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Jarrow, circa 2005
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Location within Tyne and Wear
OS grid reference NZ332651
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town JARROW
Postcode district NE32
Dialling code 0191
Police Northumbria
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Tyne and Wear
54°58′47″N1°28′49″W / 54.9797°N 1.4804°W / 54.9797; -1.4804 Coordinates: 54°58′47″N1°28′49″W / 54.9797°N 1.4804°W / 54.9797; -1.4804

Jarrow ( /ˈær/ or /ˈærə/ ) is a town within the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside, a part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in North East England. Historically in County Durham, it is situated by the River Tyne and is home to the southern entrance / exit of the Tyne Tunnel.


In the eighth century, the monastery of Saint Paul in Jarrow (now Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey) was the home of Bede, who is regarded as the greatest Anglo-Saxon scholar and the father of English history. 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. Jarrow had a population of 43,431 in 2011. [1]

History and naming


The town's 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. In the Northumbrian dialect it is known as Jarra. [2]

Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey

The ruins of Saint Paul's Monastery St Pauls Monastery Jarrow.jpg
The ruins of Saint Paul's Monastery

The Monastery of Paul of Tarsus in Jarrow, part of the twin foundation Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey, was once the home of the Bede, whose most notable works include Ecclesiastical History of the English People and the translation of the Gospel of John into Old English. Along with the abbey at Wearmouth, Jarrow became a center of learning and had the largest library north of the Alps, primarily due to the widespread travels of Benedict Biscop, its founder. [3] 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 Jarrow Hall, a working museum dedicated to the life and times of Bede. This incorporates Jarrow Hall, a grade II listed building and significant local landmark.

The world's oldest complete Bible, written in Latin to be presented to the then Pope (Gregory II), was produced at this monastery – the Codex Amiatinus. It is currently safeguarded in the Laurentian Library, Florence, Italy. [4]

Originally three copies of the Bible were commissioned by Ceolfrid in 692. [4] This date has been established as the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow secured a grant of additional land to raise the 2000 head of cattle needed to produce the vellum for the Bible's pages. Saint Ceolfrid accompanied one copy (originally intended for Gregory I) on its journey to be presented to Gregory II, but he died en route to Rome. [5] The book later appears in the 9th century in the Abbey of the Saviour, Monte Amiata in Tuscany (hence the description "Amiatinus"), where it remained until 1786 when it passed to the Laurentian Library in Florence.

19th century to present

Jarrow Town Hall, completed in 1904 Council Offices, Grange Road, Jarrow (geograph 1967957).jpg
Jarrow Town Hall, completed in 1904
The launch of the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary from Palmer's shipyard in 1912 HMS Queen Mary LOC 10459.jpg
The launch of the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary from Palmer's shipyard in 1912

Jarrow remained a small mid-Tyne town until the introduction of heavy industries such as coal mining and shipbuilding. Charles Mark Palmer established a shipyard – Palmer's Shipbuilding and Iron Company – in 1852 and became the first armour-plate manufacturer in the world. [6] John Bowes, the first iron screw collier, revived the Tyne coal trade, [6] and Palmer's was also responsible for the first modern cargo ship, [6] as well as a number of notable warships. [6] Around 1,000 ships were built at the yard, they also produced small fishing boats to catch eel within the River Tyne, a delicacy at the time. [6] Jarrow Town Hall was erected in Grange Road and officially opened in 1904. [7]

Palmer's employed as much as 80% of the town's working population until its closure in 1933 [8] 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. [9] As from 1935, Olympic, the sister ship of RMS Titanic, was partially demolished at Jarrow, [10] being towed in 1937 to Inverkeithing, Scotland for final scrapping. [11]

The Great Depression brought so much hardship to Jarrow that the town was described by Life as "cursed." [12] 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 Member of Parliament (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 [13] but there is some evidence that they stimulated interest in regenerating 'distressed areas'. [14] 1938 saw the establishment of a ship-breaking yard and engineering works in the town, followed by the creation of a steelworks in 1939. [15]

The Jarrow rail disaster was a train collision that occurred on the 17 December 1915 at the Bede junction on a North Eastern Railway line. [16] The collision was caused by a signalman's error and seventeen people died in the collision. [16]

The Second World War revived the town's fortunes as the Royal Navy was in need of ships to be built. After 1945 the shipbuilding industries were nationalised. The last shipyard in the town closed in 1980. [8]

Jarrow, in the year 1912, was the setting for the first of Monty Python's 'Spanish Inquisition' sketches, one of the best-known and quoted sketches by the comedy troupe.

