Greggs the bakers first opened in Gosforth in 1951. Wonderfully, there are now more shops in the UK than there are branches of McDonald’s.
2. The most successful Turner Prize of all time.
In 2011, the country’s most prestigious art prize left London for the first time, heading North to the Baltic gallery on the banks of the river Tyne.
The Tate worried it wouldn’t work. They shouldn’t have. A little under 150,000 people flocked to see the exhibition - almost double the average attendance of 80,000 the show attracts in London.
PICTURE: Martin Boyce’s winning sculpture, 2011 (GETTY)
4. The Toon Army.
If we’re talking about Newcastle, we have to talk about football. St. James’ Park stands over the city like a temple, and despite the team being trophy less since 1955, it attracts the third largest average attendance in the Premier League (50,061 a week last year). Football-mad Geordies are also one of largest (and most vocal) sets of away supporters - despite having further to travel around the country than any other Premier League team over a season.
5. Alan Shearer
On the pitch the city has produced its fair share of legends too. Say what you like about Big Al the pundit, as a player the sheet metal worker’s son from Gosforth is still the Premier League’s all-time record goalscorer and was England captain.
6. Peter Beardsley.
Oh - and Newcastle also gave us ‘Beardo’, the number 8 from Hexham who Gary Lineker once described as his best ever strike partner, famously the nicest man in football…
…a certain Paul Gascoigne, the most gifted English player of all time…
8. Sir Bobby.
…and Sir Bobby Robson, one of the game’s greatest managers. A boyhood Newcastle fan and later the club’s manager - Robson was loved and admired by everyone in football, not least of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
10. This film.
Get Carter was set and filmed in the Toon in 1969.
11. Newcastle Brown Ale.
‘Newkie Brown’ - the brown ale that originated in the city - is the best-selling imported beer in America. You might have seen it pop up in The Big Bang Theory or House Of Lie - or just any cool bar in New York.
12. This bloke.
Hendrix was discovered in New York in 1966 by Geordie music producer Chas Chandler, who brought him back to Newcastle. Some residents still recall seeing him busk on Heaton’s Chillingham Road.
Newcastle has been leading the world in getting people from one side of a river to other since 1848, with no less than seven bridges straddling the Tyne.
The High Level Bridge was the first anywhere to combine road and rail, the Swing Bridge pioneered the use of hydroelectric power and the beloved Tyne Bridge (pictured) inspired the Sydney Harbour Bridge , no less.
Meanwhile, the award-winning Millennium Bridge - or the ‘blinking eye’ - was the world’s first to tilt, pivoting sideways to allow boats to pass underneath.
14. The Windscreen Wiper.
Dreamt up by Gladstone Adams in 1908 as he drove home from a Newcastle United cup final in a storm. Who said football on Tyneside wasn’t inspiration?
Britain’s funniest, filthiest and smartest comic Viz was the creation of Geordie Chris Donald. At one time the third best-selling magazine in the entire country, Viz has flown the flag for the Geordie sense of humour, peerlessly lampooning politicians, celebrities and tabloid culture since 1979.
Born out of a small chemist’s in Newcastle, and originally called ‘Glocosade’. Fact.
18. The most surreal comedian in the world.
“It is a dark night in the forest! Out of the moonlight swoops a tiny bird and it begins pecking at my ear, pecking and pecking! Deeper and deeper! Help me! Help! I’ve got sparrows in my mind!”
- Ross Noble, not your average stand up.
Ever travelled by train? Then you owe a debt to Geordie hero George Stephenson, the ‘Father of Railways’. He built the first inter-city railway line.
20. This guitar solo.
22. Britain’s Best Street.
Not our words, the words of the Great British Public who voted in their droves for the Georgian architecture wet dream that is Newcastle’s Grey Street.
23. The Angel.
Antony Gormley’s 66 ft tall, 177 ft wide Angel of the North stands beside the A1 motorway inviting visitors into the warm bosom of Newcastle. One of the most widely recognised pieces of public art in the UK, in 2006 it was decreed an official ‘English icon’ by the government. It also once wore the number 9 kit of Alan Shearer.
24. The UK’s most popular author.
Catherine Cookson, a South Shields lass born and bred, is the mostly widely-read author in the UK. Over 100 million copies, if you’re asking.
Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images
25. The best accent in Britain.
The dulcet Geordie tones have been voted the ‘most friendly’, ‘most likely to put you in a good mood’ and quite simply the ‘favourite’ accent in the UK so many times, it would be churlish not to refer to it as simply the best accent in Britain - if not the world…
Clockwise: Tim Healey, Jimmy Nail, Donna Air, Jackie Milburn
26. The Sexiest Woman Alive.
Officially crowned World Sexiest Woman in 2009 and 2010, Cheryl Cole is proof that the Geordie nation aren’t just great sports people, inventors, artists, business minds and entertainers - they’re bloody gorgeous, too.
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