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Railways mark the birth of a new era.

Byline: By Tony Henderson

Tony Henderson takes a decade by decade dip into the Newcastle Journal as a century unfolded.

If a week in politics and football is a long time, then so is 10 years in the life of a city and region.

When the Newcastle Journal was launched on May 12, 1832, people travelled by boat and horse.

Exactly a decade later, the paper was carrying the timetable of the Newcastle and Carlisle railway.

The 7am train from Tyneside would get you into Carlisle for 10.30am.

Such journey times spelled the end of the coach and horse era but sea travel was as buoyant as ever.

Ships leaving Newcastle included the Agnes, sailing to Crondstadt and St Petersburg, the Water Nymph bound for Valparaiso, the Stork for the Cape of Good Hope and the Elizabeth Jane for Calcutta, while there were monthly emigration services to "Buenos Ayres" and Montevideo.

Much closer to home there were reports from Morpeth Coursing Club and Alnwick Cow Club.

Gardening was becoming a mainstream activity, with the Botanical and Horticultural Society for Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle holding its show of flowers, fruits and vegetables at the Music Hall in Newcastle.

Visitors could promenade around the hall, inspecting the veg, to the music of an evening band.

"The cultivation of vegetables affords unalloyed pleasure. In many a humble suburban garden may now be seen florists' flowers of the greatest beauty," reported the paper.

Other news of the day included two cows being struck dead by lightning at Grindon Mills, nears Haydon Bridge, and the sensation caused by the catching at Newbiggin of a turbot 5ft long, 2ft broad, seven inches thick and weighing seven stone and two pounds, which was to be put on sale at Morpeth Market.

Also caught in traps were 29 otters whose skins, it was estimated, would fetch pounds 18 at market.

Mining accidents were frequent, and there was an inquest into the death of a 12-year-old boy killed at Backworth after becoming entangled in a colliery engine rope.

A boy, aged two, had also died after falling into hot water from the engine at High Cramlington Colliery.

Another inquest, into the sudden death of a fisherman at Sunderland, recorded the verdict: "Died by the visitation of God."

The new-fangled railways were not without tragic mishaps. The boiler of a locomotive had exploded on the Stanhope-Tyne line at Annfield Plain, killing the engine man and brakesman.

"A shopkeeper, named Clark, who was walking past had his hat knocked off but was not injured," it was recorded.

South Shields Sea Baths were for sale, Schweppes was advertising its soda water and lemonade and Bainbridge and Muschamp had a sale of cloth at their Newcastle shop.

Also placing an advert were Mr and Mrs Watson Ewbank of the Commercial and Private Hotel in Market Street, Newcastle, which told potential clients: "Mrs Ewbank continues to devote the whole of her Attention to the superintendence of the Establishment and particularly in having well-aired beds and trusts her Exertions will continue to give satisfaction."

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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 16, 2007
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