In August 2014 a group of mothers from Darlington organised a march from Jarrow to London to oppose the privatisation of the NHS. The march took place in September 2014 and 3,000–5,000 people participated in the event. [17]


Jarrow's needs for secondary education are currently served by Jarrow School, formerly Springfield Comprehensive. [18] Springfield was merged with another of Jarrow's secondary schools, Hedworthfield Comprehensive at Fellgate, following a gradual reduction of the number of new pupils for the yearly intake of 11-year-olds to the point where keeping both schools open was no longer viable. As of 2008 plans to revamp Jarrow School have come into action. Building work was completed in 2009 turning the school into a modern learning facility with Specialist Engineering Status. The head teacher at the school plans to improve the school's grade point average, by improving the learning facilities, costing millions of pounds.


In 2011, Jarrow had a population of 43,431, compared to 27,526 in 2001. This gives Jarrow a similar population to Wallsend and Whitley Bay. [1] The large increase in population is mainly due to boundary changes.

Jarrow compared 2011 censusJarrow South Tyneside
White British97.1%95.0%

The fact that only 2.9% of Jarrow's population is non White British, makes Jarrow the least ethnically diverse major urban subdivision in Tyneside and is less ethnically diverse than its surrounding borough, South Tyneside. Jarrow contains areas such as Fellgate and Hedworth, which border onto Greenbelt in the south of the town, which have very high White British populations. In South Tyneside, 5.0% of the population are non-White British, which is almost double the figure for Jarrow, also the borough has twice the percentage of Asian people compared to this riverside town.

Compared to the rest of the North East of England Jarrow does have an increased rate of unemployment, average unemployment figures in 2013 put the north east at 5.4% as opposed to Jarrow at 6.1%. [19] In September 2016 1,680 people living in Jarrow were in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit, 370 people aged between 18 and 24 were on receipt of benefits in September 2016 down by 30 from last year, a drop of 7.5%. [20]


Jarrow Metro station Jarrow Metro station crop.jpg
Jarrow Metro station

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.


The nearest major airport is Newcastle Airport, between 15 and 18 miles away by road, or around 45 minutes by Metro.

Notable people

Notable former residents of the town, including Ellen Wilkinson MP, Charles Mark Palmer and William Jobling, have been remembered in the names of beers produced in the Town.

Twin towns

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:

Related Research Articles

North East England A region of England

North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. The region includes the counties of Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Northumberland and a small part of North Yorkshire. Large settlements include the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and the City of Durham and towns of Gateshead, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, often simply Newcastle, is the most populous city and metropolitan borough in North East England. It forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Tyne's northern bank, approximately 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea.

Tyne and Wear Metropolitan county in North East England

Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in North East England, situated around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. It came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. It consists of the five metropolitan boroughs of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the City of Sunderland. The county is bordered to the north by Northumberland, to the south by County Durham and to the east of the county lies the North Sea. It is the smallest county in North East England by area, but by far the largest in terms of population.

Jarrow March Protest about UK Northern unemployment

The Jarrow March of 5–31 October 1936, also known as the Jarrow Crusade, was an organised protest against the unemployment and poverty suffered in the English town of Jarrow during the 1930s. Around 200 men marched from Jarrow to London, carrying a petition to the British government requesting the re-establishment of industry in the town following the closure in 1934 of its main employer, Palmer's shipyard. The petition was received by the House of Commons but not debated, and the march produced few immediate results. The Jarrovians went home believing that they had failed.

Sunderland Human settlement in England

Sunderland is a port city and the main settlement of the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is situated at the mouth of the River Wear, approximately 16km south-east of Newcastle upon Tyne and roughly 19km north-east of the City of Durham.

