Artist John Storey painted a panorama of Newcastle upon Type in 1862. Made in astonishing detail -- though not entirely from life, as some of the structures he interpolated from published plans -- this extraordinary picture forms the basis of author Alan Morgan's tour of the city. With a paragraph or so to each building, mixing local history, social comment and straight description he skilfully weaves a three dimensional understanding of what it was right to live in Newcastle and Gateshead in the middle of Victoria's reign.
I bought this book because I was writing a novel which briefly passed through Newcastle in the year in question. It sucked me straight into a world which was very different from the one I had imagined, and was both compelling and captivating. Regrettably there was not enough space in the story to use much of the material, but I was thrilled to be able to place the old city in the context of the new.
A real gem.
on 26 May 2009
This book is what every budding family historian needs: a pictorial overview of an entire city as it actually looked during a key formative period. The panorama itself is set in a false perspective which presents the buildings in a psuedo 3 dimensional style. This means that you can see how they really looked. Drawn in meticulous detail and centred on the 1860's the book splits the panorama into sections, each of which is shown in close up and with key buildings and locations annotated. The notes for each item are clear and concise, giving information, not only about the building or whatever as it was then, but also a little bit of the building's own past and future. Scattered throughout the book are photos of the area taken as close in time as it is possible, and sections of an excellent contemporary road map. Altogether a thoroughly absorbing and entertaining book, for the casual reader and the more serious researcher.