The year of the Risorgimento, 1860, is associated with the ‘Garibaldi moment’, a time when the image of the radical revolutionary appeared to be ‘depoliticised’ in Britain. While recognising such a phenomenon, this article considers whether regional pockets escaped such a trend, analysing the case-study of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where strong links between Garibaldi and local radicals coloured public perceptions of the Italian hero. By scrutinising the unfolding of the ‘Garibaldi moment’ in this context a complex picture emerges, showing that, far from being a unifying ‘depoliticised’ figure, Garibaldi was a source of divisions within Newcastle society. Crucial in this division was George Crawshay's challenge to the recruitment of a British Legion to follow Garibaldi. By looking at the provincial press and examining the local reception of a variety of entertainments, it is argued that, while political engagement drove the enthusiasm of radical audiences, fashionable shows–devoid of political content–could not rely on Newcastle ‘Garibaldimania’.