Gateshead - A Town Living in Newcastle's Shadow? - Not Anymore
Not too long ago, a foreign tourist was refused entry into the UK because an immigration official didn’t believe the female visitor when she said she was spending a week’s holiday in Gateshead. Although the reaction shown by the official was obviously prejudiced, I don’t suppose too many locals would argue that the town wasn’t actually teeming with tourists at the time, because like much of Tyneside, its prosperity had been reliant on the heavy industries that dominated the landscape from the time of the Industrial Revolution – and even they had gone.
It wasn’t always like that of course: When the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall on the north side of the river, they also built a fort and bridge at Pons Aelius (today’s Newcastle), and there is archaeological evidence to support the fact that they also crossed over the river to Caput Caprae. It was the Venerable Bede who first referred to this name when he wrote his Ecclesiastical History of the English People at St Paul’s Monastery in nearby Jarrow (cAD731). Caput Caprae translates to Goat’s Head and, in this context, means ‘headland frequented by (wild) goats’.