The Discovery Museum is one of Newcastle’s leading museums.
You could describe it as a local history museum, a maritime museum and a science museum, all rolled into one.
It is housed in a large Victorian brick building on Blandford Square which used to be the local headquarters of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.
The museum is arranged over three floors with a glass covered atrium dominated by the Turbinia, designed by Tyneside engineer Charles Parsons in 1894 as the world’s first ship to be powered by steam turbines. It was the fastest ship in the world until 1899.
The Ground Floor features the Newcastle Story, a time tunnel tracing the social history of Newcastle from Roman times up until the present day. The city’s social problems during the past couple of centuries are highlighted such as poverty, unemployment, health problems, pollution, drunkenness, poor housing and so on.
This banner compares the lives of the drunkard to the non-drinker. The teetotaller is happy and prosperous. He also appears to be Chinese.
Slum housing was a reality for many of Newcastle’s citizens well into the 20th century.
The Tyne Bridge was officially opened in October 1928, 3 1/2 years before its look-alike big sister, Sydney Bridge.
The First Floor contains the Story of the Tyne gallery and shows the major role that Tyneside played in the nation’s maritime and industrial past.
Models of some of the vessels constructed by Newcastle shipyards.
As well as making ships for the Royal Navy, Tyneside also constructed many warships for foreign navies such as the Japanese Cruiser Yoshino built in 1893 at Armstrong Whitworth’s Elswick Shipyard. Ships such as this, along with the training provided by the Royal Navy, helped the Japanese to crush the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. Yoshino’s end was less glorious – she sank after colliding with another Japanese cruiser in thick fog.
Up on the Second Floor is the Science Maze including various engines and machines along with some interactive educational displays.
Discovery Museum is well worth a visit. Entry is free but donations are always welcome.
You can find more details, including opening hours and events, on their official website.
How to Get to Discover Museum
The location is marked on this map.