North East England History
Resources and Organisations
A list of research resources, archives, organisations, societies and libraries associated with the history, heritage and culture of North East England.
SUPPORT OUR SITE
Please help support the England’s North East heritage, culture and history site by making a donation on our donations page using the image link below.
ENGLAND’S NORTH EAST HISTORY SITE
Use our North East history map with its accompanying links to find out about the general history of any selected area of North East England covering Northumberland, Durham, Newcastle and Tyneside, Sunderland, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire.
ARCHIVES, LIBRARIES, SOCIETIES AND ONLINE RESOURCES
Beamish Learning and Activity Resources
Beamish Museum Learning and Activity Resources. Find out more on the Beamish Museum website.
Newcastle City Libraries
Visit the Newcastle City Libraries Local Studies and Family History website for more details of the extensive available resources.
North East Community Archives and Heritage Groups
Here’s a site with an excellent list of links to Community Archives and Heritage Groups across the North East of England.
Sunderland Maritime Heritage
A self-funded local history and heritage organisation focusing on the maritime heritage of Wearside.
Durham County Local History Society
Northumberland Communities is a rich place-by-place collection of resources relating to Northumberland including manuscripts, old photographs, digitised printed material and census information.
The Surtees Society
The Surtees Society is ‘dedicated to the publication of manuscripts illustrative of the history of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, principally of County Durham and Northumberland in North East England.’
Society of Antiquaries Newcastle upon Tyne
Esteemed organisation and publisher of the famed Archaeologia Aeliana, the society’s journal (first published in 1822). The society has a full programme of talks, visits, library, museum collections, archives, study groups and social events newcastle-antiquaries.org.uk
The Lit and Phil Library
The beautiful library of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne established in 1825 in Westgate Road is only a stone’s throw from the Central Station. Past members have included some of the region’s most esteemed industrialists and inventors.
The Common Room of the Great North
The Common Room of the Great North. Formerly the Mining Institute, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. Holds one of the largest public collections on mining engineering in the world. Maps, manuscripts, photographs, books and archives covering mining, railways, geology and much else. Also a venue for hire.
Durham County Record Office (The Story at Mount Oswald)
Details of the extensive resources are available through the Durham County Record Office website. Archive service covering County Durham and the Borough of Darlington.
The Record Office is currently being relocated (from January 2022) from Durham County Hall to a new history centre called The Story at Mount Oswald Manor House in the City of Durham which is expected to open in 2023. There is an update of the progress here.
Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
Find out more about the Tyne and Wear archives, publications and special projects. Also see the home page of Tyne and Wear Museums ‘TWAM’ venues are: The Discovery Museum; Great North Museum; Hatton Gallery; Laing Gallery (all Newcastle); Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend; Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields; South Shields Museum & Art Gallery; Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead and the Stephenson Steam Railway, North Tyneside.
A link to the Teesside Archives through the Middlesbrough Borough Council web page.
The National Archives
A link to the National Archives online discovery searchable database of records.
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY RESOURCES
Keys to the Past
The Keys to the Past Historic Environment Record website has an extensive database of archaeological sites across Northumberland and Durham coupled with concise local histories of localities across the two counties. It does not include Tyne and Wear.
Sitelines (Tyne and Wear Historic Environment Record)
Sitelines is an excellent source of information on archaeological sites and the records of historical development of places in the Tyne and Wear area.
Historic Environment Research Framework for the North East
Historic England Historic Environment Record
Extensive, official geographical and highly detailed record of historic sites and features across England from Historic England. Use the search map to discover the age, purpose, features and status of listed buildings and other features.
Historic England Historic Aerial Photographs
Historic aerial photographs of England including many featuring the North East of England.
British History Online : www.british-history.ac.uk/
Excellent resource for researching local and parish histories: ‘A collection of nearly 1300 volumes of primary and secondary content relating to British and Irish history, and histories of empire and the British world. BHO also provides access to 40,000 images and 10,000 tiles of historic maps of the British Isles.’
Search for information on England’s historic sites and buildings, including images of listed buildings, cross-searches over 60 resources. Heritage Gateway.
Waggonways in North East England
Waggonways in North East England is a superb and very well-established map-based website plotting the course of historic wagonways and railways in North East England. Choose the county area on the map and then click into the grid squares to see the wagonways and railways in your chosen area.
