Grainger Town is a small town located in the north of England, but despite its size, it packs a punch when it comes to interesting facts! Learn all about Grainger Town and why this place is so interesting here.
Important Things To Know About Grainger Town
Did you know Grainger Town showcases a delightful blend of Georgian and Edinburgh architecture? Besides this, it also boasts many exciting tourist attractions like Majestic Theatre Royal, Grey’s Monument, The Newcastle Fortress, etc.
In this article, we’ll explore 15 fascinating facts about this remarkable town. From its awe-inspiring structures to its vibrant past, Grainger Town holds secrets to ignite your curiosity.
Get ready to step back in time as we uncover the hidden gems that make this place truly special. With each fact, you’ll discover a new layer of intrigue that will leave you spellbound. So let’s begin!
1. Boasts an Ideal Location in the Heart of Newcastle
Grainger Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with impressive architecture and a buzzing atmosphere. This town is a shining example of how valuable it is to keep its historic Georgian style intact.
Grainger Town is a happening place due to its ideal location—in the centre of Newcastle. It boasts fantastic shops, restaurants, and bars that both locals and tourists love.
But what sets Grainger Town apart is its endearing nickname, “The Grange” or “The Grainger Quarter.” These monikers pay homage to its founder, William Grainger, who established a grand estate in the early 1800s.
The town that grew around it adopted the same name and remained an integral part of Grainger Town’s identity. Even the local football team, Grainger Town F.C., proudly bears this nickname.
2. Hear Whispers of the Past from Medieval Friary
In the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, lies the Medieval Friary of Grainger Town. Founded by the Dominican Order in the 13th century, this religious institution once stood as a prominent cornerstone of the city.
But the winds of change blew during the English Reformation in the 16th century. The friary slowly disappeared over time. Today, all that’s left are some foundation remnants, like the church and cloisters.
English Heritage now takes care of the place, offering tours and events throughout the year. Moreover, the archaeological excavations have dug up fascinating details about the lives led by the friars who resided there and the activities that unfolded within its walls.
But the friary holds more secrets beyond its medieval origins. During the English Civil War, it was a prison for supporters of King Charles I. While the Industrial Revolution saw it serve as a quarry for construction materials.
Well, it is not just history that echoes within these walls. People claim they’ve seen ghosts and heard creepy noises. Spooky, right? So, if you are up to discovering the truth, visit the Medieval Friary of Grainger Town!
3. Majestic Theatre Royal – Where Shakespeare’s Masterpiece Shines
Originally known as the “New Theatre,” it later got a name upgrade in 1841 and became the famous “Theatre Royal.” The theatre has staged many of Shakespeare’s iconic shows like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Macbeth, and many others.
This magnificent theatre, designed by the talented duo John and Benjamin Green, first opened its doors in 1837, and it continues to dazzle audiences to this day. It stands tall as one of the largest and most esteemed theatres in the entire U.K.
The Theatre Royal has also welcomed many Hollywood legends like Charlie Chaplin, Laurence Olivier, and the incredible Dame Judi Dench.
Now, here’s a surprising twist: the theatre had a stint as a cinema in the 1950s. However, it didn’t take long for its true calling to reclaim the spotlight. The cinema closed in the 1970s, and the theatre was restored to its original purpose.
4. Grey Street: A Masterpiece of Georgian Architecture
This street is absolutely stunning and known for its charm. Grey Street is a long and straight street adorned with elegant Georgian buildings. It’s like stepping into a postcard!
In 2006, the readers of the Sunday Times voted Grey Street as the “Best Street in the U.K.” That’s right; it’s that incredible! The credit for this architectural gem goes to John Dobson, who designed Grey Street in the early 19th century.
Initially, this street was called “Newcastle Street.” But in 1838, it was renamed “Grey Street” to honour Earl Grey, the Prime Minister who gave the city its charter back in 1835.
Grey Street is a magnet for tourists, and it’s no wonder why. It has even become a popular filming location for movies and T.V. shows, like the BBC series “New Tricks.” You might even feel like a movie star while walking down this street!
And here’s a secret worth knowing: Grey Street hides a hidden passage leading to the Theatre Royal. How cool is that?
5. Central Exchange – An Unusual Triangular Shaped Building
Central Exchange is truly unique, with its distinctive triangular shape that catches your eye. It’s been around since the 19th century when it was built by talented architects John Wardle and George Walker.
They planned for it to be a corn exchange, but things took a different turn. Instead, it became a hub for various activities. Imagine stepping into a subscription newsroom, an art gallery, a concert hall, and even a theatre.
However, in 1901, disaster struck when a fire ravaged the interior of the building. But they didn’t let that setback bring them down. The Central Exchange was rebuilt and reopened in 1906 as the Central Arcade.
It’s worth mentioning that the original plan was for the building to have three stories. However, due to budget constraints, they had to settle for two. Nevertheless, it still exudes charm and character.
6. Grey’s Monument – Grainger Town’s Iconic Landmark
Grey’s Monument was built back in 1838 to pay tribute to the legendary Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This monument is a real showstopper, standing tall at 134 feet (41 meters) high.
It’s got a Doric column design topped off with a larger-than-life statue of Grey himself. The monument was made possible by public contributions, as they held a competition to find the perfect design. Edward Hodges Baily, the brilliant sculptor behind London’s famous Nelson statue, came out on top.
In 1941, lightning struck the monument and knocked off the statue’s head! But don’t worry, they fixed it up and now proudly display it at the Newcastle City Library.
7. Central Station – A Gateway to Newcastle’s Marvels
Imagine stepping off the train and being greeted by the lively atmosphere of none other than Newcastle Central Station! This is no ordinary railway station. It holds a special place in history as the world’s first covered railway station.
