Newcastle upon Tyne, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 199,064), NE England, on the Tyne River. The city is an important shipping and trade center. The famous coal-shipping industry began in the 13th cent.; coal, however, was exceeded by wool exports until the 16th cent. A number of heavy industries are also there, such as shipbuilding, marine machinery and equipment, defense equipment, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The city experienced an industrial revival in the 1990s with industries manufacturing computer components, motor vehicles, and household appliances. Several bridges cross the Tyne to Gateshead, including the tilting, arc-shaped Gateshead Millenium Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
The city rests on the site of the Roman military station Pons Aelii, at Hadrian's Wall. Later the site was occupied by the Angles until the Norman conquest. In 1080, Robert II, duke of Normandy and eldest son of William the Conqueror, had a fortified castle built (from which Newcastle takes its name). The castle was besieged and repaired several times; the oldest remaining parts date from 1177. The city walls, of which traces and towers remain, are attributed to Edward I. For 10 months in 1646, Charles I was a prisoner in Newcastle.
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas dates partly from the 14th cent. Other notable old buildings include Trinity Almshouse (1492) and the Royal Grammar School, founded in the 16th cent. Among the many educational institutions are the Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne, formerly King's College.