Destination Newcastle > History > NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE IN THE 19th CENTURY

In 1801, at the time of the first census Newcastle Upon Tyne had a population of 28,000. It grew rapidly. The population of Newcastle reached 53,000 in 1831. The boundaries were extended in 1835 to include Byker, Westgate, Elswick, Jesmond and Heaton. The population of the borough reached over 87,000 in 1851. By 1901 it had risen to 215,000.

In the years 1825-1840 the centre of Newcastle was rebuilt. This was mostly the work of three men, John Dobson, an architect, Richard Grainger, a builder and John Clayton the town clerk. All three have streets named after them. Dobson designed Eldon Square and Grainger built it 1825-31. A man named Thomas Oliver designed Leazes Terrace. Grainger built it in 1829-34. Dobson designed and Grainger built Grey Street in the 1830s. It was named after Earl Grey prime minister 1830-34. (Earl Greys monument was erected in 1838). Grainger also built the market named after him.

A new Theatre Royal was built at that time. Leazes Park was laid out in 1837. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary was built in 1844.

Like all 19th century cities Newcastle was dirty and unsanitary. An outbreak of cholera in 1832 killed 306 people. Another outbreak in 1848-49 killed 412. The worst outbreak was in 1853 when 1,533 people died.

However there were some improvements in Newcastle during the 19th century. After 1818 the streets were lit by gas. In 1836 a modern police force was formed. In 1858 a Corn Exchange (where grain could be bought and sold) was built. So was a Town Hall.

In 1838 a railway was built from Newcastle to Carlisle. It was followed by one to Darlington in 1844 and one to Berwick in 1847. In 1849 a railway bridge, High Level Bridge, was built over the Tyne to connect Newcastle to London. Queen Victoria opened central railway station, which was designed by Dobson in 1850.

In 1862 a memorial was erected to Stephenson. A swing bridge was erected in 1876. Hancock Museum opened in the present building in 1884. The first public library in Newcastle opened in 1878.

From 1879 horse drawn trams ran in the streets.

The first public park in Newcastle, Leazes was opened in 1873. In the 1870s the rest of Town Moor was laid out as parks. Brandling Park opened in 1880.

A new diocese was created in 1882 and the Church of St Nicholas was made a cathedral.

In the early 19th century an alkali industry flourished in Newcastle but it had died out by the end of the century. The pottery industry and the glass industry also declined. During the 19th century shipbuilding continued to be important. So did the iron industry. Mechanical engineering also prospered in Newcastle.