Took our first Iles Tour with Alex this week on a cold and damp afternoon in the city centre.
The tour started at 14:00 and lasted just under two hours with a steady walk from site to site to hear 'gory' tales of local characters, local incidents and the various 'practices' popular in times gone by. Amongst other things we learned such lot about body snatching, gruesome medical procedures, capital punishment and the inhumane treatment of (usually innocent) prisoners and their horrendous prison conditions. The Quayside in particular offers lots of stories, with the Great Fire of Gateshead being particularly notable and interesting.
As we walked between the different areas of the city Alex painted a picture in our minds of the city layout and the challenges faced by the local people in their struggle to survive and prosper.
Alex is a fantastic guide and his detailed knowledge of facts and figures is quite mind boggling. However he is able to create a narrative that places the listener in the scene he describes so well, and rather than simply listing facts and figures he left us with the impression we had actually witnessed some of the sights and smells (!!) he described so vividly. The cold, damp weather and the fading light just added to this atmospheric tour of our city.
We would highly recommend Iles Tours if you have an interest in not only the social and political history but also the real human side of life in Newcastle in the past. We will be booking another tour in the next few months and currently thinking of the Hadrians Wall options.