Probably the most famous pub in Newcastle due to it’s proximity to the real St James Park the home of Newcastle United. I was in for a pint at lunchtime and what a different atmosphere to my previous match-day visits, I keep forgetting to capture a match day photo so will post this one with the promise of another to follow during better times.
There’s been a building on the site of the Strawberry since 1840, and it’s been a pub since 1859. Allegedly the pub’s name and the street name derives from the nuns of near-by St Bartholomew’s who grew strawberries on the site and made and sold strawberry wine.
If the pub has been a constant feature in the area for many decades, Strawberry Place has changed much over the years, St James’ Hall, a boxing gym just over the road from the ground opened in 1930, world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston once sparred there, and all-in wrestling was all the rage for a while, before the hall closed in 1968.
As for St James’ Park, it was developed on the most southern part of an area known as Castle Leazes where football has been played on its sloping pitch since 1880 when it was then home to Newcastle Rangers followed by Newcastle West End , before it became the home of Newcastle United in 1892.
The name of the stadium’s famous Leazes End originates from the ancient gathering of crops, but the Gallowgate End has its roots in a much darker history a “Gallows Pole” was sighted nearby acting as a place of public execution right up until 1844.
For those of us who’ve spent many a grim afternoon standing – and sitting – at the Gallowgate End, spare a thought for Mark Sherwood who having murdered his wife was taken by cart to the gallows, in front of the elegant Leazes Terrace, sitting on his own coffin, at least he didn’t have to sit through 90 minutes watching the TOON!