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Geordieologist
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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.
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".

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Obviously this is just my speculation, and there could well be other historical references to the storage of vast quantities of grain in this part of town.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.
 

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Geordieologist
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newcastlepubs said:
Do you have a reference/date for the Corbridge map. I ll probably be in the City Library on Monday
The map was by James Corbridge, dated 1723. I've now found a couple of copies in my books, but one is too small to see the detail, and the other has been cropped to fit the page. I've certainly seen it at either the library or the Tyne & Wear archives. Almost certainly the library, come to think of it.

What bothers me though, is the pub's claim of 1734. If it was on a 1723 map, then they'd have said 1723. Unless the claim is based on another map, dated 1734, or maybe an early trade directory. I'd imagine the library would have these as well, if there are such things.

But Brian Bennison says it 'certainly' dates from the early eighteenth century. He strikes me as a thorough man, and must have found something to substantiate this claim.
 

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In 'Newcastle Town', Charleton says the area received the name Egypt, "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".

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 an intriguing subject though, and I'd be very interested if anyone could shed some more light on it.

Maps showing the area known as "Egypt".


I have had a look at some of the old maps that I have copies of, dated in the 1800s rather than the 1700s unfortunately, with the following two results . . .


1 - John Wood Map : 1827.

This shows the area in between Keelmans Hospital and St Anns Chapel, marked as "Egypt".



Egypt area (on above map) ENLARGED . .




2 - Verner Hood & Sharpe : 1808.

This shows the "New Egypt", much closer (further East) to St Anns Chapel.



New Egypt area (on above map) ENLARGED . .


.
 

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The map was by James Corbridge, dated 1723. I've now found a couple of copies in my books, but one is too small to see the detail, and the other has been cropped to fit the page. I've certainly seen it at either the library or the Tyne & Wear archives. Almost certainly the library, come to think of it.

What bothers me though, is the pub's claim of 1734. If it was on a 1723 map, then they'd have said 1723. Unless the claim is based on another map, dated 1734, or maybe an early trade directory. I'd imagine the library would have these as well, if there are such things.

But Brian Bennison says it 'certainly' dates from the early eighteenth century. He strikes me as a thorough man, and must have found something to substantiate this claim.
Unfortunately the first Newcastle Trade Directory did not appear until 1778 and having taken a perusal through the Taverns shown I can find no trace of the Egypt Cottage - of course it may have existed at that time but perhaps under a different name?

Cannot see it in Pigots of 1822 or 1828/29 - not until 1834 that I can see it in Pigots - so that is another mystery.
 

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I m usually the last to quote the Chronic', but I do wonder what their sources are. They also reference the grain stores and earlier names. Must admit I ve always thought that Egypt Cottage was unlikely to have been the original name:

Historic pub The Egypt Cottage goes down the tubes
Aug 9 2009 by Coreena Ford, Sunday Sun
The pub with a famous history

THE Egypt Cottage is one of the oldest Newcastle pubs, having sat above the banks of the Tyne since the early 1700s, and it has previously been known as the Egypt Tavern and the Egypt Inn.

The area it is situated in is often known as Little Egypt, named after the many grain stores which reminded people of the land of the pharaohs, and sailors dealing in spices who were some of its earliest customers.

On New Year’s Day 1832 the Egypt Cottage was seriously damaged by a fire which broke out in the early hours after the landlord had closed up and left to celebrate elsewhere.

A large crowd of revellers gathered and watched the fire brigade take over an hour to control the blaze.

It’s thought the fire was started by burglars . . . when the landlord was later let back into his pub he was alarmed to discover that £23 he had earlier hidden in a settee had disappeared.

The pub wasn’t rebuilt until 1873, when it was sold to McEwan’s for £6250 in 1925, passed to Scottish and Newcastle and is now a free house.
What is interesting is that [set to one side the exact location of Egypt and look at the fixed points] on the maps posted by NH. On the 1827 map there is a building on what seems to be the site of the cottage, but on the 08 map, it's countryside. Pigots 1828-9 doesn't have any bars or Taverns on New Road [as city rd was], nor does White of 1827. White describes New Road:

 

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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".

