Jarrow

Street Map

Jarrow (pron.: /ˈdʒæroʊ/ or /ˈdʒærə/) is a town in Tyne and Wear, England, located on the River Tyne, with a population of 27,526. Historically within County Durham, from the middle of the 19th century until 1935, Jarrow was a centre for shipbuilding, and was the starting point of the Jarrow March against unemployment in 1936.

The Angles re-occupied a 1st century Roman fort on the site of Jarrow in the 5th century. Its name is recorded around AD 750 as Gyruum, representing Old English [æt] Gyrwum = “[at] the marsh dwellers”, from Anglo-Saxon gyr = “mud”, “marsh”. Later spellings are Jaruum in 1158, and Jarwe in 1228. Today Jarrow residents’ popular nickname for Jarrow is “Jarra”.

The Monastery of Saint Paul in Jarrow, part of the twin foundation Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory, was once the home of the Venerable Bede, whose most notable works include The Ecclesiastical History of the English People and the translation of the Gospel of John into Old English. At the time of its foundation, it was reputed to have been the only centre of learning in Europe north of Rome. In 794 Jarrow became the second target in England of the Vikings, who had plundered Lindisfarne in 793. The Monastery was later dissolved by Henry VIII. The ruins of the Monastery are now associated with and partly built into the present-day church of St. Paul, which stands on the site. One wall of the church contains the oldest stained-glass window in the world, dating from about AD 600. Just beside the Monastery is “Bede’s World”, a working museum dedicated to the life and times of Bede. Bede’s World also incorporates Jarrow Hall, a grade II listed building and significant local landmark. The site as been nominated as a World Heritage Site, along with its Wearmouth twin in Sunderland.

Jarrow remained a small town until the introduction of heavy industries like coal mining and shipbuilding. Charles Mark Palmer established a shipyard – Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited – in 1852 and became the first armour-plate manufacturer in the world. John Bowes, the first iron screw collier, revived the Tyne coal trade, and Palmers was also responsible for the first modern cargo ship, as well as a number of notable warships. Around 1,000 ships were built at the yard.

Palmers employed as much as 80% of the town’s working population until its closure in 1934 following purchase by National Shipbuilders Securities Ltd. (NSS). This organisation had been set up by Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government in the 1920s, but the first public statement had been made in 1930 whilst the Labour Party was in office. The aim of NSS was to reduce capacity within the British shipyards. In fact Palmer’s yard was relatively efficient and modern, but had serious financial problems. As from 1935, Olympic, the sister ship of RMS Titanic, was partially demolished at Jarrow, being towed in 1937 to Inverkeithing, Scotland for final scrapping.

The closure of the shipyard was responsible for one of the events for which Jarrow is best known. Jarrow is marked in history as the starting point in 1936 of the Jarrow March to London to protest against unemployment in Britain. Jarrow MP Ellen Wilkinson wrote about these events in her book The Town That Was Murdered (1939). Some doubt has been cast by historians as to how effective events such as the Jarrow March actually were but there is some evidence that they stimulated interest in regenerating ‘distressed areas’.

Jarrow is reached from the south by the A1(M) via the A194, and is connected to North Tyneside and Northumberland via the Tyne Tunnel.

Jarrow is served by three stations on the Tyne and Wear Metro: Jarrow station in the centre of the town (on the Yellow line) Bede station in the Bede industrial estate (also on the Yellow line), and Fellgate station (on the Green line) to the south.

Famous former residents of the town, including Ellen Wilkinson MP, Charles Mark Palmer and William Jobling, have been remembered in the names of beers produced by Jarrow Brewing Company, a microbrewery in the town.

Jarrow is twinned with the following towns, under the umbrella of the South Tyneside town-twinning project which saw individual twinning projects brought together in 1974:

  •  Wuppertal in Germany, originally twinned with South Shields in 1951.
  •  Noisy-le-Sec in France, originally twinned with Hebburn in April 1963.
  •  Épinay-sur-Seine in France, originally twinned with Jarrow in June 1965.

No reviews yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.