THE GRAINGER MARKET: THE PEOPLE’S HISTORY, by Yvonne Young, with photographs by Juan Fitzgerald. Published by Newcastle Libraries, Tyne Bridge Publishing (www.tynebridgepublishing.co.uk). £7.50. Softback.

IN his introduction to this fascinating book, John Grundy writes that when the Newcastle covered market first opened in 1835 it “must have seemed like a revolution – hundreds of shops open all day and all week… choice and variety, and all under the cover of an elegant and sophisticated classical building.

“It was the largest covered market in the country and a clear sign that Newcastle was the place to be, an emerging regional capital, go-getting and exciting.” Now a Grade I listed building, the market employs 800 people and attracts 200,000 shoppers every week.

The People’s History section of the book – recalling memories of many men and women who worked there and historic photographs – reveals that many businesses have a long history of involvement in the market. Ice cream makers Mark Toney opened their first stall there in 1907, butchers John Eden and Sons opened for business in 1925, Murrays the jeweller’s tenancy dates back to 1901, and Ken Robinson’s family pet store business started in 1929.

Pre-dating all of these traders is the original Marks and Spencer Penny Bazaar, which opened on April 11, 1895. The Grainger Market stall is the last of the original Penny Bazaars and, not surprisingly, it is also the company’s smallest outlet.

Another market institution is the corporation weigh house. Used originally by traders to weigh produce – including deer carcasses – the original metal scale recorded a maximum weight of 24 stones. It’s perhaps a sign of the times that the modern electronic scale used today goes up to more than 31 stones.

Among many of the current stallholders who have contributed to the book are Paul Nicholson of Fantastic Toys; Keith Liddell, joint owner of Finlay’s butchers since 1988; Lisa Sample, owner of Matthews’ cheese shop; and Stuart Lee Archer of Pumphrey’s Coffee. A Newcastle business which has been importing fine coffee since 1750, Pumphrey’s opened a coffee centre and brewing emporium in the Grainger Arcade in 1998 which sells more than 40 different freshly roasted coffees.


EDGE OF EMPIRE: A GUIDE TO THE ROMAN REMAINS IN THE NORTHUMBERLAND LANDSCAPE, by Ian Hall. Published by Wanney Books (Tel:01665-604717) (www.wildsofwanney.co.uk). £4.50. Softback.

TODAY Northumberland has perhaps the densest concentration of Roman ruins in Britain. Some are among the most visited historical sites in the country, but alongside these are many more sites off the tourist trail that are less well known and less visited but free to access.

In what the author describes as a ‘very simple guide’ to Roman Northumberland, he looks at Roman milestones, camps including the ramparts of a temporary marching camp at Swine Hill, surviving evidence on the Roman main roads of Dere Street, The Stanegate, the Military Way, and The Devil’s Causeway.

Apart from the forts and milecastles built by the Roman soldiers, and Hadrian’s Wall, photographs include a Roman tomb near Rochester, the remains of a temple in the middle of a housing estate in west Newcastle, Denton turret, Brunton turret and the remains of once-impressive bridges at Chollerford and Corbridge.


SOUTH NORTHUMBERLAND: 150 NOT OUT, 1864-2014, by Duncan D. Stephen. Published by South Northumberland Cricket Club (to order, tel: 0191-246 0006, or email: gillian.usher@southnorth.co.uk). £20 (+£5 p&p). Softback.

THIS weighty tome – 258 pages in length – chronicles the life of South Northumberland Cricket Club from its formation in Gosforth as Bulman Village Cricket Club, and its first match against North Durham on July 27, 1864.

Milestones recorded include the appointment in 1875 of the club’s first professional, R. Proctor, on a wage of 35 shillings a week, and its name change to South Northumberland in 1882, when a new £200 cricket pavilion was opened and the club hosted a visiting Australian team for the first time.

The club was one of eight teams which formed the Tyneside Senior League in 1904, and in a golden period between 1906 and 1909 it topped that league four times. Packed with photographs, biographies of officials and players, this history notes that in 1955 the club employed a young Indian leg spinner, Chandu Borde.

He was shocked to discover how cold it was in Newcastle and later recalled having difficulty understanding the local accent, saying: “I would nod, not knowing what was being said.” Despite these difficulties he took 100 wickets that season.

More recent events covered include the opening of a cricket academy and indoor cricket school in 1998 and the year 2006 when South Northumberland earned the title of Best Club Side in England after beating opponents Bromley CC at Lord’s cricket ground.