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.
Whilst I like reading Charleton's book I recall one of Newcastle's knowledgeable historians making these observations:


A lot of people like Charleton, in preference to (e.g.) Middlebrook, because Charleton walks you round the town, and gives you chatty anecdotes. However, it’s not a generally reliable book to use, because:

1. It was written in the 1880’s, and has never been revised. This means that there have now been a further 120 years of history which it doesn’t cover.

2. Also, there have been 120 years of further research: people now know far more about the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and the Middle Ages than anybody did in Charleton’s day.

3. Charleton used, perhaps quite innocently, some unreliable sources. This is probably why he tells us about the “Walls of William Rufus” (part 2, chapter 2): there simply weren’t any. The same applies to his entertaining facts about the Friars of the Sac (or Sack ?)(part 2, chapter 11), which aren’t accepted by reputable authorities.

4. He fills in with his imagination sometimes, although he often lets you know. For example, his first page or two on early Pandon (part 4, chapter 12) are pure invention.

What he is good on is what he could see, or had heard people talk about: Victorian Newcastle. And for anecdotes (very useful), although you can rummage through Sykes’ Local records for those (just as Charleton probably did).
 

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What bothers me though, is the pub's claim of 1734. If it was on a 1723 map, then they'd have said 1723. Unless the claim is based on another map, dated 1734, or maybe an early trade directory. I'd imagine the library would have these as well, if there are such things.

But Brian Bennison says it 'certainly' dates from the early eighteenth century. He strikes me as a thorough man, and must have found something to substantiate this claim.

The two other maps I found (though showing the marked 'Egypt' area) in post 2084, were from the 1800s so didn't really help clarify the above at all. This map is a fold-out map in the book "The History of Newcastle upon Tyne - Henry Bourne", published in 1736 . . .

Map is entitled : Engraved for the Rev'd Henry Bourne - 1736.



Enlargement of the area between the Keelmens Hospital and St Anns Chapel . .



So, nothing is shown (at that date) to indicate a Public House.
 

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Maps showing the area known as "Egypt".


I have had a look at some of the old maps that I have copies of, dated in the 1800s rather than the 1700s unfortunately, with the following two results . . .


2 - Verner Hood & Sharpe : 1808.

This shows the "New Egypt", much closer (further East) to St Anns Chapel.



New Egypt area (on above map) ENLARGED . .


.
This is interesting as it demonstrates in my mind that the building we are discussing, i.e. the former Egypt Cottage was not there in 1808.
 

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This is interesting as it demonstrates in my mind that the building we are discussing, i.e. the former Egypt Cottage was not there in 1808.
I agree. There might have been an Egypt [pub] somewhere but there doesn't seem to be anything to show it [or anything] on that site before 1827.

White says that New Road [City Road] was built in 1776 and Bourne's map seems to show that area as being Gardens [if you join the dots between St Ann's, Keelmans and Sallyport Tower]. Again making anything on that location improbable.

The following is conjecture, but the convention which seems to be used by Verner Hood & Sharp with regard to names seems to be 'areas' at the edge of the street, street name in the street. On that basis City Road [New Road] might have been called New Egypt to the east of what is now [roughly] Crawhall Rd.
 

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Adding some scans of the 1802 map engraved by I A Kida for the History of Newcastle upon Tyne published by Vint & Anderson:





Certainly appears to be a complex of buildings in the are of what was Tyne Tees TV by that date.
 

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Adding some scans of the 1802 map engraved by I A Kida for the History of Newcastle upon Tyne published by Vint & Anderson:



Certainly appears to be a complex of buildings in the are of what was Tyne Tees TV by that date.
Curiouser and curiouser.
  • There's an 1802 map showing buildings, but
  • An 1808 which shows none
The 02 seems to show Egypt 'in' the street too.

Looking at sharp '08 the area of buildings in Kida seems to be fenced, marked, delineated in some way.

Do you see the TTTV site building as seeming to have perhaps a Courtyard.

I suppose that if we accept that the street was only laid out in 1776 a claim of anything before that might be shaky
 

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Curiouser and curiouser.
  • There's an 1802 map showing buildings, but
  • An 1808 which shows none
The 02 seems to show Egypt 'in' the street too.

Looking at sharp '08 the area of buildings in Kida seems to be fenced, marked, delineated in some way.

Do you see the TTTV site building as seeming to have perhaps a Courtyard.

