Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Johannes Duns Scotus (c1265-1308) is believed to have studied and entered the Franciscan Order at Grey Friars Monastery, Newcastle, c1280 [Myers, p. 27; Blue Guide].

Charles Hutton (1737-1823) was born in Percy Street, Newcastle. He began teaching in the neighbouring village of Jesmond (now the northern part of the city) in 1755, soon becoming the master of the school. He returned to Newcastle and set up a school there in 1760 at the head of the Flesh Market. In c1770, he was occupying the school-house at the foot of Westgate Street. As a consequence of a flood washing away the bridge on 17 Nov 1771, he wrote a Treatise on the Principles of Bridges. He made the first accurate map of the city [Trevor H. Hall, Old Conjuring Books, Duckworth, London, 1972, p.160] - but [E. Mackenzie, A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne including the Borough of Gateshead, p. 444] says the map was drawn by Hutton's pupil John Fryer. Hutton left for London in 1773 and never returned. There is a bust and a portrait of Hutton in the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society [Archibald (3), pp.30-31; Peter Ransom, Sundial corner - No. 14: Hutton's recreations, BSHM Newsletter 36 (Spring 1998) 36-40]. [Anon, Memoir of the late Dr. Hutton]


The Literary and Philosophical Society was founded in 1793 - it was the second such society outside London, after Manchester. It has an 1822-1825 building in Westgate Road at the corner of Collingwood Street. Hutton was an early Honorary Member, along with Joseph Priestley, Matthew Boulton and Sir Joseph Banks. The Society has a bust and a portrait of Hutton. It has a considerable library in a fine room and this is open to visitors.
There is (was?) a Museum of Science and Engineering in Exhibition Park, part of the Town Moor, off the Great North Road [Blue Guide].

William Herschel was codirector of a concert here in 1761 [F. Brown].

Trinity House School, Broad Chare, has little surviving except a sundial. There is a plaque on the building. Edward Riddle (1788-1854) was master in 1814-1821. [Peter Ransom, Sundial corner - no. 5: Trinity House, Newcastle upon Tyne, BSHM Newsletter 27 (Aut 1994) 31-32.] He later edited Hutton's translation of Ozanam for at least four editions in 1840-1854. Andrew Tinwell (1784?-1845) also taught here - he was best known as the reviser of Tinwell's Arithmetic, by his father William Tinwell ( -1808) [letter from Peter Ransom, 22 Feb 1993].

William Garnett (1850-1932) was the first Principal of Durham College of Science, which became the University, from 1884 to 1893 [B.M. Allen, pp. 35-53].

Lewis Fry Richardson (1881-1953) was born in Newcastle and attended Newcastle Preparatory School until 1893. He attended the now University in 1898-1900, then went to Cambridge.

The Institute of Physics has erected a plaque to Charles Parsons, the inventor of the steam turbine.


The telescope firm of Grubb Parsons was here, but made its last mirror for the William Herschel Telescope on Las Palmas in 1987 [P. Moore (4), p.92].

In Apr 1943 - Feb 1944, Ludwig Wittgenstein worked at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, assisting Basil Reeve in trauma research. He stayed in a nursing students' hostel, or at Mrs Moffat's house, 28 Brandling Park (possibly the same place??) [Myers, p.91]. In 1997, a commemorative plaque was erected at the hospital. [Martin Wainwright, Broadcaster's fib leads to honour for philosopher, The Guardian (4 Dec 1997) 12]


Peter John Wallis (1918-1992) taught at King's College, later the University of Newcastle, from c1962. He, assisted by his wife Ruth, established the first substantial bio-bibliographical database for the history of British mathematics and amassed a substantial collection of early British mathematical books which have now been transferred to the University library.

In St. Nicholas churchyard, Gosforth, on the northern outskirts of Newcastle, is buried John Ramsay (1708?-1783), a local schoolteacher and mathematics master whose gravestone includes

To Mathematicks he inclined,
His Mind was always gay
An Husband good & Parent kind
Was honest John Ramsay
[letter and photos from Peter Ransom, 29 Apr 1996].

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An extract from The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles created by David Singmaster

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