Before this gem was built, passengers had to endure the unpredictable weather while waiting for their trains. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Newcastle Central Station provides a warm and welcoming shelter for travellers from near and far.
Since its grand opening in August 1850, this Grade I listed building has been a staple of the city’s Grainger Town area near the Castle Keep. It’s even been featured in Simon Jenkins’ list of Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations, earning a five-star rating!
8. Grainger Market – England’s Oldest Covered Market
The Grainger Market is a bustling and historic gem right in the heart of Newcastle. It’s a market one of its kind. With its impressive size and age, Grainger Market’s earned its spot as one of the U.K.’s largest and oldest covered markets. No wonder it attracts over 2 million curious souls every year!
Inside, you’ll find over 100 stalls, each offering something unique. They’ve got everything from fresh produce and juicy meats to yummy cheeses, tasty fish, pretty flowers, and cool gifts.
And when hunger strikes, fear not! There are cosy cafes and restaurants ready to satisfy your cravings. The best part for the ladies? The market is open every single day! That means you can grab your favourite local goodies whenever you want.
9. Tyneside Cinema – Witness of Silver Screen Marvels
You have probably heard about the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. Well, if not, then let me tell you that it’s not your typical movie theatre. This place has been around since 1937 and is even a Grade II-listed building.
What’s cool is that the cinema was designed by Dixon Scott, who happens to be the great uncle of famous film director Ridley Scott. At Tyneside Cinema, you can catch all sorts of films, from independent and foreign language gems to classic flicks. They’ve got three screens, so there’s always something exciting playing.
Tyneside Cinema isn’t just about movies. They host awesome events like film festivals, Q&As with filmmakers, and even workshops. It’s also the last surviving newsreel theatre in the whole U.K. Newsreels were those short films shown before the main feature, giving you the scoop on news, sports, and celebrities.
10. Lloyds Bank on Grey Street – Hosts Many Strange Events
Lloyds Bank was founded back in 1765 by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd. Back then, it was called the “Bank of Taylor, Lloyd & Co.” Lloyds Bank used to have its own banknotes. And guess what was printed on them? A beehive!
Why? Well, the beehive symbolised thrift and industry. Pretty clever, right?
During World War II, Lloyds Bank showed its commitment to the community by turning its vaults into air raid shelters. They even made them comfy with bunk beds and other amenities. Fast forward to 1965, when Lloyds Bank made history again.
They opened the world’s first-ever ATM in Enfield, North London. That invention changed the way people access their money forever!
11. Eldon Garden – Home To A War Memorial
Right in the middle of the city centre, there’s a special place called Eldon Garden, right next to Eldon Square. It’s not just any garden, though. It’s a place that holds great significance and honours the war heroes.
One of the most important parts of the Eldon Garden is the Eldon Square War Memorial. It was put up in 1923 to remember Newcastle’s brave men and women who lost their lives in World War I. It’s a powerful symbol of remembrance.
Every year on November 11, Remembrance Day, the garden becomes a gathering spot. People flock here to remember and show their respect for those who made sacrifices in wars.
12. Lantern Tower of St Nicholas’ Cathedral – Stunning Example of Gothic Architecture
The Lantern Tower at St Nicholas’ Cathedral is quite a sight to behold! This tower, standing tall at 60 meters (194 ft), is located right at the centre of the cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne. It’s been around since the 15th century, making it a real piece of history.
But do you have any idea why it’s called the Lantern Tower?
Well, it has this unique roof that resembles a lantern made of lead and glass. It used to provide light inside the cathedral back in the day, but now it’s there to add some extra charm. If you’re up for a climb, you can reach the top of the tower by conquering 162 steps. Trust me; it’s totally worth it!
The tower is also home to The Great Bell, weighing a whopping 12 tons. Now, here’s a cool legend: If you make it up to the tower and touch the Great Bell, they say you’ll get a wish. No guarantees, but hey, worth a shot, right?
13. Central Arcade – A Shopping Haven in the Heart of Grainger Town
The Central Arcade in Newcastle is a pretty cool place, let me tell you. It was built back in 1906 by Oswald and Son. The arcade was actually supposed to be a covered market, but plans changed when someone realized it would make way more money as a shopping arcade. Smart move, right?
When they built the arcade, they did something called “jacking.” No, not like weightlifting, but raising the ground level to create basement shops.
14. Encompasses the Newcastle Fortress With The Black Gate
This medieval marvel was built by King Henry II in the 12th century and was known as the Castle of Newcastle. This place had it all—a royal residence, a military stronghold, and even a prison and execution spot.
Sadly, during the English Civil War, it took a beating and was left abandoned. But it was restored in the 19th century and now welcomes visitors like you.
In the 13th century, they constructed the Black Gate to make the castle stronger and more powerful. Black Gate is a barbican or a fancy fortified gateway. It used to be white, but they painted it black to make it look even more intimidating.
15. Mosley Street – World’s First Electrically Lit Street
Back in January 1882, something remarkable happened on Mosley Street – it became the world’s first street to be lit up with electric lights! It was a groundbreaking moment in the history of lighting.
They decked it out with 80 cool arc lamps powered by a steam-driven generator. Can you imagine the excitement when the lamps flickered on at dusk? People flocked to witness this electrifying event, and boy, were they impressed!
Although some debate the claim, Mosley Street’s distinction as the first electrically lit street remains indisputable for its use of arc lamps, which were a game-changer in the world of electric lighting.
Grainger Town- To Conclude
As you can see, Grainger Town has a lot of history and is a super fascinating place to learn about. If you enjoyed this article about Grainger Town, I am sure you will like these too: