Prudhoe shown within Northumberland
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Prudhoe // is a medium sized town just south of the River Tyne, in the southern part of the county of Northumberland, England about 11 miles (18 km) west of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. The town is sited on a steep, north-facing hill in the Tyne valley and nearby settlements include Ovingham, Ovington, Wylam, Stocksfield, Crawcrook, Hedley on the Hill and Mickley. Prudhoe has a population of over 11,500. Today it has largely become a commuter town for nearby Newcastle.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demography
- 5 Economy
- 6 Industry
- 7 Landmarks
- 8 Transport
- 9 Education
- 10 Religious sites
- 11 Sports
- 12 Recreation
- 13 Public services
- 14 Notable people
- 15 International links
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 External links
There has been a castle at Prudhoe ever since the ancient times, when England was at war with Scotland. The area now known as Castlefields was a fruit orchard, and the Scots were rumored to have burnt this orchard while attempting to capture Prudhoe Castle. The castle, originally owned by the D'Umfravilles, then the Percys and now English Heritage is considered to be the only medieval fortification in Northumberland to have never been captured by the Scots.
In the 18th century, a small hamlet of farms were built in the Prudhoe area and by the 1800s, a coal mine was made at West Wylam. At that point, South Road was the main street with a church and a row of cottages, similar to how it looks today. Several more houses and a few Christian churches were constructed, boosting the total population of the town now known as Prudhoe.
Local government services for Prudhoe are provided by Northumberland County Council. The town is in the parliamentary constituency of Hexham. Prudhoe is the main primary settlement within the Civil Parish of Prudhoe, which is situated in Tynedale. The Town Council meet at Parish Hall, Front Street.
The town of Prudhoe is built on a steep north-facing hill, with an elevation of up to 200 metres in the extreme south of town. There is a prominent bend in the River Tyne where the castle overlooks. Driving out of Prudhoe via the south is Prudhoe Moor, the very top of town and then a small valley where Prudhoe Hospital and Humbles Wood is based. As well as steep and elevated, the land to the south of Prudhoe is heavily forested and rural, once out of town it is hard to imagine at times that one is within two miles of a major town of 11,500 people. Travelling south, one will eventually reach the town of Hedley on the Hill, and then Ebchester over the County Durham border. Towards the northeast of Prudhoe Civil Parish is Hagg Bank, a notorious steep hill for cyclists and runners which winds down to Hagg Bank Farm near Points Bridge on the riverside.
Via West Wylam and Eastwood Park, as well as Dukeshagg and Low Guards Wood, the eastern reaches of the town border the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear; one travelling on the A695 bypass may notice the border spanning Stanley Burn, until it flows out into the River Tyne at Wylam.
Prudhoe Civil Parish was recorded to have 11,500 residents as of the publication of the last official census.
Of these, it was discovered that the population was:
- 48% Male & 52% Female
- 96.9% had White British ethnicity
- 43.1% were in very good health
- 68.6% Christian & 24.6% No religion
- 42.7% of houses are semi-detached
- 47% of houses have three bedrooms
Industry at Low Prudhoe and tourism are major factors to the town's economy. The established businesses on Front Street are well-known and attract a number of visitors from the surrounding villages.
Prudhoe was once a coal mining town. There is still evidence of the old coal mine at West Wylam, signified by a miner's cart when driving into Castlefields up Cockshot Dean.
The town has an industrial estate, called Low Prudhoe which lies alongside the A695 road which now bypasses the town to the north. There are a few large factories and several smaller businesses straddling the side of this road; Low Prudhoe's impression upon the local people varies depending on the person.
Prudhoe has two large factories:
- SCA Hygiene, originally built by Kimberly-Clark, the mill was bought by SCA after the Monopolies Commission forced Kimberly-Clark to sell. The company makes paper products such as tissues at their Prudhoe Mill factory. The factory consists of the mill, housing the paper machines, converting lines, warehousing and Unifibres. Recently SCA allowed the local Explorer Scout group and Ranger unit to use the warehouses 40m high internal steps to climb the equivalent of the height of Everest, the participants began at 7:30 on Wednesday the 27th of June[when?] climbing the stairs about 16 times each to obtain a total ascent greater than that of Everest. The site where SCA stands was first used by ICI for producing agricultural fertiliser (sulphate and ammonium sulfate). In 1963 this plant closed leaving behind the "Spetchells" chalk hills - heaps of waste product which were subsequently turfed over. After ICI closed the site was owned by Cleveland Engineering which produced automobile parts, and following its closure in 1969 Kimberly-Clark opened.
- Hammerite Products owned by Akzo Nobel; producing paints and thinning products for Cuprinol, Hammerite and other brands.
