Whickham - Aged Miners' Homes
The six Aged Miners Homes off Broom lane and standing near the site of Southfield farm were built in memory of Peter Lee, the Durham Miners' leader and opened on January 27th 1940.
The homes were built at a cost of £2,300 and miners at the colliery had contributed a penny a week to the scheme since the mine opened. Bill Kelly, checkweighman and secretary to the miners lodge, was presented with a gold watch, for his contribution, to the successful outcome of the scheme by Mr J. Hook, chairman of the committee. Priestman Collieries Ltd donated the land and an ongoing allowance of 6 tons of coal a year to each of the tenants. Mr William Whiteley, MP for Blaydon and chairman of the Durham Aged Mine Workers Association presided over the meeting and presented the keys to the first tenants. A luncheon was laid on at Watergate Welfare Hall and later on tea for guests and members of the scheme. The colliery at this time employed 850 men and boys.
Whickham - The Windmill
The Windmill in King George's Field (Chase Park) is thought to have stood for at least 300 years. It is made of coarse squared sandstone. The mound surrounds the Mill to a height of 5 feet from ground level. Although it bears the date 1567 the style of the carving is inconsistent with that date and must have been added later.
It is referred to as a 'Tower Mill' and is the only mill still standing in the Gateshead area. It has also been referred to as a 'Palatine Windmill'.
When the Scots invaded Northumberland and Durham in 1640 the English were defeated at the Battle of Stella Haughs (Newburn). This happened at Harvest time and the crops were destroyed, the people fled, and the upper millstones were broken and buried by order.
The Mill was in use until 1835. The Miller at that time was Isaac Baty.
In the summer of 1979 the members of the Whickham Local History Society and some of their friends carried out excavation work inside the Mill under the supervision of Miss Barbara Harbottle County Archaeologist. At that time suggestions on the future use of the Mill was to either declare it as a local history centre for the Whickham area or to use the ground floor of the building as a refreshment kiosk - neither suggestion was developed and the Mill still stands in the park today.
Anya Seton, the famous novelist used the Mill as a setting for a lover's tryst in her historical novel "Devil Water".
The entrance to the House was opposite the Bay Horse.
The Leaton family was one of the earliest residents - their daughter Ann was baptised in 1714. The last member of the Leaton family living in the House was George Thomas Leaton Blenkinsop who died in 1864.
Several families lived in the House until 1937 when the owner Mr J Wilkinson sold the House and the ten-acre grounds to the Urban District Council for £7,000. With Mr Wilkinson's interests in horses and hunting he changed the name from Whickham House to "The Chase".
The House was used during the 1939-45 War by the Fire Service. Later falling into a state of disrepair and being demolished in 1960.
The area to this day is known as "Chase Park".
Whickham - Salisbury House
In its early days circa 1700 it was a Manor House and stood by itself outside the Village on the Fells.
The Village stopped at The Cross - where coal wains crossed the Front Street going down Coalway Lane to the Staiths on the Tyne. The Cross is where Lang Jack's monument now stands.
At the early part of the century locals knew it as Fiddlers Hall because every night an elderly gentleman played a violin at an upstairs window. Although the exact age of the house is not known due to incomplete deeds it is thought to be about 1653. It is now a four-bedroom house but it originally had six chimneys and flues. Various people have lived in the house including a dressmaker who made most of the wedding dresses for local weddings.
Whickham - Miners' Houses (Priestman Colliery)
Only one row of dwelling was originaly built for the workers at Axwell Park Colliery. It was a row of flats ground floor and first floor. It was called Railway Row - later to be renamed as Thomas Street. More homes were needed for the workers and the land surrounding the Pit Head was built on in 1899. Thomas Street was converted to two bedroom houses and other similar properties were built namely, William, George and James Street.
At the same time Eleanor and Edith Cottages were built - later renamed Eleanor and Edith Terrace on Whickham Bank. The houses were two bedrooms upstairs with living room downstairs and a walk in pantry. Outside in the back yard was a toilet and coalhouse. The houses were originally lit by oil or candles. Electric light was installed and switched on in the Pit Houses on 29 April 1903. The houses have been updated with many having kitchen and bathroom extensions and central heating installed.!
Whickham - Axwell Park Colliery
Axwell Park Colliery was sunk in 1839. It was a man-riding shaft. Men went down the shaft at Whickham and the coal was brought to the surface at Swalwell.
The Pit Head was closed in 1887 leaving 40 men out of work. It was owned by Lord Ravensworth and worked by Mr Snowball. In 1889 it was taken over by Hannington with Mr Rutherford as Manager.