South Tyneside Metropolitan borough in England

South Tyneside is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, North East England. It forms part of the Tyneside conurbation.

South Shields Town in Tyne and Wear, England

South Shields is a coastal town at the mouth of the River Tyne, about 3.7 miles (6.0 km) downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne in north east England. Historically part of County Durham, it became part of Tyne and Wear in 1974. According to the 2011 census, the town had a population of 76,498, the third largest in Tyneside after Newcastle and Gateshead. It is part of the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside which includes the towns of Jarrow and Hebburn. South Shields is represented in Parliament by Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck. The demonym of people from South Shields is either Geordie which is used for people from Tyneside or Sandancer which is the less colloquial term for people from South Shields.

Tyneside Place in England

Tyneside is a conurbation of the urban areas on the north and south banks of the River Tyne in North East England. Centred on Newcastle upon Tyne, it incorporates the surrounding metropolitan boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. The population of Tyneside as published in the 2011 census was 774,891, making it the eighth most-populous urban area in the United Kingdom. In 2013, the estimated population was 832,469 and since then has significantly increased. Tyneside is considered to be the core conurbation of the Tyneside-Wearside metropolitan area.

Tynemouth Human settlement in England

Tynemouth is a large town and former county borough in England, at the River Tyne's mouth. A historic part of Northumberland, it is administratively a part of North Tyneside borough in Tyne and Wear county.

Jarrow Hall (museum)

Jarrow Hall is a museum in Jarrow, South Tyneside, England which celebrates the life of the Venerable Bede; a monk, author and scholar who lived in at the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Wearmouth-Jarrow, a double monastery at Jarrow and Monkwearmouth,, England.

Codex Amiatinus Oldest complete copy of the Vulgate version of the Bible

The Codex Amiatinus is the earliest surviving complete manuscript of the Latin Vulgate version of the Christian Bible. It was produced around 700 in the north-east of England, at the Benedictine monastery of Monkwearmouth–Jarrow in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria and taken to Italy as a gift for Pope Gregory II in 716. It was one of three giant single-volume Bibles then made at Monkwearmouth–Jarrow, and is the earliest complete one-volume Latin Bible to survive, only the León palimpsest being older; and the oldest bible where all the Books of the Bible present what would be their Vulgate texts.

Jarrow (UK Parliament constituency)

Jarrow is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Kate Osborne of the Labour Party.

Sir Charles Palmer, 1st Baronet English shipbuilder

Sir Charles Mark Palmer, 1st Baronet was an English shipbuilder born in South Shields, County Durham, England. He was also a Liberal Party politician and Member of Parliament. His father, originally the captain of a whaler, moved in 1828 to Newcastle upon Tyne, where he owned a ship owning and ship-broking business.

Hebburn Human settlement in England

Hebburn is a town on the south bank of the River Tyne in North East England situated between the towns of Jarrow and Gateshead and to the south of Walker. The population of Hebburn was 18,808 in 2001, reducing to 16,492 at the 2011 Census for the two Hebburn Wards. Once part of the private Ellison estate, and made an independent Urban District in 1894, in 1974 it became part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. Hebburn lies within historic County Durham.

Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company

Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited, often referred to simply as "Palmers", was a British shipbuilding company. The Company was based in Jarrow, County Durham, in north-eastern England, and also had operations in Hebburn and Willington Quay on the River Tyne.

Sir (Joseph) John Jarvis, 1st Baronet was a British industrialist and philanthropist who became a Conservative Party politician. He sat in the House of Commons from 1935 to 1950 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Guildford in Surrey, but is best known for his philanthropic and industrial efforts to assist the town of Jarrow in the economic depression of the 1930s.

Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey

The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Monkwearmouth–Jarrow, known simply as Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey, was a Benedictine double monastery in the Kingdom of Northumbria, England.

<i>John Bowes</i> (steamship)

John Bowes, built on the River Tyne in England in 1852, was one of the first steam colliers. She traded for over 81 years before sinking in a storm off Spain.

Jarrow Town Hall Municipal Building in England

Jarrow Town Hall is a municipal building in Grange Road, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England. The town hall, which was the headquarters of Jarrow Borough Council, is a Grade II listed building.



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