Castle Garth is the name of the fortified area once enclosed within the castle walls. In the fifteenth century Newcastle became a county in its own right, however, the Garth, being within the castle walls, remained part of the County of Northumberland. The Great Hall, a building separate from the Castle Fortress (the “Keep”), which in later years became known as the “Old Moot Hall”, was used by courts that sat at regular intervals in every county of England and Wales. The Fortress then became a prison for the County and was used as such until the early nineteenth century.
Beginning in the fifteenth century, unlicensed traders, taking advantage of the fact that the city authorities had no jurisdiction over the Garth area, settled there with their commercial activities. From the time of Charles II (1630-1685), the area then became famous for its tailors and shoemakers, who grew particularly abundantly on the path known as “Castle Stairs”.
In 1619 the fortified complex was rented by James I to the courtier Alexander Stephenson, who allowed the civilian houses to be built inside the castle walls. After the civil war, new houses were added until, towards the end of the eighteenth century, Castle Garth had become a distinct and densely populated community, with a theater, public houses and lodgings.
The main urban transformations were started in the early nineteenth century with the construction of the new Moot Hall called County Court. From 1847 to 1849 the fortified enclosure was partially compromised by further intersections with the infrastructure for the construction of the railway viaduct, thus interrupting direct access from the Castle guarding the Black Gate.
Despite the development of the contemporary city has affected the preservation of the ancient fortified palimpsest, a strong consolidated link is still maintained by the sedimentation of values of material and immaterial culture. The proposed contribution intends to present this process of integration between fortified structure and city highlighting today the state of the art, the conservation, restoration and enhancement initiatives undertaken in the last forty years.