TANGLED WORM is the online shop and sister site for England’s North East and is one way we raise revenue for the upkeep of our well-established North East site.
The England’s North East site began life as a bit of a hobby back in the 1990s and has continued to develop exponentially since.
Established by historian and former Northern Echo writer, David Simpson, it now features hundreds of pages covering North East history, culture and life. Running a site on this scale takes time and effort so revenue from the Tangled Worm shop at tangledworm.com goes towards maintaining and updating the site, even if it’s just to raise a bit of petrol money to go out and about and take photographs around the region.
With a name inspired by the worm legend stories of Northern England, Tangled Worm began life in March 2018 with a focus on maps featuring the history and heritage of North East England.
The initial focus was on these heritage maps which build on David’s extensive research into North East history. In recent months the Tangled Worm business has expanded into clothes, accessories and gifts, mostly with North East themes.
These products, with designs unique to Tangled Worm include mugs, clothes, coasters, cushions, tote bags, necklaces, door mats and tea towels and we are constantly expanding our ranges and products.
Our Hadrian’s Wall range features a map of the Roman wall and the main forts. The range includes mugs, coasters and place mats, a maxi wallet and a tote bag featuring the famous Sycamore Gap.
Clothes by Tangled Worm include hoodies and t-shirts, all available in a choice of four colours in various sizes. For example our Angel T-shirt is available in grey, white, green and light blue.
We also do socks featuring our very own Tangly. Our tote bags likewise include a choice of four colours for each product. There are bags for Mackem Lasses, Geordie Lasses and Durham Lasses and others featuring the Angel, Sanctuary Knocker and Bamburgh.
We are proud of our region and it’s great that sales from Tangled Worm can be used towards keeping the England’s North East site up and running.
Check out our Tangled Worm Shop at tangledworm.com and help support a North East site and business.
Gateshead is a town that is arguably growing slowly in confidence and status. Could it one day even challenge the city status of its historic neighbour across the Tyne? DAVID SIMPSON explores Gateshead’s transition from an apparent ‘backwater’ to a major centre of northern culture.
In times past Gateshead was once unflatteringly described in parliament as a ‘dirty lane leading to Newcastle’. It has also been described in more chauvinistic times as ‘Newcastle’s wife’. In fact, there’s that oft-told story of a stranger asking a native Geordie for directions to Gateshead. The reply is something along the lines of:
“gan ower the bridge and ye’ will say ‘this canna’ be Gyetsid’, but it is”.
Things are a lot different today of course, at least for those parts of the town that face the Newcastle waterside. Gateshead has been a town and borough in the shadow of Newcastle since medieval times. It could be willingly or unwillingly under its neighbour’s direct control. Since 1882 Newcastle has held the status of a city, reinforcing Gateshead’s role as a ‘suburb’. This was despite the two places belonging to two quite different counties for so many centuries.
Modern Gateshead: A Cultural Centre
There is, almost, dare I say it, a sense that modern developments and future plans could, in decades to come, bring about a turnaround in this status. As Newcastle’s neighbour grows and develops it might well become the sparkling modern city of glass and steel while Newcastle might come to serve the splendid role of ‘the old toon’, a kind of beautiful historic quarter with charming old buildings, streets and bars so typically found in many of the most frequently visited continental cities.
I regularly listen to Radio 2 these days – I’m showing my age here – and I often hear them announce forthcoming tours of prominent performers to major cities. Through the splendid work and fabulous event programme of the wonderful venue that is Sage Gateshead, it is often Gateshead that you hear listed amongst those cities, rather than Newcastle. It’s quite an astonishing thing when you think about it, given the almost ‘backwater’ status that the town once held.
A symbol of the North
And there’s more. What is the most iconic symbol of the region today? The Tyne Bridge? Well maybe, but if it is so then Gateshead can certainly claim its share of this wonderful eminence of solid steel.
However, arguably the most internationally recognised symbol of the whole region, let alone Tyneside today, is the Angel of the North. In fact it might even be described as the symbol of the entire North of England and it’s right here in Gateshead. Well, where else?
Even down on the river, the Tyne Bridge is now somewhat challenged in the admiration stakes by the Gateshead Millennium Bridge which tellingly includes the town as part of its name. Its modern elegant gleaming white arch certainly seems to connect with the companion buildings of Sage and BALTIC on the south shore a little more so than perhaps it does with even the most modern quayside buildings on the Newcastle side.
Being a pedestrian bridge it is also, in human terms, the most effective link between the two ‘toons’ if we are to insist on that humbling dialect term for a community’s civic status. By comparison the magnificent Tyne Bridge, though undoubtedly the greatest symbol of ‘home’ for many a Tynesider, seems designed, despite its symbolism, to carry traffic through and away from the two places as much as it serves in bringing the two communities together.
Of course it is the central business districts or retail centres that are often most identified as the heart of any city. Northumberland Street and Eldon Square, which though both pleasing, could, let’s be honest, be located almost anywhere, as much-loved as they are. They are as seemingly as popular as ever but it is reasonable to ask what they might look like in fifty years time considering the new era of online commerce which we are, in generational terms, still only just entering.
In fairness, retail seems to be one area where central the town is unlikely to challenge Newcastle. The modern Trinity Square in Gateshead town centre is certainly not on a scale intended to do so, although the out-of-town MetroCentre has given Newcastle town centre more than a run for its money for some decades now.
Today we often hear the two places now described under one name ‘Newcastle-Gateshead’. This initiative to market and develop the two as one seems to have been broadly accepted, at least for now. Might there come a day when the modern ‘city’ of Gateshead demands recognition and perhaps even a senior status in its own right? A place distinct from its grand, handsome but ageing partner across the water?
Well, maybe not, but who would have thought thirty years ago that Gateshead could have developed into what it has become today?