Thompsons of Prudhoe Ltd (a large demolition, earthworks, quarrying and waste management company) are based on the Prudhoe Industrial Estate. The company operates all over the northeast of England, and it's not uncommon to see one of their vehicles travelling up the A1 (M1) motorway.
Prudhoe Castle is a Norman castle, which was for a long time involved in the border wars between England and Scotland. It was built by the de Umfraville family: the Norman Sir Robert de Umfraville was granted the freedom of Redesdale by William the Conqueror. For much of its history the castle was owned by the Percy family. It is now run by English Heritage. The castle is unique in being the only medieval defensive fortification in the whole of Northumbria (the modern counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham to the south) to prevent capture by the Scots
The majority of the surviving building work dates from the 12th century, although the site of Prudhoe Castle has strong Norman origins. In the 14th/15th centuries, the tower was extended to provide an extra level with turrets. Only the southwest turret survives to this day.
Important Religious Sites
Prudhoe Hall (built 1868–70) and the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Cuthbert in Prudhoe (built 1890–91, but incorporating the Cottier windows from an earlier smaller chapel built 1868–70) have some of Daniel Cottier’s earliest stained glass. Matthew Liddell presumably commissioned Cottier to design the stained glass windows in both the main hall and the original chapel because his architect, Archibald Dunn, was impressed by the fact that Cottier had recently won a prize for the superb harmony of colours in his armorial window at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition. Indeed, Daniel Cottier has referred to his Paris prize in the graphite border of the large window in the main hall of Prudhoe Hall.
The stained glass in the small original chapel, which was opened on 19 October 1870, was eventually incorporated in the enlarged church of 1891 and then subsequently moved again a mile into the town of Prudhoe in 1904–05, when the Liddell family moved away from the area and could no longer support the Catholic mission, which Matthew Liddell had begun in 1870. The black-and-white photographs of the first chapel at Prudhoe Hall in Fr Paul Zielinski’s book, The Church That Moved, show exactly the same windows containing the Cottier glass that have been retained in the larger church that replaced it. This means that the Cottier windows have been moved twice from their original site, and this would explain the necessity for so much extra remedial lead-work within some of the panes of glass, presumably repairing damage caused by two removals and two re-installations.
The small windows at Prudhoe Hall depicting idyllic naturalistic scenes of a rising sun over a river are especially beautiful and seem to have a strong similarity to the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Made at around 1870, they pre-date by ten years or more the collaboration between Cottier and Tiffany in the 1880s in America. The swaying reeds in particular would seem to suggest that Cottier may well have been a significant influence on Tiffany before Tiffany returned the compliment as it were, and Cottier brought some of his ideas back into his own artistic creations in Scotland.
There is a memorial stone to John Wesley set in a low wall on South Road, the former main street of the town.
Towards the eastern edge of Prudhoe is West Wylam, regarded as the town's liveliest housing estate, home to an elderly care home, a football club, Prudhoe Town AFC, a small row of takeaways as well as a local NISA store and a park, called Eastwood Park; which has sadly been host to several anti-social incidents over the years. West Wylam's presence is well known among the town's population, due to its rich history, and many residents of the area consider the estate a community in itself. The area also has some allotments, a small church and two established-schools; Adderlane First School, which was opened in 1978 and Eastwood Middle School, which sadly closed down in 2006, now home to several youth football clubs.
West of West Wylam, next to Prudhoe Castle, is the housing estate of Castlefields, which was mainly constructed from 1996 to 1999; and is rumoured to be the largest privately owned housing estate in the Tyne Valley, with 3-5 bedroom homes as well as several flats. Castlefields in the scale of things is considered a relatively modern area of the town, and it's not rare for new people to move in due to the estate's attractive prices and reputation. The estate is constructed around Castlefields Drive, the main road that spans the whole of Castlefields, and the much older Broomhouse Lane, which originates at the top of the western Castlefields Drive hill, a pedestrianized lane which spans the southern backbone of the residential area and eventually becomes a main road that runs through West Wylam; all away to Eastwood Park, a distance of about a mile.
Prudhoe is linked to Newcastle upon Tyne and the A1 by the A695 which used to pass through the centre of the town along Front Street. The A695 road now bypasses the town to the north through the industrial estate at Low Prudhoe. The better transport links of the new bypass have allowed the industrial estate to expand alongside the new road to the east, named Princess Way after the royal who opened SCA Hygiene.
Northumberland County Council sought a significant landmark feature adjacent to the new bypass, and commissioned the Prudhoe Badger under their 'percent for art' policy. The sculpture is 30m long, and was constructed with the help of drystone wallers in stone and marble. It was designed to integrate with the rural environment, create awareness about ecology and provide a link with the nearby Countryside Centre. The badger is sited adjacent to the roundabout on the A695 road at Low Prudhoe.