North East Mills
North East Mills is an excellent website exploring the locations of windmills and water and watermills in North East England. With maps, photographs, illustrations and lots of historical information.
North East History Tour
Historian Mick Southwick’s North East History Tour extensively explores the history of places and localities from just about every corner of the North East region.
North East Heritage Library
A new, independent community driven online site exploring North East heritage developed by Kieran Carter with an impressive and rapidly expanding array of resources and information including the extensive Coals Archive northeastheritagelibrary.co.uk
East Durham Heritage Group www.eastdurhamheritagegroup.co.uk
North East History Timeline
Our clickable year-by-year chronological North East History Timeline features the key events in the history of North East England.
NORTH EAST FAMILY HISTORY
Northumberland and Durham Family History Society
Founded in 1975 and based in Newcastle upon Tyne the society has centres throughout the region. Benefits of membership include free access to certain online records. For more details visit the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society website.
Durham and Northumberland Probate Records
Durham and Northumberland Probate Records 1527-1587. From Durham University Library’s North East Inheritance project. Also see Durham Probate records
North East England Surname Pages : England’s North East
Extensive pages covering over 400 North East Surnames examining surnames with North East connections including distribution, surname origins and meanings. Focusing on names connected with the historic counties of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire’s North Riding.
Notes on Medieval English Geneaology
NORTH EAST ENGLAND UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Durham University Special Collections
Palace Green Library Archives and Special Collections (by appointment) details here. Site includes links to a catalogue of the university’s printed manuscripts and physical collections (https://discover.durham.ac.uk/) and a catalogue of archives and manuscripts: http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/search
Newcastle University Special Collections
An online resource for searching the special collections and archives of Newcastle University here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/special-collections//
NORTH EAST MINING, ENGINEERING AND LABOUR HISTORY
Durham Mining Museum (Covers ALL North East England)
Online Durham Mining Museum with enormous collection of details on hundreds of collieries and other mines across historic Durham and Northumberland (so it includes ’Tyne and Wear’). Now continuously expanding its scope to cover all of the UK. Includes detailed lists of collieries with information on colliery ownerships, maps, dates of boring and colliery openings and detailed lists of fatalities associated with each mine. The site has well-established coverage of mines in Cumberland, as well as lead mines in the North East and iron stone mines in the Cleveland area.
Northern Mine Research Society
The Northern Mine Research Society is dedicated to the preservation and recording of mining history.
Collieries Map : Northern Mine Research Society
The Northern Mine Research Society map showing historic coal mine locations in England.
North East Collieries Map by Tangled Worm
North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers
Redhills : Durham Miners Association
The official home of the Durham Miners’ Association. Redhills in the City of Durham is a centre for education, heritage and culture.
North East Labour History
The North East Labour History Society, founded in 1967, is Britain’s oldest regional labour history society.
Woodhorn Colliery Museum
Woodhorn Museum features history and social history in the region with a focus on coal mining. A fabulous museum based in the former Woodhorn Colliery near Ashington.
Old Bricks – History at Your Feet
Old Bricks: Photographic website database of old, named bricks including many examples of bricks manufactured by colliery brickworks in North East England. Website by David Sallery featuring historic bricks inscribed with the manufacturer’s brand name. The A-Z listing and photographs of English Bricks is here and the old bricks homepage here.
Our Geology Page
Our geology introduction page from England’s North East
Geology North website
Geology North is an excellent site on northern geology particularly good for its explanations and diagrams explaining the formation of the Cheviots and North Pennines.
Detailed Minerals Maps
Detailed mineral maps from Minerals UK include:
NORTH EAST REGIMENTS AND WAR HISTORY
Durham Light Infantry
A link to the Durham Light Infantry records at Durham Records Office. Records transferred from the former Durham Light Infantry Museum.
Online research and information resource for the county regiment first raised in 1674. Northumberland Fusiliers Museum.
Tyneside Irish Brigade Association
The website of the Tyneside Irish Brigade Association.
North East War Diary
Roy Ripley and Brian Pears’ North East Diary 1939-45 has an astonishing amount of detailed information covering air raids and bombings of North East England during the Second World War. The day-by-day diary, includes the streets and towns affected and the number of fatalities. Bombs were dropped across the entire region falling in the Cheviot Hills; near High Force in Teesdale and on many mining villages but most especially the ports and towns of Tyneside, Wearside, Hartlepool and Teesside.