On 6 April 1900 a party was held underground to raise money for the Parish Church.
The Pit Head closed in 1953 and the buildings were demolished in 1975. The area is now "Bank Top Hamlet" Whickham Bank beside the Whickham Car Company - formally Leslie's Garage.
Whickham - Dockendale Hall
This 16th Century building is of historical and architectural interest. Originally described with ivy-clad walls, trees and a well-kept garden enclosed by a low wall.
Originally the holding of the Earl of Darlington who sold the estate to Sir Thomas Liddell of Ravensworth (the title of Ravensworth dates back to 1747).
Rumour has it that Oliver Cromwell stayed there for two days during his march in 1648 to Edinburgh to make a treaty with the Marquis of Argyle.
In the 19th Century local farmer John Meek occupied the Hall. He cultivated the surrounding fields until his death in 1840. His family grave can be found in the south of the churchyard.
In 1841 the residents were the Taylor family who made several alterations.
Mr A Campbell was another owner - his sons had various activities in the Village - one raised pedigree cattle - though unsuccessfully.
The Bank then took over the estate and it was sold to Canon Phelps who made further alterations. After his death in 1948 his widow sold the Hall to the Church.
The Catholic Church Authority rebuilt the stables and it became the Church of St Mary's Dockendale.
The Hall is now converted into flats.
Whickham - Beech House
Located on the main street opposite the Police Station. It was originally a boy's boarding school, attended by the first Lord Armstrong. It then became a girl's boarding school. It is now a private house.
Whickham - Origin of the Name
The name Whickham is derived from the name Quykham or Qhickham and formerly meant the land bounded by the Tyne, Derwent and the Teams. This would now include Swalwell and Dunston. It is most probable that the original name was Quickham, which would refer to a village with a quickset hedge.
Swalwell - Sands Cottage
On the banks of the River Derwent at Swalwell stood an old cottage which was built of wood boards, the cavity walls being filled with sawdust to act as insulation, and this was topped off by a pantile roof.
The cottage and two others of similar construction alongside, were built in 1832 to act as offices while the railway was being built from Scotswood to Blackhill and they were subsequently sold to a Mr. Lance Jobling for £10.
Mr Jobling's brother, Jack was the first occupier he had to give up his work at Vickers Armstrongs due to ill - health, and kept three cows to supplement his income - eventually ending up the owner of several farms in Sunniside area.
Unfortunately, old age caught up with the cottage, it lacked adequate drainage, the pantile roof sagged and leaked and visitors brushed their heads against the ceiling inside. It was only by frequent applications of tar to the wooden walls that dampness was kept to a minimum.
There was no electricity but there was gas. An unique feature was the heating of the bathwater - this was done by filling the bath with cold water and heating it by means of a gas ring under the bath. The last owners of the cottage, Mr Alexander Norrie and his wife, Margaret spent many happy years living there but could no longer maintain it, the Council condemned the property in 1969.
When Mr. and Mrs. Norrie were rehoused the cottage was demolished and another part of old Swalwell's history disappeared.
Swalwell War Memorial and Church
The war memorial was unveiled on Easter Monday 1919 by the Earl of Durham and several hundred people attended the opening. The memorial was rededicated on 9 November 1952 by Lord Lawson of Beamish, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Durham, when the names of those who fell in the Second World War were unveiled.
The Town gate showing
the War memorial in its
original position at left.
Notice that the war
memorial has been
moved from its original
site where road to the
B & Q store is now located.
Swalwell - The Angel
This building was originally a 17th century coaching inn. Built in 1640 it is the oldest building in Swalwell and has no foundations. (The stables are now The Highlander Pub!) It was at one time the Post Office and later became an Antique shop and B&B.
Swalwell - Bridge End Cottage
Tolls were taken here for the old stone bridge on the Gateshead to Hexham turnpike. The date 1760 appears on the wall and it is Swalwell's second oldest building after The Angel.
Swalwell - Whitehouse
Demolition at Swalwell
Swalwell - Entrance to Axwell Park
Swalwell - Origin of the Name
The village of Swalwell is situated south of the Tyne, south west of Newcastle. The village lies in a valley from which it gets its name, 'Swale' meaning 'valley and well'.
Sunniside - The Potter's Wheel and Reed's Garage
The Taylor’s owned this property, which was built by Harry Kindred in 1926. It has had many uses. Part of the building was used as Taylor’s Refreshments and rest as a dance hall in which were held weekly dances. Then it was bought, by Reed and Sons and turned into a garage. Next Warriers bought it as a base for a Taxi Business.
