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Definition: Berwick–upon–Tweed from Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary

Town, Northumberland, N England, on North Sea at mouth of the Tweed near Scottish border; pop. (2001e) 12,900; herring and salmon fishing; English from 1482.


Summary Article: Berwick-upon-Tweed from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Town and port in Northumberland, northeast England, at the mouth of the River Tweed, and administrative centre of Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council; population (2001) 12,900. Lying 5 km/3 mi southeast of the Scottish border, it is England's most northerly town. Salmon-netting and sea fishing are important, salmon and grain being the port's principal exports. Other industries include agricultural engineering and the manufacture of foodstuffs and fertilizers.

History By the 12th–13th centuries Berwick had become Scotland's leading seaport. While the town was held alternately by England and Scotland for centuries, changing hands at least 13 times before being surrendered to the English in 1482, it was not attached to Northumberland until 1885. A thick defensive Elizabethan wall, 6 m/20 ft high and over 4 m/12 ft wide, surrounds the town centre. Begun in the 1550s by Elizabeth I to protect the town from possible attack by allied Scottish and French forces, it is an early example of military architecture designed for gunpowder warfare. The remnants of a bell tower, used to alarm the neighbourhood during border raids, still survive. Holy Trinity church dates from 1648–52. The chief public building is the town hall, which dates from 1760.

Features Three bridges cross the Tweed: the Old Bridge with 15 arches (1611–34); the 28-arched Royal Border Railway Bridge, constructed by Robert Stephenson and opened by Queen Victoria in 1850; and the Royal Tweed Bridge (1928). Berwick Parish Church (1650–1652) was designed by John Young of Blackfriars. It replaced the medieval Church that had stood a few yards to the south since 1190, and which was demolished shortly after the new church was opened.

Museums The Berwick Barracks Museums Complex, housed in one of the earliest purpose-built barracks in the country, contains two museums of military history and the Berwick Borough Art Gallery, which includes a significant portion of the Burrell collection. Other museums include ‘A Window on Berwick’, a reconstruction of the town's past, and the Wine and Spirit Museum, which displays artefacts used in the brewing and distilling trades. Berwick Main Guard is a Georgian military guardhouse that contains exhibitions about the fortifications, the garrison town, and the railway.

The connections with Scotland are still close. Berwick-upon-Tweed is the only English town with a team, Berwick Rangers, in the Scottish Football League. Also, its river, the Tweed, is officially recognized as Scottish and, unlike English rivers, may not be fished on a Sunday.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

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