The Border Papers are a detailed insight into Border Reiving and Border troubles in the age of Elizabeth I. They are published in two volumes and available online – including downloadable versions. The two volumes are:
CASTLES AND FORTIFICATIONS
A comprehensive county by county national gazetteer of castles, peles, bastles and other fortifications www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/home.html
North East Books
- Classic County Histories – mostly published in the nineteenth century can be a good start for local history research. These are featured in our list of North East books (see Classic Sources : County Histories) and may include free of charge downloadable versions that are available on line.
- See our extensive list of North East books featuring the history and topography of North East England. The list includes modern, classic, recent and out of print books.
NORTH EAST MAPS
NLS Ordnance Survey Maps
The National Library of Scotland has a wide variety of historic maps of North East England which can be viewed as side-by-side comparisons of modern and historic. Covering all Britain one of the most useful resources and starting points for local historians.
- Ordnance Survey maps side-by-side with modern maps or satellite views for comparisons.
- Very large scale Victorian town maps featuring the following places in the North East: Newcastle, Gateshead, Jarrow, South Shields, North Shields and Tynemouth, Morpeth, Blyth, Alnwick, Hexham, Sunderland, Durham City, Hartlepools, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Richmond, Barnard Castle, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough and Whitby.
- National Grid historic 1944-1972 large scale maps including street-names etc.
- Emergency War Maps (WW2)
- Andrew Armstrong’s Map of the County Palatine of Durham 1771: Scale 1 inch to 1 mile (1 map on 4 sheets).
- Andrew Armstrong’s Map of Northumberland 1769: Scale 1 inch to 1 mile (1 map on 9 sheets).
- Greenwood’s Map of the County Palatine of Durham 1820
- A curious late sixteenth century map of the east coast.
Other Map Resources
- Blaeu Atlas Maior Map of Northumberland 1662 (zoomable)
- Blaeu Atlas Maior Map of County Durham 1662 (zoomable)
- Plan of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne 1830 (zoomable) This map is overlaid with buildings still existing in 1909 that are marked in red.
- Herman Moll’s Map of the County Palatine of Durham c1724 (British Library)
- Old Maps Online Historical maps gateway
Alan Godfrey Maps
Online shop for The Godfrey Edition Maps. Inexpensive reprints of highly detailed historic Ordnance Survey maps. Based in the North East, Alan Godfrey publishes historic maps covering the length and breadth of Britain.
Tangled Worm Map Prints
Online shop Tangled Worm Northern heritage maps: Viking Northumbria, Castles, North East Collieries, Border Reivers, Worm Legends, Roman North etc.
NORTH EAST MUSIC, LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
Northumbrian Language Society
The Northumbrian Language Society publishes, promotes, preserves and researches on the dialects of Northumberland, Tyneside and North West Durham.
Part of Sage Gateshead, Folkworks was established in 1988 to promote the folk music of the North East with a programme of workshops, gigs and festivals.
NORTH EAST BLOGS
England’s North East history blogs
Our history-themed blogs
Border Reiver history and Armoury
Reiver history and armour blog by Brian Moffat.
GENERAL HISTORY LINKS
Ancient Monuments Society: www.ancientmonumentssociety.org.uk
Association for Industrial Archaeology: www.industrial-archaeology.org.uk
British Association for Local History: www.balh.co.uk
British History Online : www.british-history.ac.uk/
British History site (BBC): www.bbc.co.uk/history/
English Place Name Society : www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/ins/epns/
Guild of One Name Studies : www.one-name.org
Institute of Historical Studies : www.history.ac.uk/
Island name origins in Orkney : www.orkneyjar.com/placenames/pl-isle.htm
Jorvik Viking Centre (York) : www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/
National Trust :
Place Names Dale, Holm etc :
Place names in the Danelaw :
Place names of Viking origin in England : www.viking.no/e/england/e-pl-england.htm
Place names of Viking origin in Normandy : www.viking.no/e/france/lndscpe-place-names.htm
Regia Anglorum : www.regia.org
Rheged Visitor Centre : www.rheged.com
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SITE
Please help support this site by making a donation on our donations page on the image link below. Even small donations can help a long way. Thank you.
Please email if you would like to have your organisation or resources included in this list.