At some point it again became dual purpose. Part of the building became the first night club in The Northeast of England, The Blue Parrot. On one occasion the cabaret act was Mandy Rice-Davies of Profumo fame. The club closed when nightclubs started opening up in Newcastle and other local towns.
Next it became a proprietary club then a Chinese Restaurant and is at present a very popular pub, the Potters Wheel, which was opened in 1973. The manager was George Pritchard formerly Manager at the Towneley Arms, Rowlands Gill. Alongside The Potters Wheel are Reeds Garage and Car Showroom.
Perhaps you can help us with more uses and dates.
Sunniside - Roxburgh Cottage
Sunniside - Hole Lane
Sunniside - Front Street
Sunniside - Origin of Name
The name Sunniside originates from "Sunnandun" which means the 'Hill of Sunna' and his sons.
Streetgate - Rose Villa
Rose Villa is a modernised stone cottage, which was part of a row of three cottages in the mid 19th century. The cottage was partly rebuilt about 1870 on the end of a row of four cottages. In the early 1920s Lily Place lived here. Her family worked on the railway.
Streetgate - East Sunniside Farm
When Gateshead Council sold East Sunniside Farm forty-five acres of the land were sold to the Woodlands Trust, who have planted numerous trees of various sorts. The name of the wood is Lotties Wood named after the caretaker of the White Elephant School, who was a well-known character in the village. Lottie lived in the cottage next to the school, the site of which is now occupied by two former police houses.
Streetgate - Introduction
Streetgate is situated on the A692 adjoining the larger village of Sunniside. The land originally belonged to the Ravensworth estate. The name, Streetgate, is thought to be derived from the location of the waggonway (now a walkway) running down from Marley Hill Colliery to the staiths at Dunston. It ran straight through the gates at Pennyfine and down Bakers bank, combining 'straight and gate', and eventually becoming Streetgate.
From 1908 to 1914 Shepton Cottages, Bewley Cottages and a number of substantial houses were built which gave a new lease of life to the village. Over the past 25 years a number of houses have been erected, some at the entrance to the village at Lobley Hill and a new estate at the bottom of Pennyfine Lane on land which belonged to Douglas's Market Garden.
When Gateshead Council sold East Sunniside Farm forty-five acres of land were sold to the Woodlands Trust, who have planted numerous trees of various sorts. The name of the wood is Lotties Wood named after the caretaker of the White Elephant school, who wa a well known character in the village. Lottie lived in the cottage next door to the school, the site of which now has two ex-police houses built upon it.
Rose Villa is a modernised stone cottage, which was part of a row of three cottages in the mid-nineteenth century. The cottage was partly rebuilt about 1870 on the end of a row of four cottages. In the early 1920's Lily Place lived here. Her family worked on the railway.
Marley Hill Wireless Station
Marley Hill Regional Wireless Station was one of eight similar stations opened in 1942 by the Home Office Communications Branch. Its function was to transmit messages to police cars located anywhere from the Scottish border to the North Riding of Yorkshire - an area which amazingly included 12 county, borough and city police forces. The various police force headquarters passed messages to Marley Hill by private-wire telephone, and operators there transmitted the messages to cars using a powerful transmitter and a giant 140-foot mast, which dominated the site. This was a one-way morse system - the cars could not reply - and the cars of all forces heard all of the messages, even those from other forces. Marley Hill and the eight other stations together covered the whole of England.
This early scheme, known as the Medium Frequency Regional Scheme, was superseded in the early 1950s by individual two-way VHF radio schemes for each police force. These schemes did not utilize any of the nine existing sites - the masts and transmitters for the new schemes were situated on numerous new hilltop sites chosen to optimise coverage of the desired areas.
Having lost its communications function, Marley Hill, like the other eight establishments, became a Regional Wireless Depot responsible for maintaining the fixed, mobile and portable radio equipment used by police forces - and later by fire brigades too. The giant transmitting mast disappeared and was replaced by the much smaller mast we see today. This mast has a very mundane function; it provides communications between the depot and service engineers working around the area.
In the mid-1990s the depots were privatised - Marley Hill is now operated by NTL.
Marley Hill - Category "D"
In 1951 Durham County Council designated Marley Hill a "Category D Village". With the demise of industry and the subsequent decrease in population it was felt that there was no way of sustaining the village in the future. This meant that no new building or development could take place. In 1974 Gateshead MBC undertook an investigation into its Category "D" villages. It was not until the 1990s that new building took place in Marley Hill for the first time in fifty years. Sandygate Mews and St. Cuthbert's Park were built along the former Pit Road.
