Poor Timothy Trow. Seeing a young girl fall into the canal at this spot (along London Road, in Oakhill), he jumped from the tram he was on (this was 1894), dived in to try to save her, was affected by cramp - and drowned.
Fortunately for her, the girl was eventually pulled out, and lived.
However, the public was so affected by his brave act that a collection was raised for the memorial obelisk you see in the photo.
If you do go to see Timothy's monument, you might wonder where the canal is, as there is no sign of it now. The Newcastle Canal was closed in 1935, and since filled in.