Bedlington is a much older settlement than Ashington and has seen the effects of two major industries on the town. Early growth was due to the development of the iron industry and there were some notable achievements including the development of the first malleable railtrack and the production of some landmark locomotives. Engineering expert Sir Daniel Gooch spent his early years in Bedlington and in fact designed some of the engines built there. Efforts are currently underway to investigate the ironworks site and to consider how best to preserve and interpret the history.
Coal mining also came to Bedlington, but this too has gone. The site of one excavation to the south of the town has been replaced by a fine 18 hole golf course. Football plays an important part of life in Bedlington too, and many folk will remember the local non-league team, The Bedlington Terriers thrashing 2nd Division Colchester Unitied in the 1999 FA Cup. Bedlington hit national media at the end of 1999 when it was revealed that the chamber of Trade had been successful in a bid to have information on the town sent to Mars with the next American mission. In a couple of years locals might be spotting Martian visitors.
The football team may be called the Bedlington Terriers, but visitors should watch out for the real thing - a small whippet - like dog with a curly coat. The first official Terrier was recorded in 1825 supposedly having been bred by gypsies in the Rothbury Hills but there are local dogs to be spotted around the town now.
Bedlington Iron and Engine Works
Furnace Bank, Bedlington
Iron was processed or produced on the banks of the river Blyth for over one hundred years making it the longest lasting ironworks in Northumberland. The works produced a wide range of goods including nails, the first mallable rail track which was used by George Stephenson on the Stockton to Darlington line, and steam locomotives. Whilst little visible evidence remains on the site, there is currently a project underway to consider how best to record the history for posterity. More information on the works can be found in a small book produced by local historian Evan Martin.
The Bedlington Terrier
Said to have been bred by gypsies in the Rothbury Hills, the first officially recognised Bedlington Terrier was recorded in 1825. The terrier which are said to resemble lambs, were favoured by locals for the courage. They are extremely popular in the United States, but there are a number of the animals living in Bedlington, and whilst most of them are family pets, they are also used for ratting and racing.
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