Marley Hill - Large Detached Houses
The following houses were in existence at the start of the century but have now been demolished:- Bread & Milk (condemned in the late 1920's), Fen House, which was the colliery farm, and Wood House. These houses are still in existence:-Redlands, School House, Longfield House, The Grange, Greenfield House and Sandygate House.
Marley Hill - The Pre-Fabs
Noble Street and Dean Street were built after World War 2, in 1948, as emergency housing. They were opposite the school and were demolished in 1969.
Marley Hill - Aged Miners Homes
Marley Hill - Andrews Houses
Andrews Houses were situated near to Andrew's Houses Pit and very close to the Bowes Railway Line. They were originally part of Chester-le Street Rural District until 1936 when they transferred to Whickham Urban District. This area consisted of Bowes Terrace, Gibraltar Row and Marley Hill Terrace. Bowes Terrace was built 1871 as back-to-back houses but in 1921 was converted into through houses. They were demolished in 1938 when the occupants were re-housed in Fernville Avenue, Sunniside. Gibraltar Row was built 1874 and later Marley Hill Terrace. These rows of houses were demolished in 1960, when the occupants were rehoused in Neill Drive, Sunniside.
Marley Hill - Waggonway Row
Waggonway Row was built in the 1840s right alongside the Pontop & Jarrow Railway, near to the Coke works. In 1901 fifty-five families occupied the houses with a population of 290. It became known as High Row. A 1959 map shows the west end of the row to be in ruins and the whole row was demolished in 1960.
Marley Hill - Post Office Row
This row of houses was built in 1845, with a shop being added in 1860. However it was not called Post Office Row until a post office opened in the shop in 1890. The row was demolished in 1973.
The Name of Marley Hill
The origin of the name Marley Hill may have come from the fact that Marley means a clearing near to a boundary or from a corruption of the name of the owners of the land in the twelfth century- the de Merleys. It is of course on a hill!
Marley Hill - Church Street, Cuthbert Street and Glamis Terrace
These streets were built in the early 1900's by John Bowes and Partners, the first being Church Street North and St. Cuthbert's Street. Church Street South was built in 1913 for colliery officials and had front and back gardens. Gas lighting was installed in 1914. Glamis Terrace was built in 1925 behind Church Street South and the houses were much superior to the others, having three bedrooms, inside toilets and electric lighting. These houses are on the main road through Marley Hill and are still standing. When the pit closed in 1983 sitting tenants were given the opportunity to buy the properties from the National Coal Board.
Marley Hill - Pit Rows
Chapel Row, Coke Row, also known as Cinderburn Row, and Middle Row
-were situated nearest to Marley Hill Pit. Chapel Row was originally called Front Row until a Primitive Methodist Chapel was built on the end of it in 1853. In 1901 twenty-seven families lived there with a population of 176. It was demolished in 1936. Coke Row was demolished sometime before 1939, and Middle Row was the last to go in 1960.
Marley Hill - The Hole
Built in 1840's on the Pit Road. Some of these houses were affected by a mud-slide, which occurred when the families were at the Durham Miners' Gala, in 1901. Whether this is true or not it is said that on hearing that any family whose house was wrecked would get one of the new houses being built on Church Street, families started shovelling back inside the mud they had removed!
The Hole, or Valley as it became known, was demolished in 1920 on the recommendation of the Deputy County Medical Officer of Health. They were the first of the old pit rows to be demolished. In 1980 The Hole became a landfill site.
The Streets of Marley Hill
The buildings in Marley Hill were typical of a pit village. There were rows and terraces of back-to-back houses, all within walking distance of the pits. The pitmen's homes were very basic, usually with one room downstairs and one upstairs, which was reached by a ladder from the downstairs room. The floors were stone and in front of the fire would be a proggy mat. This was made from old clothes, which were cut up and "progged" into hessian. As there were no kitchens all the cooking was done on the open fire or in the oven, which was attached at the side of the fire. There were no inside toilets but ash middens outside across the road. Water came from a cold-water tap on the wall.
As Marley Hill had been a thriving industrial village since the nineteenth century many of the colliery houses had been built in the early to mid 1800's.
Dunston - Whitegate Farm
In 1950 the statutory list of buildings of architectural or historic interest covering Whickham Urban District and issued by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, one Dunston building was listed.
