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Newcastle-under-Lyme

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Newcastle-under-Lyme is a busy market town in Staffordshire, England, not to be confused with the larger city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It about 26 miles (42 km) north of the county town of Stafford.

The town sits around 5 miles (8 km) west of neighbouring city Stoke-on-Trent, although the suburbs of the town run into those of the city. Newcastle is often unofficially considered to be an affluent suburb of the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

In 1991 the town had a population of 73,208. The surrounding borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme has a population of 122,000.

The town was selected for the campus of University College of North Staffordshire in 1949, which was granted full university status as Keele University in 1962. Also on the campus is Keele Science Park. The town thus serves as a 'campus town' for the University and also for the adjacent University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

Newcastle's industries include: construction materials, apparel, computers, publishing, electric motors, and machinery.

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History

The town grew up around a 'new' castle which was built by the Normans in the 12th century, ruins of which still survive, and was named "under-Lyme" due to its proximity to the former Lyme forest.

Like neighboring Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle's early economy was based around pottery, and later also coal mining - both of which have declined in recent decades.

Newcastle is on the national canal network, but the canal, running from the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stoke-on-Trent to Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal has been disused since 1935.

Churches

Newcastle has many places of worship including 'Newcastle's Faith' which is an old non-conformist place of worship, the 'Old Meeting house', connected to the church of St Giles'. For many years it has been used by the Unitarians, amongst whom were Josiah Wedgwood and his family. It is said monks had a secret passage in the church of St. Giles, but this is more folk-lore than fact. Newcastle is a Methodists stronghold, especially the Kidsgrove area.

Catholic churches are many in Newcastle, 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. Holy Trinity shares partisanship between Catholics and Protestants.

Famous people

Newcastle's most famous son is Joseph Cook, who became Prime Minister of Australia. The town can also claim to have been the birthplace or schooling place of the novelists Arnold Bennett and Vera Brittain, and the poets John Wain and T.E. Hulme.

Culture

A carnival is held every May in Newcastle. Newcastle has over the years increased dramatically the number of pubs, wine bars and night clubs, and is known in the area for requiring a large police presence at the weekend. Newcastle now rivals Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, for its alcohol-based nightlife. There is also a small-but-vibrant town-centre live music scene with folk music, jazz, blues and heavy metal all catered for.

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