I suppose that if we accept that the street was only laid out in 1776 a claim of anything before that might be shaky
Yes the maps/plans don't really play out do they, unless there was some demolition in the intervening years.

Evidently prior to Tyne Tees TV being built there was an Egypt Square which contained tenements.

This is where a Tardis would come in handy :)
 

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So, the "datal order" of maps, produces . . .
Thanks NH, that s visually much better.



Evidently prior to Tyne Tees TV being built there was an Egypt Square which contained tenements.
This is Kellys 1902 which seems to show an Egypt Court.

The telling thing for me is that in 1720 it's effectively green fields and the street itself is not laid out 'til 1776 which seems to be the earliest date for a pub there [unless someone was selling bathtub gin from a shed in the fields :)]

Seems to me that we are looking at 2 things here:
  • The origin of 'Egypt' as referring to the area close to St Ann's, and
  • The earliest reference to a pub/tavern/whatever on the rough site of the 'Cottage'

I ll try and hit the library tomorrow and look at Corbridge and any other maps - Al' will specifically look for the 1734 reference.
 

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Eneas Mackenzie has this to say in 1826 in his Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead

The airy and convenient situation of the New-road has given rise to a row of elegant houses. These buildings, which are mostly inhabited by mercantile people, are situated on a small eminence north of the road; and in front of each house is a little grass or flower plot, which gives them an agreeable appearance. During the seasons of scarcity about the beginning of this century, when such immense quantities of foreign corn were imported, large temporary granaries were erected on both sides of this road. These the people termed Egypt, in allusion to those erected by Joseph in that ancient country, which appellation was confirmed by the proprietors.
 

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The 1802/1808 discrepancy could be explained byshoddy/plagiaristic map-making. Up to the foundation of the OS private map publishers were notorious for ripping off each others' products, reissuing maps using old and out-of-date plates, etc etc. Just because a sheet is dated 1808 doesn't mean that it has benefitted from a recent survey or revision.
 

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I see on those mpas above, north of where the Eygpt Cottage used to be, is somewhere called 'Red Barns'. I'm assuming this has soemthing to do with a farm/agriculture use for the area? Or is it named after something else?
 

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Geordieologist
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I nipped into Local Studies after the match this afternoon and managed to look at Corbridge’s map, and it makes no mention of the Egypt Inn or an area called Egypt. The assistant also said there is no record of a pub or area of that name - or even of an Egypt Cottage - anywhere in their index system, which is most bizarre.

I first became interested in the origins of the name when Fred Plater took the pub over in 1986. The brewery had told him it was Newcastle’s oldest pub, and I seem to remember verifying this for him at the time. This is why I've been a bit vague about possibly seeing it marked on a map: it was over quarter of a century ago.

As chance would have it, I’m off out for a few beers tonight with the lad who managed it for Fred when it reopened, and lived above it for the first two years. I’ll ask him what he remembers.

Meanwhile, I found this mention in my own collection of cuttings, from the Evening Chronicle, December 1997:

"Dr Bennison also raises the question of which is the oldest pub name in Newcastle, with leading candidates being The Cradlewell and the Egypt Cottage.

The Cradlewell, in Jesmond, took its name from the local well, whose water was mixed with the whiskey.

The Egypt Cottage was named after its locality, known as Little Egypt, because of the way grain was stored in the manner of the pharaohs”.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, Brian says in his book 'Heavy Nights' that the pub "certainly" existed as the Egypt Inn in the early 18th century. The references to grain seem to come from Charleton or, as Steve pointed out earlier, McKenzie - which now seems to be the original source. Excellent work Steve.

I have also found some notes I made back in ’86, but they don’t shed much light on the matter: “The pub was rebuilt in 1873 for Susannah Gibson, a wealthy local land-owner, well known for her generosity to local charities and the religious body with which she was connected. She was particularly concerned about victims of ‘vice and sensuality’, and left cash for the Newcastle Asylum for Female Penitents, and the Worn-out Wesleyan Ministers’ Fund”. I believe that nearby Gibson Street was named in her honour.

I’m now quite determined to get to the bottom of why the area was known as ‘Egypt’, and will head off to the Tyne & Wear archives tomorrow if I can find the time.
 
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