The Discovery Museum


The last time I saw the Turbinia, once the fastest vessel at sea, it was being housed in its old site, a ramshackle building seemingly miles from anywhere.  I don’t think it was accessible by public transport in those days.  Now it is in a beautifully restored building just around the corner from St James Park, together with some of the most memorable exhibits I have seen in a museum.  The website,, describes exactly what you will see, but doesn’t prepare you for the effect the exhibits have on you.  The Newcastle Story starts with the Roman invasion of Britain and ends today.  The ancient history, which we have been exploring ever since we arrived in England, is interesting, of course.  But it is the more recent history, the history that is part of our lives, that is most fascinating.  While I didn’t grow up on Tyneside, much of the history of the post-war years in Newcastle reflects my own experiences until we left for Australia in 1958.  Then, of course, I came back here in 1978 and lived on Tyneside for almost a year, and after that we came back to visit every couple of years.  So all the post-war history of Tyneside is, in part, my history, too.  Photos, books, costumes, interviews with people, all touched a chord.  I think we spent the better part of an hour in that gallery alone, and we intend going back as soon as possible to watch the films, which we didn’t see.  Michael covered the whole museum in a short time and then sat around silently studying his phone and making us feel guilty about the time we were taking.  The other gallery that fascinated us was the history of ship building on the Tyne, sadly almost finished, and then there was the Life of the Soldier,  and the gallery devoted to people who had moved to the area from other countries and other parts of Britain.  In fact, if our feet hadn’t been so tired, and our tummies empty, we might have stayed even longer, even in the face of Michael’s disapproval.  So when he’s at work on Thursday, we’re going back to do it all again, and more.  We might even eat there this time, instead of the delightful Greek place we found in the Bigg Market.  A Greek place run by a man from Melbourne.


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