Newcastle-under-Lyme is located in Staffordshire
 Newcastle-under-Lyme shown within Staffordshire
Population 75,082 
OS grid reference
District Newcastle-under-Lyme
Shire county Staffordshire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWCASTLE[1]
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

Newcastle-under-Lyme () is a market town[2] in Staffordshire, England, and is the principal settlement in the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme. It is part of North Staffordshire. In the 2011 census the town had a population of 75,082.[3]


  • History 1
    • Etymology 1.1
    • 12th-19th century 1.2
    • Recent 1.3
  • Economy 2
    • Politics 2.1
    • Transport 2.2
  • Geography and climate 3
  • Demography 4
  • Economy 5
  • Transport links 6
  • Education 7
  • Sites and attractions 8
    • Pubs and Clubs 8.1
    • Parks and gardens 8.2
    • Traditional market 8.3
  • Culture 9
  • Sport 10
  • Religion 11
  • International network 12
  • Notable people 13
  • References 14
  • Bibliography 15
  • External links 16


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.[4] 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.[4][5] 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.[4] 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.[2] 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[4][6] 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."[4]

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


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[7] with a postcard poll showing residents opposing it by a majority of 97.4%. Although passed by the House of Commons, it was rejected by the House of Lords.[2] Newcastle sent two members to parliament from 1355 to 1885, when it lost one representative.

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.[4] 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,[4] 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.


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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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[11][12] 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% (38,210) were female and 48.3% (35,734) male.[13] 78.2% (57,819) stated their religion was Christian, with 12.9% (9,570) saying they had no religion. Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Sikh all recorded less than 1% of the population. 97.8% of the population defined themselves as white, with the balance being mixed race (0.6%), Indian (0.4%), Pakistani (0.2%), black (0.2%), Chinese (0.2%) with other ethnic groups forming 0.4%.[13]

62.2% (21,586) of the population work full-time and 19.4% (6,746) part-time.[14] The largest employment types are manufacturing with 7,058 (21.5%), wholesale and retail 6,157 (18.7%), health and social work 4,097 (12.5%) and financial, real estate & business activity 3,823 (11.6%).[14]

Jewish residency of the area stretches back into the 19th century.[15] In 1873 they 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'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.

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.

Transport links

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 does not have a railway station within the town, however Stoke-on-Trent railway station is located between the town centre of Newcastle and city centre of Stoke-on-Trent, serving the Potteries as a whole.


The town has an extensive number of both primary and secondary schools in the state sector. There is also Newcastle-under-Lyme School, an independent school established in the 17th century whose alumni includes T. E. Hulme, John Wain and William Watkiss Lloyd. Edenhurst Prep School, founded in 1961, is siituated in the residential area known as the Westlands. There is also a special school located in the town called Blackfriars School.

The town has a further and tertiary education Newcastle-under-Lyme College established in the 1966. In January 2010 the new £60 million college campus was unveiled.[16]

Keele University is situated 3 miles (5 km) west of central Newcastle.

Sites and attractions

Queen's Gardens

Pubs and Clubs

Also there is a lovely little Working Men's Club in the heart of Cross Heath that has been going for more than 100 years! Newcastle Working Men's Club is at 2 Derwent Place, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle ST5 9HG, and has Entertainment every Saturday night, and bingo for all those ones that like to try and win some money. This is a members club, but anyone is welcome to come along and have a good time.

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).[17] 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,[18] and 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.[19]

To the north west of the town centre is Brampton Park, home to the museum and art gallery.[20]

Traditional market

The Guildhall

Dating back to 1173 Newcastle's market, known as the Stones, operates on the High Street.[21] 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 New Vic Theatre was Europe's first purpose-built[22] 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 depicts the civic history of the Borough of Newcastle under Lyme and an authentic, life-size Victorian street-scene[23] whilst the art gallery hosts work by local and national artists as well as 'travelling' exhibitions.[23] Until 2005, there was an annual carnival held on the Spring Bank Holiday but this has been cancelled due to rising policing costs.[24]

Notable residents who contributed to the arts and entertainment include Philip Astley, founder of the 'modern' circus.[25] Jackie Trent, the singer and songwriter, was born in the town.[26] Arnold Bennett, the novelist, playwright, and essayist, completed his schooling at the Middle School[27] 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.[28] E S Turner, the social commentator, was educated in the town.[29] The poet and historian Dr. Philip Higson (1933-2012) lived in the town.

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


The town is home to a wide range of sports clubs and associations. Track Cycling Association. The town has its own velodrome. Lyme Racing Club is a popular local cycle club with over 150 members with and increasing junior membership. The club is active in many areas of cycling including time trials, track racing, road racing, Audax riding, mountain biking as well as regular Sunday club runs and general leisure cycling. Newcastle Athletic Club is based at the Ashfield Road track, next to Newcastle College. It was built in 1964 and is an ash track. The club competes in North Staffs XC League, Local, National and Heart of England League 3. The town is also home to one of the largest and most successful volleyball clubs in England, Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club, which was established in 1980 and has teams playing in the National Volleyball League, producing numerous England and Great Britain international players over the years. The college is home to one of the nation's oldest korfball clubs Castle Korfball Club. There are various golf courses at Kidsgrove, Wolstanton, Keele, Westlands.

Dominic Cork, the cricketer[30] and Robbie Earle a former footballer[31] were both born in the town.


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, as well as 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,[32] which was becoming more industrialised. He recruited many residents to Methodism. This is reflected in the large number of Methodist churches. The largest Baptist church in North Staffordshire is in Newcastle.

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.[33] These include 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.[34]

Notable people


  1. ^ 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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  35. ^ Neil Baldwin (Keele University)


External links

  • BBC Staffordshire website
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme borough council
  • The Potteries
  • newspaperThe SentinelLocal Information from
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service
  • Fine Art Photographs of Newcastle Town Centre all taken on 20 April 2008.
  • Newcastle Rugby Club