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The High Main

Read about the meaning of ‘High Main’.

63 Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE6 1DL

This pub takes its name from the malt whisky which made Wishaw famous. Around this time, cotton-weaving was established in Wishaw. Domestic hand loom weaving and finishing became the main livelihood for many families and remained so well into the 19th century.

An illustration and text about The High Main.


The text reads: The ‘High Main’ refers to one of the ten seams of workable coal in the Newcastle field. It is the highest of the seams about 6ft thick and generally referred to as the best for workability and making a good lasting fire.

The ‘Low Main’, the lowest seam, also 6ft thick, whilst being more difficult to work due to its depth, is probably the most consistent, yielding, it was said, excellent house and coking coal and producing good steam coal further north from Newcastle. The remaining seams, all about 203ft thick, varied in quality.

The ‘Lawson Main Colliery and Quarry’, located to the east end of Shields Road operated between 1738-1818. It was named after the ‘Main’ coal seam and the ‘Lawson’ family, from Brough Yorkshire, who had owned most of old Byker since 1543.

Tiles handmade by local potter Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen Ceramic Arts.


He worked at Hoults Yard, the former Maling pottery, and has completed commissions for Rock Stein, Beamish Museum and many others in Britain and around the world.

CTD have supplied this mosaic which reproduces a historic photograph of Shields Road and this building in particular.



External photograph of the building – main entrance.


If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk