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Newcastle-under-Lyme facts for kids

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Guildhall, Newcastle-under-Lyme.jpg
Guildhall, Newcastle-under-Lyme
Newcastle-under-Lyme is located in Staffordshire
Population 75,082 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SJ848459
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district ST5
Dialling code 01782
Police Staffordshire
Fire Staffordshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme
List of places
53°00′39″N 2°13′40″W / 53.0109°N 2.2278°W / 53.0109; -2.2278

Newcastle-under-Lyme ( new-KAH-səl new-KASS-əl) is a market town and the administrative centre of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. Its 2011 census population was 75,082, covered by the borough had a population of 128,264 in 2016, up from 123,800 in the 2011 Census.


Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Police hat badge
Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Police hat badge, in the collection of the Staffordshire County Museum and displayed at the Shire Hall, Stafford


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 the extensive Forest of Lyme that covered the area with lime trees in the mediaeval period. The well-known Berlin street Unter den Linden is a cognate of 'under-Lyme'

12th-19th century

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 at fee-farm 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, save a Royalist plundering. However, it was the hometown 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.

Nelson Place and view up King Street, from a postcard, c. 1900

20th Century

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 add it in 1930 with a postcard poll showing residents opposing the Stoke-on-Trent Extension Bill by a majority of 97.4%. 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 all 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 and was second only to hatting within the borough. Nationally, the town was ranked with Chester, York and Hull as the four major pipe producers. This industry continued until the mid-19th century when decline set in rapidly and by 1881 only one tobacco pipe maker was 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 the industry in over 20 factories but by 1892 there was only one manufacturer still in production in the town.

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 to the 21st century, the town received a 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.

A dwindling number of pubs, clubs and bars provides Newcastle with a relatively strong nightlife, with students' night being on Thursdays; this aspect of Newcastle has arguably eclipsed the shopping and market town it once was.


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 as 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 railway 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.

Geography and climate

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 just 2 miles (3 km) from Stoke-upon-Trent and less than 4 miles (6 km) from Stoke-on-Trent City Centre (Hanley). Newcastle-under-Lyme is about 17 miles (27 km) north of the county town of Stafford.

These are the average rainfall and temperatures from the Met Office weather station at Penkridge, some 24 miles (39 km) to the south. They show the averages from 1971 to 2000.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average max. temperature
Average min. temperature
°C (°F)
mm (inches)
(hours per month)
45.3 59.0 89.9 129.9 179.5 160.8 183.5 168.6 122.1 94.6 58.5 38.4 1330.1
Source: Met Office


Comparative Census Information
2001 UK Census Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough England
Total population 73,944 122,030 49,138,831
White 97.8% 98% 91%
Asian 0.6% 0.6% 4.6%
Black 0.2% 0.2% 2.3%
Christian 78.2% 78.5% 72%
Muslim 0.7% 0.5% 3.1%
Hindu 0.2% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 14% 13.1% 15%
Unemployed 2.3% 2% 3.3%

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. Of these, 78.2 per cent (57,819) stated that their religion was Christian, and 12.9 per cent (9,570) said they had no religion. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism each 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, Chinese – 0.2 per cent, and other ethnic groups – 0.4 per cent.

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.


A34 road Newcastle-under-Lyme
The A34 London Road

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 station site
Newcastle-Under-Lyme station site, now Stations Walk.

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. Newcastle is the third-largest town in England (by population) to have no railway station.

Most of the bus network is run by First Potteries Limited and D&G Bus.

Sites and attractions

Queens gardens newcastle under lyme
Queen's Gardens

Parks and gardens

Newcastle excels in the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom competition. In 2005 it was the 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 was awarded the Britain in Bloom Judges' Award for Horticultural Excellence in 2003. Queens Gardens now contains the statue of Queen Victoria which was funded by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam and was unveiled by Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia on 5 November 1903. It is the only park within the ring road.

Grosvenor Gardens in the centre of one of the town's roundabouts, hidden away below road level. Queen Elizabeth Garden is located outside the town centre and is to undergo refurbishment using National Lottery Heritage Fund money.

To the north west of the town centre is Brampton Park, home to the museum and art gallery.

Traditional market

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.

Guildhall newcastle under lyme
The Guildhall

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 Guildhall

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 Barracks

The Italian styled Militia Barracks were built in 1855 from red brick. The Barracks 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 contained small businesses.

Pubs and clubs

There are at least four Working Men's Club in Newcastle - in Bradwell, at Cross Heath, in Silverdale and Wolstanton.