This was the eighteenth century Whitegate Farm, known until the early twentieth century as Dunston Farm.
Whitegate Farm formed part of the Dunston Hill Estate purchased in 1704 by the Carrs from the Shafto family, who had owned it from the fifteen hundreds. In 1983, Holly Construction restored the farmhouse, into a two bed-roomed house and the attached cow byre into a single bedroom bungalow.
The supplementary list included Whickham Thorns, now completely renovated, The Lodge on Dunston Bank, still in sound condition, and an extra note from the Minister. This pointed out that Dunston Hill House including the stables and clock-tower would have been included had they not belonged to or been occupied by or on behalf of the Crown.
Dunston - Wallace House
Wallace House, sheltered accommodation for the elderly, is where Creeds Grocers used to be on Ravensworth Road.
Dunston - Denholme Lodge
Denholme Lodge, sheltered accommodation for the elderly, was built in 1989 on the site of Dunston Board School, Church Street. It consists of one-bedroom flats with a central lounge and a laundry. There is a warden on site. The Board School (originally an all age school then a primary school) was replaced by Dunston Riverside School.
Dunston - Derwent Tower
Derwent Tower, known locally as "The Rocket", was built in 1969 by Pittender A.I.G.H. on the site of Clavering Avenue and East Ravensworth Road. * It is 280 feet high, has 29 storeys and is the tallest building on Tyneside. It has 420 steps and two lifts.
The architect was Owen Luder, who also designed the notorious multi-storey car park in Gateshead. The design is unique in Britain. Only one other of this design was built in Europe.
There are 29 floors with a total of 196 flats and it is built in the shape of a cogwheel with five risers. Each riser has its own water supply contained in one of the five tanks situated in the glazed area between the tenth and eleventh floor. Most blocks have these on the roof. (but see comment below)
The base of the building was originally a 150 space car park. This is now used as storage for Gateshead Authority. Owing to the history of flooding from the The River Team (or Gut as it has always been known locally) the building is based on a sunken ring of concrete. This forms a further basement, which was designed to hold large pumps which are used when required.
The Tower has six flats on each floor, two-bedroomed flats to the tenth floor and one -bedroomed flats from the eleventh to twenty-ninth floors. It has spectacular views from the top floors.
The adjacent Maisonettes were once linked to "The Rocket". This walk way was removed when the flat roof was changed to the present design.
*Many of the residents of these streets were rehoused on the then new Meadow Lane Estate.
Streets of Dunston by Stan McRae
The history behind the street names of Dunston is very interesting and I am just going to delve into some. The streets around Dunston Hill Methodist Church are a good place to start. Did you know that the streets around the church are all named after the England cricket team of 1900?
William Gilbert Grace (1848-1915), one of the few cricketers who is still a household name- I would guess there are not many people who have not heard of W.G.,
'The Grand Old Man of Cricket' even though he has been dead for eighty-five years. By the time he died in 1915 he had played for England twenty two times, mostly as captain and dominated the game for most of his life .Few people know that he was an all round athlete in his younger days and ran one hundred yards in 10.8 seconds, jumped over five feet in the high jump, seventeen feet six inches in the long jump, was the fastest quarter miler in the country, and, for good measure, represented England at bowls. He was often guilty of gamesmanship and sometimes refused to leave the wicket, when he was clearly out, saying people had paid to see him bat, not the bowlers!
Major Edward George Wynyard D.S.O. was the finest batsman ever produced by the army and he played in three Test matches for England. His army career prevented him from leading England to Australia in 1909 and no doubt he would have played much more often if it had not been for his army commitments. He was a brilliant all round games player and was top of the first class batting averages on several occasions, and this in the time of Ranjitsinji, C.B.Fry, Hon.F.S.Jackson and A.C.McLaren, the golden age of amateur batsmen. Wynyard died at the age of 75 in 1936.
Arthur Shrewsbury, (1856-1903) was one of Nottingham and England's greatest batsmen. W.G.Grace, when picking England's team, always said, "First give me Arthur". He played in 23 Test matches and came to an unfortunate end by shooting himself because he imagined he was suffering from an incurable disease. He was only 47 years old.
Any cricketer can tell you that the most famous bat makers in England are Gunn and Moore. William Gunn (1858-1921) was the founder of this firm and played for England in 11 Test matches. He shared many great partnerships with his Nottinghamshire teammate Arthur Shrewsbury, mentioned above. He was well over six feet tall and one of the finest stylists among batsmen of his era and graced the first class cricket scene for over thirty years.
