The CENTRE OF BRITAIN Concept
I discovered that Haltwhistle was the Centre of Britain after, for many years, convincing visitors to stay longer - as they could visit so many places without the bother and doubt of finding and changing accommodation every night. In fact, it was with tounge in cheek that I ended up my sales pitch with the then, speculative conclusion, that they we were at the Centre of Britain.
One rare day, when I had some spare time, I casually ran a ruler over the map of the British Isles and was surprised to find that what I had, up to then, only guessed, was infact very close to being correct. Further, more acurate reseach, produced many exact provable equidistances - in fact, it was amazing how many calculations proved the point.
At around that time, regular guests and friends from the Netherlands - Thom Kluck and
Paula Kuitenbrouwer - visited us and returned with the book "At the Centre of the World" by John Michell of London - the definitive work on the Centre as a symbol. It appeared that there is a a whole area of study - Centrography - which sets to examine and establish the various methods of finding the centre of a territory. I quickly became a self-proclaimed "Centrographer" and was increasingly amazed how Haltwhistle's equidistance manifested itself at every test.
True, there are different ways of calulating the centre of a country - I have identified nine, but in the case of seven of these Haltwhistle fits the criteria.
When the news broke, there were numerous other towns which claimed the distinction - and disputed my theories - but none of them have been able to provide credible and convincing evidence to back their claim.
All of this created quite a stir in the media! An interest which pops up from time to time and keeps us in the news - When I used to tell peple where I came from, I would often hear
"Haltwhistle - Where's that?" - now it's, "Haltwhistle - The Centre of Britain!"
They hadn't heard of us - They have Now!
See you at the Centre of Britain!
"Symbols of the Centre are among the most persistent of myth and belief appealing to the curious minded or to the curious part of everyone's mind they are monuments to our instinctive everlasting perception that every being needs to affirm its own its own identity by finding its own Centre"
John Michell - Author on symbolism from his own book "At the Centre of the World"
Here's some of the theory and calculations which I made to confirm our Status:-
The Ancient civilisations - Egyptians, Greeks, Vikings, Romans usually situated the centres of their territories by calculating their mid point of the longest North - South axis, especially if other mid points coincided. Natural features such as a commanding position on high ground or the confluence of rivers or trade routes were also taken into account.
Applied to Britain, the longest North - South median is from the North of the Orkney Islands to Portland Bill in Dorset - 2° 26' W
|Hoe Sherries, North Rowlands Way
59° 23' 18" N
|Fresh Water Bay, Portland Bill
50° 31' 48" N
|Mid Point - Haltwhistle
54° 57' 33" N
From which point there are equidistances to all main main compass points, as well as to the Centres of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and - to the extremities of the British Isles.
1. All 16 points of the compass have equidistant opposites -
||Portland Bill, Dorset
||North Uist, Hebrides
||Bowness On Solway
--------------------- (Route of Hadrian's Wall) ---------------------
||Newbiggin by the Sea
2. Inner Circle - Equidistant from Haltwhistle to the centres of the four UK nations
- Meridan (Centre Of England),
- Corma - Centre of Wales
- Pomeroy -Centre of Northern Ireland
- The Forest of Atholl (Centre of Scotland)
3. Outer Circle - Equidistant from Haltwhistle to the extremities of the British Isles
- Scilly Isles
- Bantry Bay