The New Vic Theatre was Europe's first purpose-built theatre in the round. It is just outside the town centre and offers a full programme of entertainment, including 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.

Until 2005, there was an annual carnival held on the Spring Bank Holiday but this has been cancelled due to rising policing costs.

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, the 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 the founder and president (1974 - 1992) of the Chester Poets, the oldest poetry group in the North West. Dr. Higson was also the President of the Baudelaire Society of France from 1992 to 2012, the only Englishman ever to be honoured with this position.

Historically, the town had a strong tradition of festivities marking the start of a new municipal year.


The town has a long religious history. It 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 this purpose.

The town itself has a large number of Anglican churches, including St. Giles' Church, the mediaeval parish church dating from 1290. There are also several Catholic churches, most 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 more industrialised. He recruited many residents to Methodism. This is reflected in the 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), located 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 for little or no charge.

International network

The town is part of a world-wide network of towns and cities with the name Newcastle. These include more 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 just eight towns, formed in 1998, is designed to encourage friendship and co-operation between the towns and to this end 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.


The sports clubs and associations include Newcastle Town F.C., playing association football in the Northern Premier League Division One South East. Rugby is represented by Newcastle Staffs Rugby Union Club.

Cycle Staffordshire organises local cycling events, as does the Newcastle Track Cycling Association. The town has a velodrome used by the Lyme Racing Club,

Newcastle Golf Club - Clubhouse - - 407961
Newcastle Golf Club

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 a nationally prominent volleyball club: Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club. Founded in 1980, it has teams 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 older such clubs.

The town has a 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 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 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 Academy and Orme Academy (formerly Wolstanton High School). There is a private Edenhurst Preparatory School, founded in 1961.

The town's largest sixth-form college is Newcastle-under-Lyme College, which was established in 1966.

Keele University main campus is situated 3 miles (5 km) from the centre of the town.

Notable people

17th and 18th centuries

  • Humphrey Wollrich (1633–1707), Quaker writer
  • Philip Astley (1742–1814), equestrian, inventor and father of the modern circus
  • Silvester Harding (1745–1809), artist and publisher, who joined a company of strolling actors at age 14
  • John James Blunt (1794–1855), Anglican priest who wrote studies of the early Church.

19th century

  • 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 Crewe Hall and failed to prevent the construction of a Silverdale and Madeley Railway Company line
  • 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 before emigrating in 1885; Prime Minister of Australia, 1913–1914
  • Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia, (1861–1929), lived in Keele Hall in 1900–1909.
  • Arnold Bennett (1867–1931), writer, went to school in Newcastle
  • Ada Nield Chew (1870–1945), suffragist and social activist
  • Fanny Deakin (1883–1968), local politician born in Silverdale, campaigned for child nourishment and maternity care.
  • Vera Brittain (1893–1970), author, reformer and pacifist, and mother of Shirley Williams
  • Reginald Mitchell (1895–1937), designer of the Spitfire fighter plane
  • Robert W. Tebbs (1875–1945), architectural photographer

20th century

  • E. S. Turner (1909–2006), 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, lived in the town near the end of his life.
  • Jackie Trent (1940–2015), singer, songwriter and actress
  • Neil Baldwin (born 1946), clown, 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
  • Janet Bloomfield (1953–2007), peace and disarmament campaigner.
  • Fran Unsworth (born 1957), journalist, head of BBC News since January 2018
  • Andrew Van Buren (living), illusionist, showman, co-founder of the Philip Astley Project
  • Hugh Dancy, (born 1975), actor played Will Graham in Hannibal (TV series)
  • Charlotte Salt, (born 1985), actress as Sam Nicholls in Casualty (TV series)
  • Dan Croll (born 1991), singer-songwriter.


  • Dick Ray (1876–1952) professional footballer and manager with Port Vale and Manchester City, 239 club caps
  • Frederick Bailey (1919–1985), left-handed English cricketer
  • Don Ratcliffe (1934–2014), footballer with Stoke City, 438 club caps
  • Mike Pejic (born 1950), footballer with Stoke City and Everton, 360 club caps
  • Ian Moores (1954–1998) footballer with Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur, 359 club caps
  • Robbie Earle (born 1965), footballer with Port Vale and Wimbledon, 578 club caps
  • Graham Shaw (born 1967) footballer with Stoke City, 284 club caps, now a solicitor
  • Dominic Cork, (born 1971) cricketer
  • Simon Wakefield (born 1974), professional golfer
  • Alan Richardson (born 1975), cricketer
  • Lizzie Neave (born 1987), slalom canoeist in women's kayak, competed in 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., 387 club caps

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See also

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