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Jarrow Centre - geograph.org.uk - 76849.jpg
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
Fire Tyne and Wear
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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 in South Tyneside metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, England, about 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Newcastle. It is situated on the south bank of the River Tyne, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the east coast. It is home to the southern portal of the Tyne Tunnel. In 2011, Jarrow had a population of 43,431. [1]


Jarrow is part of the historic County Palatine of Durham. In the eighth century, the monastery of Saint Paul in Jarrow (now Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey) was the home of The Venerable 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.

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]

The Gyrwe is a reconstructed Saxon farm at Bede's World at Jarrow.

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 centre 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 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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North East England</span> Region of England

North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL for statistical purposes. The region covers an area of 8,592 km2 and in 2019 had a recorded population of nearly 2.7 million. There are four counties in the region: County Durham; Tyne and Wear; Northumberland and part of North Yorkshire. The largest settlements are Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington and Hartlepool. There are three conurbations in the region: Tyneside ; Wearside ; and Teesside. Only three settlements in the region have city status: Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and Durham.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyne and Wear</span> 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 was created in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, along with five metropolitan boroughs of Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. It is bordered by Northumberland to the north and Durham to the south; the county boundary was formerly split between these counties with the border as the River Tyne.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wallsend</span> Human settlement in England

Wallsend is a town in North Tyneside, England, at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. It has a population of 43,842 and lies 3.5 miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Tyneside</span> Metropolitan borough in England

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Shields</span> Town in Tyne and Wear, England

South Shields is a coastal town in South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England. It is situated at the mouth of the River Tyne. Historically, it was known to Romans as Arbeia and as Caer Urfa by Early Middle Ages. According to the 2011 census, the town had a population of 75,337. It is the fourth largest settlement in Tyne and Wear; after Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and Gateshead. It is roughly equidistant (approximately 3.7 miles between the border of Newcastle and the border of Sunderland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyneside</span> Built-up area in England

Tyneside is a built-up area across the banks of the River Tyne in northern England. Residents of the area are commonly referred to as Geordies. The whole area is surrounded by the North East Green Belt.

Tynemouth Human settlement in England

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Stephen Hepburn British Independent politician

Stephen Hepburn is a British politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Jarrow from 1997 to 2019. Hepburn was a member of the Labour Party until 7 October 2019, when he was suspended from the party following an accusation of sexual harassment. He then sat as an independent and was barred by the party from standing as a Labour candidate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ceolfrith</span>

Saint Ceolfrid was an Anglo-Saxon Christian abbot and saint. He is best known as the warden of Bede from the age of seven until his death in 716. He was the Abbot of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey, and a major contributor to the project to produce the Codex Amiatinus Bible. He died in Burgundy while en route to deliver a copy of the codex to Pope Gregory II in Rome.

Jarrow (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885 onwards

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

Hebburn Town in South Tyneside, England

Hebburn is a town in South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England. Hebburn is 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 the historic boundaries of 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bede Metro station</span> Tyne and Wear Metro station

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey</span>

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)

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Jarrow Town Hall Municipal building in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England

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