Henry Wood (1854-1919), a wicketkeeper batsman, played for Surrey and Kent and represented England in 4 Test matches, the first being against the Australians at the Oval in 1888. He was said to have been a fearless player. Even though his hands suffered horribly at times, he stood up to the very fastest bowlers of this era and never complained.
All the above streets were built around 1900 when these cricketers were household names. I know of no other streets, in this area, named after cricketers.
Going past the end of Gunn Street we come to Dunston Road which was formerly known as Asylum Lane, a much more interesting name.
The Asylum stood on the site of the White House and the garage (formerly the Fire Station) and was a large mansion called Dunston Lodge owned by the well-known Tyneside family called Marley. In 1828 there was a lengthy lawsuit when John Barnett, the Curate of Newcastle Cathedral, who had married Margaret Marley died. A relative of his, another John Barnett, was accused of forging a will leaving the Lodge to him. Barnett was aquitted but the court ruled that the will was a forgery and the Lodge passed to General Marley, a distant relative of the Marleys who had owned the Lodge. General Marley leased it to Mr.J.E.Wilkman who opened it as an asylum. The venture prospered and in 1841 there were 84 persons housed there, increasing to 157 ten years later. It was one of the most advanced asylums in England and visitors came there from all parts of the world. Its cure rate was well above the results of any other asylum in the country.
A Mr. Garbutt carried on with the asylum but it gradually declined as public hospitals took over health care and the Lodge was eventually demolished in the late 1920s.During the last war I remember, as a boy, working in Kennedy's market gardens that occupied part of the extensive grounds of Dunston Lodge. Billie Kennedy and his sister lived in an old house, which was part of the old estate. It may interest readers to know that the going rate for boy labourers was 4d per hour (less than 2p) and worked out at 2s 8d per day (14p)
At the bottom of Dunston Road there is a building that must be one of the oldest in Dunston. This is the old church school, which was erected in 1818, and now in a very dilapidated state.
Named after John Ruskin the English art critic and social reformer who died in 1900 aged 81. A Labour Council because of his political beliefs in social and economic reform would, understandably, name this street of Local Authority houses after Ruskin.
Probably named after Sir Ronald Ross, the noted English bacteriologist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the relationship between mosquitoes and malaria, leading to the virtual extinction of malaria in many parts of the world, by draining swamps, and so getting rid of mosquitoes.
Another notable English doctor, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister (1827-1912), saved countless lives by his discovery and use of antiseptics during surgery.
The only Rendel I can find is George Rendel who was director of the Ordnance Works of Sir W.G.Armstrong Ltd. of Elswick. Lord Armstrong, the famous Victorian engineer, also had a street named after him that is now demolished and the Riverside Junior School now stands on this site. Stephenson Street, named after George Stephenson, the railway engineer, was also demolished to accommodate the new school.
We now come to a series of streets named after engineers and scientists who were famous when they were built around 1900.
Baker & Fowler Gardens
I have put these two streets together because they are named after Sir Benjamin Baker (1840-1907) and Sir John Fowler (1817-1898), Civil Engineers, who were involved in the construction of the first London underground railway line from Westminster to the City, now called the London District Line (1869). They also designed the Forth Railway Bridge.
William Thompson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824-1907) was a Scottish scientist noted for his work on thermodynamics inventing the Kelvin temperature scale. He also pioneered undersea telegraphy. .
John Tyndal (1820-1893), in his early career, worked on the first Ordnance Survey of England and Ireland in 1842. He then went back to school and eventually became Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution. He did much work on the properties of sound and acoustics. In his leisure time he was a climber and made the first ascent of the Weisshorn in 1861.
Sir Charles Algernon Parsons (1854-1931), the third son of the Earl of Rosse (Irish), was an engineer and scientist who invented the steam turbine and founded C.A. Parsons Ltd. of Heaton in 1889.
In 1897 he created a sensation when his turbine driven experimental ship, aptly named 'The Turbinia', zigzagged in and out of the Grand Fleet at a speed of 32 knots at the naval review at Spithead. He subsequently was awarded orders for turbine driven naval ships. Parsons was also involved in the development of electricity generation by means of turbo-alternators, raising the voltage produced to 11000 volts in 1905 and 36000 volts in1928. Parsons turbines are to be found in all parts of the world and he has been called the most original engineer since James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine.
Nearby is Newton Street named after Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the Law of Gravitation.
Named after Dr. F. W. Barry, who published a report to the Local Government Board on the General Sanitary Conditions of the Borough of Gateshead in 1884. This had far reaching effects on the public health of the surrounding district and ushered in the modern day disposal of sewerage and the supply of clean water to all dwellings in Gateshead.
