006), singer, frontman in Freddie and the Dreamers, lived in the town near the end of his life.
- Jackie Trent (1940–2015), singer, songwriter and actress
- Neil Baldwin (born 1946), clown, former Stoke City kit-man and honorary graduate of Keele University
- Kevin John Dunn (1950–2008), twelfth Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle
- Professor Alan Sinclair (born 1952), clinical scientist and diabetes specialist
- Dylan Waldron (born 1953), artist who works in traditional techniques such as painting in egg tempera and silverpoint
- Janet Bloomfield (1953–2007), peace and disarmament campaigner
- Fran Unsworth (born 1957), journalist, head of BBC News since January 2018
- Emma Amos (born 1967), actress
- Andrew Van Buren (living), illusionist showman performer, co-founder of the Philip Astley Project
- Rob Heron (living), musician, producer, actor, television presenter, director and tennis coach
- Hugh Dancy, (born 1975), actor
- Dan Croll, (born 1990) singer and songwriter
- Leon Cooke (born 1991), actor, singer and dancer
Notable sports people
- Dick Ray (1876–1952) professional footballer and manager played for Port Vale and Manchester City
- Frederick Bailey (1919–1985), left-handed English cricketer
- Don Ratcliffe (1934–2014), footballer who played for Stoke City
- Mike Pejic (born 1950), footballer for Stoke City and Everton
- Ian Moores (1954–1998) footballer for Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur
- Robbie Earle (born 1965), footballer who played for Port Vale and Wimbledon
- Graham Shaw (born 1967) footballer for Stoke City
- Dominic Cork, (born 1971) cricketer
- Simon Wakefield (born 1974), professional golfer
- Lizzie Neave (born 1987), slalom canoeist in women's kayak, competed in London 2012 Summer Olympics
- Oliver Sadler (born 1987), first-class cricketer
- Peter Wilshaw (born 1987), cricketer
- Eddie Hall (born 1988), professional strongman
- Danielle Wyatt (born 1991), professional England cricketer
- Curtis Nelson (born 1993), footballer for Plymouth Argyle F.C.
- Aaron Ramsdale (born 1998), footballer
- Sir John Merrick (1584–1659), politician and MP from 1640 to 1648. In 1640, he was elected MP for Newcastle under Lyme in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected in 1640 for the Long Parliament.
- Robert Needham, 2nd Viscount Kilmorey (1587/88–1653), supporter of Charles I. He was MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme in the Addled Parliament in 1614.
- Sir Richard Leveson (1598–1661), English politician elected MP for Newcastle in the Long Parliament
- Samuel Terrick (1602–1675), local politician. In 1658 he went bankrupt for £20,000.
- Major-General Thomas Harrison (1606–1660) sided with Parliament in the English Civil War. In 1649 he signed the death warrant of Charles I and in 1660, shortly after the Restoration, he was found guilty of regicide and hanged, drawn and quartered.
- Sir Richard Lloyd (1606–1676), English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1628 and 1676. In April 1640, Lloyd was MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme in the Short Parliament.
- Sir Alfred Seale Haslam (1844–1927) engineer, three times Mayor of Newcastle and MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1900 to 1906
- Josiah Wedgwood, 1st Baron Wedgwood (1872–1943), Josiah Wedgwood IV, great-great-grandson of Josiah Wedgwood and Liberal MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1906 to 1919, then its Labour MP for from 1919 to 1942
- Sir Oswald Mosley (1896–1980), founder of the British Union of Fascists lived in Apedale Hall in the early 1900s
- John David Mack (c. 1899–1957) was a Labour Party MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1942 to 1951.
- Stephen Swingler (1915–1969) Labour MP for Stafford from 1945 to 1950 and MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1951 to 1969
- John Golding (1931–1999), Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1969 to 1986
- Llin Golding, Baroness Golding (born 1933), Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1986 to 2001
- Jeremy Lefroy (born 1959) Westlands councillor, MP for Stafford since 2010
- Paul Farrelly (born 1962), MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme and former journalist
- Karen Bradley (born 1970), MP for the Staffordshire Moorlands and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
- Gareth Snell (born 1986), graduate of Keele University 2008, leader of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council 2012–2014 and MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central since 2017
- The county name is no longer required for postcoded mail and the suffix "-under-Lyme" is not part of the official Royal Mail name of the post town, despite the potential for confusion with similarly named places.
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