SECRET GATESHEAD, by Rob Kirkup. Published by Amberley Publishing (www.amberley-books.com). £14.99. Softback.

GATESHEAD has often been portrayed as the poor relative in comparison to its larger neighbour, Newcastle, but the town has a long and proud industrial and social history. Much evidence of this is sadly gone, but in recent years it has seen a revival in its social and cultural infrastructure which has placed it firmly on the tourist map.

Traces of the town’s fascinating history are visible to the enquiring eye and this local author delves into its past, blending dark deeds and strange tales with long-forgotten facts and amusing stories.


RAIL ROVER: THE NORTHUMBRIAN RANGER IN THE 70s AND 80s, by Colin Alexander. Published by Amberley Publishing (www.amberley-books.com). £14.99. Softback.

AS a teenage railway enthusiast, the author clocked up hundreds of miles per day travelling on a variety of classic diesel trains: in half-term week in October 1979 he covered just under 3,000 miles.

He and other schoolboys could afford this thanks to British Rail’s Northumbrian Ranger ticket. At that time, the princely sum of £2.60 bought seven days of unlimited travel anywhere on the East Coast main line between Berwick and York, as well as on the Tyne Valley line to Carlisle. This is one person’s nostalgic look back at those halcyon days of affordable rail travel.


THE GEORDIE BOOK OF MAGIC, by Chris Cross (www.chris-cross.co.uk). £12. Softback.

NEWCASTLE-based magician Chris Cross shares some of his secrets to show readers young and old how to perform 12 Geordie-themed tricks. The book, which comes with specially printed trick cards and a DVD, explains the tricks themed around well-known landmarks including ‘Toon’ card tricks, Town Moor Trickery, Conjuring with Coal, and The Lambton Worm and The Sausage Roll.