Lord Ravensworth, the son of Sir Henry Liddell, created a Baronet in 1821, was the major landowner in the area. Ravensworth Castle was the family seat and I remember going to military tattoos there before the war. It was demolished just after the war.
This is one of the most interesting street names in Dunston. James Renforth was a famous rower and, believe it or not, Dunston was a household name among the rowing fraternity in the middle 1800s. Harry Clasper, who was born in Dunston in1812, was the foremost oarsman of his time and is buried in Whickham Churchyard. There is a fine statue on his grave looking over the Tyne, the scene of his former triumphs. James Renforth succeeded him as world champion sculler. He was born on the Rabbit Banks, Gateshead, in 1842 and was variously a blacksmith's striker, a soldier in the West Indies, and a keelman at Dunston. He won several medals as a swimmer before, at the age of 25, competing in his first professional skiff race against James Boyd on the Tyne for a £100 stake. In the next four years he won against all comers on the Tyne, Thames, Wear, Aire, Humber and Dee.
In 1870 he rowed in the International Fours Championships on the St. Lawrence River, Canada for £1000 prize money with other Tyneside idols, James Taylor, Thomas Winship and John Martin, winning easily. A year later he tried to repeat this feat for a £500 prize on the Kennebacassis River in Canada and collapsed when well in the lead. Renforth died two hours later at the early age of 29. His last words were 'What will they say in England?' His body was brought back for burial in Gateshead Cemetery. It was rumoured that drugs had played some part in his premature death, but this could not be proved. A crowd, said to have exceeded 100,000, attended his funeral and a tablet, carved to represent a broken oar, with his touching last words engraved on it, was placed in St. Mary's
James Clephan was the editor of The Gateshead Observer, the first Gateshead newspaper.
Sir Henry Keppel (1809-1904) was commander of the Mediterranean Fleet based at Gibraltar and finished his career as Commander-in-Chief, Devonport. He was an intimate friend of Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and his wife was rumoured to be one of the King's many mistresses.
Ralph Carr-Ellison owned large areas of land in Dunston, Whickham, and Swalwell.
He lived in Dunston Hill, now occupied by Dunston Hill Hospital, which was a large country house surrounded by rolling countryside planted with specimen trees. Some of these trees still survive, notably the large beech tree at the top of Dunston Bank, and several magnificent horse chestnut trees, which have withstood the annual raids of young conker gatherers over the past century. Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison of Hedgely, the present descendant, is Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland.
Moore Avenue & Ede Avenue
These two streets were built in the early 1900s and were named after the Reverend William Moore-Ede, Rector of Gateshead (1881-1901), who advocated National Pensions and did great work to feed the poor by setting up soup kitchens in times of need. He was deeply loved by his parishioners.
St. Omers Road
This is one of the newer roads in Dunston and comprises Collingwood Terrace, Colliery Road, and Railway Street. It runs from the bottom of Ravensworth Road to join the old Power Station Road near the MetroCentre. Bishop Omer of Therouanne, who died in 670 AD, gave his name to a small area of marshy land at the mouth of the River Team (the Gut as it is commonly known) called St. Omers Haugh. This land was owned by the Hospital of the Virgin Mary, Newcastle and leased by Lord Ravensworth.
On the ordnance survey sheet of Dunston dated 1897 published by Alan Godfrey of 57-58 Spoor Street Dunston in 1981, is shown Baldwin Flat farm. It was between Knightside Gardens and the bottom of Redesdale Gardens and was run as a dairy by the Youens family up to about 1960. One of the girls who delivered milk round the Dunston area, in a small green van, was called Letty. The access to the dairy was at the bottom of Knightside Gardens just before the shops and it was called Baldwin Flats Dairy. Before World War 2 the bottom of Redesdale, Monkridge,and Knightside Gardens had not been built and there was a large field with a stream running through it that was a playground for local children.
The trees estate was built by the Whickham UDC in the 1920's and '30's probably by direct council labour.
Beech Drive was again Council Housing built in the 1950's by Whickham UDC.
Terraces were typical of housing in late 1800s and early 1900s.
Some pre 1900 terraces had been built on Ellison and Ravensworth Roads and Victoria, Athol and Seymour Streets. These tended to be simple and lacked the later refinements of bay windows, stone door surrounds and neat garden walls topped with metal railings. Most of these earlier terraces were built directly onto paths facing roads and only after 1900 did gardens become almost obligatory, no matter how small these might be.
