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The Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead was a tragic and spectacular series of events starting on Friday 6 October 1854, in which a substantial amount of property in the two North East of England towns was destroyed in a series of fires and an explosion which killed 53 and injured hundreds.The status of city was granted to Newcastle on 3 June 1882.In a bid to gain Newcastle and the Tyne, Cromwell's allies, the Scots, captured the town of Newburn.In 1644, the Scots then captured the reinforced fortification on the Lawe in South Shields following a siege. It was eventually stormed ("with roaring drummes") and sacked by Cromwell's allies.Newcastle's economy includes corporate headquarters, learning, digital technology, retail, tourism and cultural centres, from which the city contributes £13 billion towards the United Kingdom's GVA.Among its icons are Newcastle United football club and the Tyne Bridge.Newcastle also houses Newcastle University, a member of the Russell Group, as well as Northumbria University.
The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the River Tyne, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres.
Since 1981 the city has hosted the Great North Run, a half marathon which attracts over 57,000 runners each year.
The first recorded settlement in what is now Newcastle was Pons Aelius, a Roman fort and bridge across the River Tyne.
The population of Pons Aelius then is estimated at 2,000.
Fragments of Hadrian's Wall are visible in parts of Newcastle, particularly along the West Road.
The course of the "Roman Wall" can be traced eastwards to the Segedunum Roman fort in Wallsend—the "wall's end"—and to the supply fort Arbeia in South Shields.