In 'Newcastle Town', Charleton says the area received its name "on account of the erection of temporary wooden granaries here in 1796, when so great was the importation of grain into Newcastle that no warehouse room could be obtained for storing it".johnnypd said:was apparently called little egypt on account of the numerous granaries in the area, as egypt was, in biblical times, thought to house the largest granaries in the world. in fact mant europeans thought the pyramids were just big granaries until fairly recently.
EDIT: see this has already been covered further up the page.
This seems to be the source of the theory and it sounds plausible enough - except for the date. As I said earlier, the Egypt Cottage's claim to being Newcastle's oldest pub was based on its appearance on a map sixty years earlier, as the Egypt Inn.
I've just dug out my copy of Brian Bennison's 'Heady Nights' and he mentions it too: "The Egypt Cottage is sometimes cited as Newcastle's first licensed house and it certainly existed as the Egypt Inn in the early eighteenth century".
This suggests the name is a fair bit older than Charleton says. The only map I can think of from around that time is Corbridge's, but I can't find a copy of it in any of my books or online.
However, I have seen either that map or one from around the same time and seem to remember - although I could well be mistaken - that the area around the inn was also known as 'Egypt' or 'Little Egypt'.
Maybe someone who has access to this map or one contemporary with it - or maybe even an early trade directory - could confirm or dispel this.
It is also conceivable that the area was named after the inn itself, and had nothing to do with granaries. I think we only have Charleton's word for their existence - and he seems to have got at least part of this wrong - and all other mentions of them appear to be in subsequent variations and embelishments of his statement.
And he says they were "temporary", so it's at least questionable that a part of Newcastle would be named after them.
Obviously this is just my speculation, and there could well be other historical references to the storage of vast quantities of grain in this part of town. It is an intriguing subject though, and I'd be very interested if anyone could shed some more light on it.