Jarrow - a busy town on
the banks of the River Tyne to the west of South
The town is linked to the north
bank of the Tyne by the Tyne Tunnel and the pedestrian also
runs under the river from Jarrow.
Founded as a Roman fort in the
1st century AD, Jarrow is one of the most historic towns in
In AD681 a small Anglo-Saxon
monastery dedicated to St Paul was established here by a Northumbrian
nobleman, Benedict Biscop. The monastery was a twin
to the monastery of St Peter's Monkwearmouth that Biscop founded
Overlooking the River Don (a
muddy tributary of the River Tyne) St Paul's was a great centre
of English learning. It was also home of the Venerable
Bede AD673 - 735, the first English historian, whose works
included 'The Ecclesiastical History of the English People'.
When the monastery was dissolved
by Henry VIII the Saxon basilica became the parish church.
Today this forms the chancel of St Paul's. Much of the
church's dressed stone came from abandoned Roman buildings.
One of St Paul's three splayed windows contains Saxon
glass, the oldest glass in Western Europe. Inside the
building, cemented to the wall of the tower, is the original
stone slab (with a Latin inscription) recording the dedication
of the church in AD685.
Not far from St Paul's stands
World, a new museum illustrating the extraordinary world
of the Venerable Bede. Considered to be the 'candle'
of the Dark Ages, Bede gave an invaluable insight into the
life of the monastery in the later 7th and early 8th centuries.
The complex, run by English Heritage, has exhibitions on Bede's
life, the monastery at Jarrow and early Northumbrian history.
Jarrow remained a small town
until the 19th century, when coal mining, steelmaking and
shipbuilding developed rapidly in the area.
Palmers Shipyard, established
in 1852, employed around 80% of the town's population and
Jarrow soon became world-famous as a great shipbuilding town.
However, during the Great Depression of the early 1930s, Palmers
Shipyard was forced to close.
The terrible poverty and hardship
caused by the closure led to the famous 'Jarrow Crusade'.
On 5th October 1936 a small group of 200 men from Jarrow began
a 300 mile march to London to present a petition to Parliament.
This demanded the creation of new jobs to elleviate the extreme
deprivation in the town and other similarly affected areas
across the country.
After 25 days the marchers arrived
in London. The Labour MP for Jarrow, Ellen Wilkinson,
handed the petition of 12,000 signatures into Parliament but
Stanley Baldwin (the Prime Minister) refused to see any of
the marcher's representatives. The march captured imagination
of the British public and media but achieved little at the
time. Conditions did not improve in the town until the
outbreak of World War II brought sufficient employment to
relieve the poverty. A plaque on the Town Hall commemorates
the march and a new life-sized bronze sculpture immortalising
the Jarrow Crusade, known as the 'Spirit of Jarrow', stands
in the Viking Shopping Centre.