The Castle Keep is one of Newcastle’s oldest buildings and is a great way to learn about the city’s history.
Built on the site of an old Roman fort by the River Tyne, a castle was founded in 1080 by William the Conqueror’s eldest son. It was this castle that gave Newcastle its name.
The castle’s Keep, restored in the 1800s and again in the 1970s, houses the museum. The one thing you notice about the three-floor Keep is the amount of staircases leading to places like the Gallery, King’s Chambers, Queen’s Chambers, Great Hall, dungeon and a late Norman chapel occupying the ground floor. There are also staircases that lead nowhere.
The first staircase we tried led us to the roof, a fairly modern addition to the keep, which provides spectacular views of the Newcastle skyline as well as its famed bridges.
Elsewhere in the museum there were Norman gravestones made before the castle was built, musket balls, cannon balls, the old city arms and plaques from the medieval Tyne bridge destroyed in 1771.
First Broadcast : 8th November 2005