The Northumbrians

North-East England and Its People: A New History

September 2019 9781787381940 256pp
September 2021 9781787386006 256pp
Available as an eBook  Available as an Audiobook
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The Northumbrians have been overlooked by British and global history, but they’ve made astonishing contributions to both. Dan Jackson sets out to recover this lost history, exploring the deep roots of Northumbrian culture—hard work and heavy drinking, sociability and sentimentality, militarism and masculinity—through centuries of border warfare and dangerous industry. He explains what we can learn about Northumbria’s people from its landscape and architecture, and revisits the Northumbrian Enlightenment that gave the world the locomotive and the lightbulb. This story reaches right to the present day, as this extraordinary region finds itself caught between an indifferent south and an increasingly confident Scotland.

From the Venerable Bede and the prince-bishops of Durham to Viz and Geordie Shore, this vital new history reveals a part of England with an uncertain future, but whose people remain as remarkable as ever.


‘Superbly researched and written with immense affection, Jackson’s history of northeastern England has a fascinating nugget of information on every page … [this is a] hugely impressive book.’ — The Sunday Times Book of the Year 2019

‘This is a part of the world that has got a big global history, it’s not a “province” or a “provincial” city. Newcastle is a city with a global reach. I think [in The Northumbrians] you get a real sense of that, going back many centuries.’–David Olusoga, The Chronicle

‘The best works of local history exert a fascination that transcends the merely local, and The Northumbrians is definitely one of the best.’ — The Sunday Times

‘[The Northumbrians] is both an education and an entertainment.’ — The Telegraph

‘[The Northumbrians] is the most enjoyable book on a region of Britain that I have ever read. Often very moving, often very funny, it is written with a deep and learned love for Newcastle and its environs.’ — New Statesman

‘Dan Jackson was born and bred here, and his roots go deep, back generations. This book is a celebration of his land and ancestors …  I heartily recommend The Northumbrians’. — Mail on Sunday

‘Dan Jackson sets out [Northumbrian history] in great detail and with real affection.’ — Church Times

‘[The Northumbrians is a] learned but accessible trawl through all things Geordie, from the Venerable Bede and the Vikings to Viz and Geordie Shaw.’  The Lady

‘[Dan Jackson] remains a full-blown, big-hearted Northumbrian Romantic, bursting with love for and knowledge of his native ground. … You won’t put this book down without having become something of a Northumbrian Romantic yourself.’ — Catholic Herald

‘Thought-provoking, challenging and very revealing … a superb book.’ Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

‘A wonderful book: full of amazing detail, wise, humane & balanced. Often hilarious, often upsetting; in love with its subject, but never blind to its problems. I can’t recommend it enough.’ Tom Holland, historian, author and broadcaster

‘This is a book for both historians and the general public … There is a sense of a lost world in these pages, of a once great time now forgotten, even though so much of the past still arguably hangs over the current scene … The Northumbrians [is] a work of deep research and lifelong fascination.’ — LSE Review of Books

‘A must read.’ — City A.M.

‘With deep research and an engaging style Dan Jackson brings the history and culture of the region to life, in ways that will delight his fellow Northumbrians.’ Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London, and author, inter alia, of The Future of War

‘Dan Jackson’s history of the people of Northumbria is peppered with striking insights and fresh perspectives on England’s most distinctive region. His engaging style combined with considerable, up to the minute research will ensure that The Northumbrians will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of North-East England.’ Bill Lancaster, co-author, The Geordies: Roots of Regionalism

‘A dense eclectic dissection of a remote, foreign, strange land shaped, as no other part of England is, by belligerence and fear.’ — Jonathan Meades, writer and film-maker

‘Long overdue … a wonderfully unstuffy account of Northumbria’s history and the Northumbrian character.’ Kathryn Tickell, renowned Northumbrian piper

‘The kingdom of Northumbria existed before England. It gave us the first historian of the English people, one of the great Christian legacies of Europe, and was the engine of the Industrial Revolution. This is a great history in any language but I really took to Dan Jackson’s. If you are interested in the rich and alternative history of our northern regions, this is the book for you.’ — Robert Colls, Professor of Cultural History, De Montfort University


Dan Jackson is a founding member of the Northumbria WW1 Commemoration Project, which received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Author of Popular Opposition to Irish Home Rule in Edwardian Britain, he has written for the New Statesman and appeared on the BBC’s Making History and Who Do You Think You Are?.

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