Panoramic view of Wallsend
The fort at the
end of the Wall
Four miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne, Hadrian's
Wall comes to an end. It's not quite at the sea -- Tynemouth is still
4 miles further on, but here the River Tyne is broad enough to allow
the Wall to come to an end. Here there is a fort known appropriately
as Wallsend from which a short further stretch of wall runs down to
In the 18th and 19th century the area became covered with one
of the worlds great shipyards, the Swan Hunter shipyard, but now this
has been closed down, and the buildings surrounding it have been demolished
and the Roman fort has been once again uncovered to form one of the
most impressive of the Hadrian's Wall forts.
Panoramic view of the fort, from the
Observation tower. Hadrian's Wall runs in from the top, coming
in near the twin towers. On the left is the river Tyne, flowing from
top to bottom. In the fort itself, the courtyard building in the centre
is the commandant's house, and beyond it the HQ building,with four
barrack blocks to the left. The white building in the far corner of the
fort, is the reconstructed bathhouse, not in its original position.
a corner of the fort is a reconstructed Roman Bathhouse. This
is not in the original position-- the actual bathhouse probably
lies some hundred yards further out. But it is a reconstruction
of the bathhouse from the Chesters fort, the best-known bathhouse
on the Roman Wall, but it was reconstructed here as an added
attraction for the Wallsend Roman fort. Click
here for the original bathouse at Chesters
is the dressing and exercise room.
Here inside the bathhouse is the apodyterium, or undressing
reconstruction seems much larger than the original although it is in fact the
same size, the only difference is that it has been flipped
through 180° to fit the site.
At the far end are the niches with semicircular arches, which are traditionally considered
to be the places where one can place one's clothes.
In addition to dressing and undressing, this may also
have been used as an exercise hall. In the far right
corner a door leads through to the actual baths.
most remarkable discovery made in the fort itself is this set
of barrack blocks. Wallsend was a cavalry fort and these are
special barrack blocks for cavalrymen, where the soldiers slept
in the left half, and the horses were stabled in they right
had side two horses side-by-side with a shallow trench between
them to collect the urine and horse manure. . This is the first
time that such cavalry barracks have been identified in Britain,
though similar barracks have been found in Germany.
main feature in the new presentation of the fort is this prominent
observation tower from which the panoramic photo at the top
of the page has been taken. The building to the left was originally
the recreation club of the Swan Hunter shipyard but then it
was turned into the excavator's headquarters, and now to the
right a fine new museum has been added. This contains the finds
from the excvation, but is laid out as a model of a Roman praetorium,
that is a commanding officer's house
the fort a length of Hadrian's Wall has been excavated.
The foundations of the wall can be seen running across the centre, while a reconstructed
length of the wall has been built behind it.
The reconstruction has
been built with a wall walk and a crenellated front. There
is considerable discussion as to whether there was a walk
along the top of the wall but this reconstruction presupposes
that there was.
This reconstruction lies outside the fort enclosure on the
other side of the road that runs through the
northern part of the fort. Adjacent to it is some
industrial archaeology, the remains of the top of one of
the coal mines and of the steam engine that serviced it.
is a sad view of the site of what was once one of the worlds great
shipyards, the Swan Hunter shipyard now totally demolished and
the great cranes sold off to India. It was here that the
Mauritania was built, the legendary liner that held the Blue
Ribband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic for 22 years
from 1907 to 1929.
Click here for the first fort - Chesters
First draft, 12th
the nicest fort on Hadrian's Wall
- the fort at the end of the wall