The town is served by Prudhoe railway station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, also known as the Tyne Valley Line. The line was opened in 1838, and links the city of Newcastle upon Tyne with Carlisle. The line follows the course of the River Tyne through Northumberland. Passenger services on the Tyne Valley Line are operated by Northern Rail and First ScotRail. The line is also heavily used for freight. The next railway stations are those at Wylam and Stocksfield.
- Adderlane First School
- Prudhoe Castle First School.
- Prudhoe West First School (which celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2009).
- St Matthew's Catholic Primary.
- Highfield Middle School.
- Eastwood Middle School (closed in 2006 and is now home of Prudhoe Youth Football Club)
Prudhoe is home to a large amount of churches, which form as a meeting place for the local community. The churches include:
- Saint Mary Magdalene Church
- Our Lady and Saint Cuthberts Catholic Church
- Prudhoe Community Church
- St Matthew's Catholic Church
- Ebenezer Methodist Church (located in West Wylam)
- Kingdom Hall of Jenovah's Witnesses
Prudhoe has its own senior football club, Prudhoe Town AFC, which formerly resided at Kimberley Park, West Wylam. The future of the club is in doubt due to the loss of their home ground.
The sports hall at Prudhoe Community High School is a popular place for playing sport outside of school with an astro-turf playing field, a basketball court and an indoor sports hall.
The Tyne Riverside Country Park is a popular place for cyclists, walkers and runners alike with relatively flat terrain and nice views. From 2012, each September the riverside by the Spetchells have been host to the SCA Prudhoe Miner's Race, with the finish line in 2012 and 2013 at Ovingham Bridge for the Senior 10km route through Prudhoe and the shortest Junior race (2-3km) and the Mini route (1.5km) finish by the river too.
Tyne Riverside Country Park in Low Prudhoe lies on the southern bank of the River Tyne. The park includes the artificial chalk hills known as the "Spetchells" which have attracted some natural chalk-loving flora and fauna not normally found in the region. It has been proposed that they be made 'sites of scientific interest'. A public bridleway runs from the country park to Hagg Bank, over the Points Bridge to Wylam. This area is a popular place for cyclists, runners and walkers alike and forms part of many fitness routes, with superb scenery and relatively flat and even terrain. Now forming a traffic-free part of National Cycle Network Route 72, it runs on the bed of a disused railway line to Newburn, Tyne and Wear, Newcastle upon Tyne, and on to the coast at Tynemouth.
Prudhoe Town Football Club play in the Second Division of the Arngrove Northern League. The future of the club has recently been in doubt following the loss of its ground, Kimberley Park, in West Wylam.
Prudhoe Waterworld provides swimming and other fitness activities and is the home of Prudhoe Millennium Tapestry. The park at Waterworld is relatively modern and is a popular meeting place for those living in the northwest of town.
Prudhoe Golf Club is an 18-hole golf club to the east of the town. One living in the area can be presented with the choice of Eastwood, Close House and Clara Vale within a five-mile radius of the town.
The town has a skatepark, called Highfield Park, which is located at the top of Prudhoe. This is a popular place for the young people of Prudhoe, though vandalism and anti-social behavior has damaged the park's reputation. Here there is an annual Kite Festival and a skate competition, usually held during the summer months. Many people come here for recreational activities.
Prudhoe is home to the North East Ferret Rescue, which helps unwanted and abandoned ferrets. It is the only active ferret rescue in the North East of England. See http://www.northeastferretrescue.co.uk
Front Street has a variety of different shops and restaurants including a Greggs, a library (known as The Spetchells), The Factory Shop, Pizza Pizza, and a petrol garage, formerly a Spar. Dhillons Fish and Chips is a popular place in Prudhoe and is well established with low prices and good quality fish, chips, pizzas, burgers and kebabs. An emerging restaurant on Prudhoe's high street includes Michelangelo's, an exotic Italian-style restaurant, and Maisy's Ice Cream Parlour, a must for anyone with children.
Ben Alnwick, Footballer (Goalkeeper), who currently plays for Peterbrough United, was born in Prudhoe.
- - Prudhoe is twinned with Mitry-Mory, near Paris, France. Evidence of this partnership is seen when entering the town and there are several murals depicting the twinning.
- - Prudhoe Bay, an area of northern Alaska containing the largest oil field in the USA is named indirectly after Prudhoe. The explorer, John Franklin, who discovered the area, named it after his good friend, Baron Prudhoe of Prudhoe.
- "Prudhoe Online Homepage". Prudhoe Community Partnership. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Cumbria Contemporary Arts". Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Prudhoe Castle First School". Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Prudhoe West First School". Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "St Matthew's Catholic Primary School". Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Highfield Middle School (Prudhoe)". Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Prudhoe Community High School". Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Prudhoe Online Community Website
- Prudhoe Castle
- Prudhoe Dolphins Local Swimming Club
- Prudhoe Methodist Church
- Prudhoe Catholic Church