Although the terraced houses varied in size the general layout tended to be standard. Two up, two down with kitchen and bathroom built in an offshoot tended to be the norm, with toilet and coalhouse at the bottom of the yard. Front rooms were for best, or for the unexpected visitor not afforded access to the back room where family and close friends gathered.
Not all of Dunston's terraces fitted this standard pattern. West View Terrace and Ravensworth Road showed examples of Tyneside flats whilst Spoor Street is a Tyneside rarity. These terraced cottages built from the late 1880s are a Wearside phenomenon found in vast numbers in Sunderland
Whickham Avenue and Clephan Street are examples of pedestrian terraces, a trend very much again in fashion. The Crescent must rank as Dunston's grandest terrace, our answer to Leazes Terrace in Newcastle.
Long may Dunston's terraces remain.
Dunston - Stokoe Square
There is a record of a Bethany Wesleyan Chapel in Stokoe Square from 1885 through until 1911 but we have no further information apart from these photographs which show "Residents of Stokoe Square on a rowing boat outing to Ryton Willows in the thirties." and "Lilly Veitch with Bobby the fishman in the Square in the thirties with Mrs Robson in the background." Perhaps someone can help us?
But see Comment below.
Dunston - Sadler Square
Sadler Square was named after the Boat Yard and Landing which existed in the 1700s. The houses were strictly functional - two up, two down - with toilets and water supply in the middle of the square.
The houses were demolished in the late fifties. The site was used as part of the new road system to relieve the pressure of Metro Centre traffic.
Dunston - Atkinson Square
Atkinson Square was flats and was not really a square. The Sowerby and Hedley families lived there in the 1920s. A Sowerby brother and sister married a Rutherford brother and sister from near-by Stokoe Square.
At the bottom of Atkinson Square was a pub called The Skiff and it was owned/managed by Mr and Mrs Buttery. When she died, her son and married daughter, Mrs Penman, took over the management of it.
Oliver's "Rambles in Northumberland" published in 1835 says "On the south of the river are the woods which surround Ravensworth Castle, with the beautiful slopes of Dunston and Whickham".
Prior to the late 1800s Dunston clung to the banks of the Tyne and only by the early 1900s had it reached the bottom of the bank bordering Ellison Road. The land to the south of Ellison Road remained farmland attached to Jack's Leazes and Mount Hooley farms.
The council housing which first started to climb the bank was built in the early 1930s and the street names Oak, Cypress, etc., gave the name to the Garden Estate.
The later 1930s saw the development of the private housing on and around Knightside Gardens, an early project by the northern builder, William Leech.
The expansion up the bank was stopped by the war and only re-commenced in the mid-fifties with the building of the Whickham Hill Estate. The last beautiful slopes went in the mid-sixties when the Mount Hooley Estate was built on the site of Mount Hooley Farm.
In 1925 a road was made to join Holmeside Avenue to Ellison Road. During the next ten years Holmeside Avenue was continued and Rochester, Horsley and Elsdon Gardens were built on the fields of Baldwin Flat farm.
Holmeside Avenue was known as Soap Works Avenue because so many C.W.S. Soap Works' employees lived there.
The decades from the twenties to the seventies saw the farm land behind Holmeside Avenue to Whickham Highway gradually disappear.
Dunston - Old Asylum
A Mr. J.E. Wilkinson established the Asylum in 1830 and Cornelius Garbutt took over in 1852. In 1865 his son William took control and remained at the helm until its closure in 1900. Dunston Asylum was considered to be one of the best in the country and had several influential inmates. Its recovery rate was well above the average and its peaceful and attractive setting must have been a great factor in its success.
Dunston Lodge was formerly held by the Marley family. It was an old mansion on Dunston Road. The estate of eighty five acres included a farm and gardens.
By the early 1920s the estate had become a market garden run by the Kennedy family. Only a small part of the house remained suitable for habitation.
An illustrated letter heading advertising the Asylum as, "For the recovery of the insane" which dates from Wilkinson's time shows the Lodge as an impressive house with a frontage of six bays and quite a stately door surround.
Together with Dunston Hill, Redheugh Hall and Farnacres it must have been one of the grand houses of this part of our area.
Dunston Lodge and a Petrol Station now stand on the site.
Dunston - Bute Hall
Bute Hall, home of the Blenkinsops in the early 1800s and home to the first gatherings of the Methodists in Dunston. From those meetings followed the opening of Dunston's first chapel in 1838 behind the parochial school on Dunston Road.