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The Northumbria Club held its autumn meeting and dinner at the National Liberal Club on Wednesday, October 5.
After dinner, club chairman Ian Graham introduced guest speaker Clive Osborne.
Mr Osborne is a barrister and had spent his career acting as a legal advisor to the Home Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Northern Ireland office. He was legal advisor to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Now retired, Mr Osborne is a Justice of the Peace and a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.
The title of Mr Osborne’s talk was The Other Newcastle, for he is a native of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.
He traced the origins of the town back to the 12th century, but Newcastle had resisted becoming one of the Pottery Towns. The Wedgwood family had exerted considerable influence nonetheless, with one of that family being MP for Newcastle, first as a Liberal, then as a Labour MP.
A literary name associated with Newcastle was Arnold Bennett and the town appears as Oldcastle in at least one of his novels.
The original Duke of Newcastle was associated with Newcastle upon Tyne, but when that line died out a Dukedom of Newcastle-under-Lyme was created.That line too has now died.
Newcastle had been a stronghold for the Parliamentary side in the Civil War and provided a judge at the trial of Charles II and one of the signatories to his death warrant.
Following questions, which ranged from the reluctance of Newcastle to accept the railway to whether its inhabitants think of themselves as Northerners or Midlanders, the evening concluded with the chairman thanking Mr Osborne for his talk.
The next meeting will be the Christmas meeting on Wednesday, December 7. For further details, see www.Northumbriaclub.com