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App bears witness to city's past; A free app called Hidden Newcastle was recently made available by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. We have a look at a valuable addition to the information available on the city's forgotten history.

Three bears caused mass panic across Newcastle city centre on March 20, 1954 when they broke free from their temporary cage in eldon Square.

They ran offseparately to the haymarket, Percy Street and Morden Street, injuring several people in their path including terrified shoppers, a car park attendant, an evening Chronicle photographer and a policeman.

Children were dragged into shop doorways to escape.

The bears - standing six foot high on their hind legs - were the main attraction of a show at the city's Palace Theatre and were on the loose for an hour before being recaptured, tethered and muzzled.

One had ripped the bumper from a car, bit a women on the back of the neck, and knocked police inspector SJ Manging over twice in eldon Square when he tried to placate it with sugar lumps.

The bears' trainer, Norwegian hans Peterson, later explained that the animals were normally friendly and had perhaps been frightened by the crowd - but they would be performing that night as usual in the theatre.

This is one of the stories about the city which is included in the revamped 'hidden Newcastle' app, which has been launched by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum and Ne1 Limited.

hidden Newcastle highlights previously unknown or forgotten stories relating to people and places across the city, bringing to life 'hidden' gems about places and characters that have often been overlooked by mainstream history.

The stories run from the 13th century to Muhammad Ali and US President Jimmy Carter's visits in 1977. Other examples of Newcastle's hidden history include: In 1814 the Tyne froze over and |became home to an impromptu funfair, with ice-skating, races and football matches taking place on the ice. A 19th-century hanging on the |town moor of Jane Jameson follow-Turn to Page 22 From Page 21 ing her conviction for the murder of her mother. The hanging was watched by a crowd of over 20,000 and Jane's ghost is said to haunt the Quayside even to this day.

In 1733 a huge crowd of spectators |gathered at the Castle Keep after a showman claimed he could fly from the top of the tower. Before flying himself, he strapped 'wings' to a donkey which performed a test flight, with disastrous consequences.

The day in 1941 when the head was |knocked offGrey's Monument by a bolt of lightning.

The police carrying out 'chastity |patrols' when The Beatles performed in the city in 1963.

Hidden Newcastle is a free app available for iOS and Android. It has been created by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Newcastle NE1 Limited with Newcastle Libraries and can be downloaded at Based in Discovery Museum in the heart of Newcastle, Tyne & Wear Archives is home to thousands of documents, housed on 14km of shelving, relating to the five local districts of Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside.

The documents range from the 12th to 21st centuries and include building plans, school, hospital and church records as well as business records, especially those of important local industries such as shipbuilding, engineering and mining. The Tyne & Wear Shipyards Collection is of international significance as it is included on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, which included documents such as the Magna Carta and Domesday Book.

There are a number of services available to the public including drop-in access, research, copying and conservation.

Take time to look at their regularly changed displays of images from the collection which can be found along the corridor leading to the search room. They have recently shown 19th-century mug shots, photographs of ships built on the Tyne, and photos from Wallsend Boys Football Club.

Tyne & Wear Archives is also home to the BFI Mediatheque which houses over 2000 complete films and TV programmes from the British Film Institute National Archive.

Sit back, relax and enjoy one of the extraordinary titles for free in a private viewing station.


Grey's Monument, Newcastle, minus its head in the early 1940s

Beatles fans in Newcastle, 1963


The "Newcastle three bears" story in the Chronicle, 1954
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 27, 2015
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