Thursday, August 22, 2013

Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England

Berwick-Upon-Tweed has a very interesting history. It is near the border between Scotland and England and it changed hands fourteen times before England made the final conquest in 1482. The town still hadn't settled down, though, because in the 16th century it was declared a "free burgh," i.e. part of neither Scotland nor England. When Queen Victoria declared war on Russia in 1853, she did it as "Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and all the British Dominions." The peace treaty of 1856 failed to mention Berwick-upon-Tweed, thus they were still officially at war with Russia until 1966, when a Soviet official visited the town and signed a treaty. The Berwick mayor said something to the effect that the Russians could at last sleep easy in their beds.

View into Berwick-upon-Tweed from the town walls

The Town Hall and its clock tower are sometimes mistaken for a church. The hall served the usual purposes for a town. The ground level was a market (now it is shops, so nothing has really changed). The upper levels were civic rooms and the town jail, all of which are now tourist-oriented museums.

Marygate view to the town hall in the distance

The town has three bridges that connect it across the River Tweed to the Spittal area. The oldest is Berwick Bridge finished in 1626. It has fifteen arches and is used for car traffic.

Berwick Bridge

The newest bridge is the Royal Tweed Bridge, built in 1928, also conveying cars.

Royal Tweed Bridge

The highest bridge is the Royal Border Bridge. It is 126 feet high and has 28 arches. It is a railway bridge. We occasionally saw trains up there but weren't fast enough to photograph them.

Royal Border Bridge

The river Tweed feeds into the North Sea and is one of the best salmon rivers in England. Naturally a pub would take inspiration from this fact.

The Leaping Salmon, Berwick-upon-Tweed

We stayed at the Dewar's Lane Granary, which is now a youth hostel. It has more of a lean than the Leaning Tower of Pisa but is perfectly safe inside.

Dewar's Lane Granary (looks okay from this angle)

Alley leading to the hotel, where you can see more of the slant

The stairwell wasn't quite finished

Walking around town we found a huge allotment (that's a set of garden plots for you American readers) inside the city walls right nearby a not so welcoming house.

Garden allotments

Lions' Gate?

We also saw the Main Guard, which was built in the early 1700s and has become a museum about life in Berwick over the centuries. It wasn't open when we visited, so we didn't get to learn about life here.

Main Guard, Berwick

Pretty soon we couldn't resist the urge to walk on the walls, which will be our next post!

Doorway through (and into) the walls

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