What would you say if it were possible to view the historical aspects of Gosforth via a coach ride and see what it was like 200 years ago?
In this post, we take a look at the very early development of Gosforth through the writing of Richard Welford. Richard describes a coach journey through Gosforth along the Great North Road c1815-25. The text paints a colourfully historical picture of rural community life in Gosforth at this time. The direction of travel is approaching Gosforth, or Bulman Village from the Town Moor.
The Early History Of Gosforth
Not only can we get a passing glance at Gosforth life around 1810 – 1825, but when we compare excerpts from Our Colliery Villages published 1873 in the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle, we also get a fleeting look at how Gosforth developed during 1825 -1853. The passages that we share from Our Colliery Villages describe a walk from the area at Causeway End (Causey Street) to the area known as the Shoulder of Mutton ( Salters Road Jubilee Road junction) in 1873.
These two lively narratives shine a spotlight on the Gosforth area as it developed from one of rural farms, meadows, coal mines and miners dwellings, (smells and all!) to include grand houses and villas, one or two which still stand today. The language is a little flowery for today’s tastes, but we find it an effective conduit to transport us back to the 1800s!
We have included portions of the 1860 os map so you may be able to pick out some of the buildings referred to in the text.
A History Of The Parish Of Gosforth
“On the right of the bridge, near the hollow, was a small landsale coal pit; close by it Roseworth Cottage, and beyond it the church and farmstead; while on the other side were Coxlodge Hall, the Grand Stand, with the Water Company’s Mill spinning merrily round beside it; the Yellow House, or Farm; Kenton Lodge, and in the distance the village of Kenton.
The first roadside buildings in the parish were the engine shaft, the farm, and group of cottages on the left at Causey End. A couple of yards further on the coach “bumped” over Kenton and Coxlodge waggon-way and past the Coving House, with the work of corf making proceeding briskly under the eye of Anderson the master corver, and huge stacks of rods protected by straw roofs piled upon the ground which now forms Thomas Buckham’s garden.(A corf was a wicker basket in which coals were brought to the surface. It continued in use until about the year 1840, when the late Mr. T.Y. Hall introduced the present tub and cage system.)
More fields then Gosforth turnpike Gate, with Gosforth Cottage (known to recent residents as Hall’s or Bell’s farm), closely adjoining it; and between them a house which had been the Shoulder of Mutton beer shop, until on the opening of Fawdon Colliery Sir Thomas Burdon built a larger “Shoulder of Mutton” higher up Salter’s Road.
Next came the first roadside building in the parish on the right hand side – the house now occupied by Mr. David Hetherington. On the left were huge stacks of hay for the pit ponies, and behind them Coxlodge Colliery. Then about 100 yards north of the third milestone, on the right, were a cottage and stable known as Tinket House, though why so called does not at present appear. Presently the coach rolled round the corner into Three Mile Bridge, and if the time of day was suitable passengers caught a glimpse of stout John Magnay at his forge, and Thomas Morrow at his bench, with Pigs Folly between, and so, through Low and High Gosforth plantations the coach left the parish and rattled on to Wideopen.“
Gosforth 1825 Onwards
From 1825 onwards Gosforth began to develop in earnest. The area became known as Bulman Village in 1830.
Fast Forward to 1873
Transcription Our Colliery Villages.
“A couple of miles to the north of Newcastle, and just beyond the Grand Stand, large numbers of snug suburban residences are springing up, built in almost every variety of residential architecture, from Gothic villa to modest cottage ornee. Just beyond these abodes of modest competence, we come upon another variety of cottage architecture, not so pleasing to the sight as the residences of some of our successful tradesmen. To anyone who approaches Coxlodge Colliery in this direction the transition is most curious. It is as though one passed in a few strides from Belgravia to Wapping – from Jesmond to Sandgate.
One minute you are passing the pleasure grounds of the wealthy, in another the scent of flowers becomes changed for the smell of offensive sewage, and the graceful outlines of luxurious dwellings, give away the coarse antique ugliness of the miners’ cottages at Causey End.
A couple of miles to the north of Newcastle, and just beyond the Grand Stand, large numbers of snug suburban residences are springing up, built in almost every variety of residential architecture, from Gothic villa to modest cottage ornee. Just beyond these abodes of modest competence, we come upon another variety of cottage architecture, not so pleasing to the sight as the residences of some of our successful tradesmen. To anyone who approaches Coxlodge Colliery in this direction the transition is most curious. It is as though one passed in a few strides from Belgravia to Wapping – from Jesmond to Sandgate. One minute you are passing the pleasure grounds of the wealthy, in another the scent of flowers becomes changed for the smell of offensive sewage, and the graceful outlines of luxurious dwellings, give away the coarse antique ugliness of the miners’ cottages at Causey End.”
The writer goes on to describe Causey End in this spectacular fashion. We have chosen one or two choice sentences, so you get the gist!
“Pigs flourish and grow fat at Causey End; they seem to be in their natural element there. They are well fed and content seeing nothing within eyeshot to cause them a single pang of envy or covetousness save the cabbages in the adjacent gardens.”
“These cottages possess capacities for wretchedness second to none, and were it not that they are kept in decent repair, and propped now and again with plentiful lime they would soon sink to even a lower level than our old acquaintances at Seghill.”
“The ashes accumulate in heaps and the slops and sewage are carried off by surface channels to a foul smelling open drain not far from the houses.”
“A little further on is a group of cottages of the name description as those at Causey End, which take their name from the nearest public-house, and are therefore known as the Shoulder of Mutton, though really they look more like a collection of “fag ends” than any other joint known to the butcher.”
Fag End Cottages
We believe this collection of “fag end” cottages were demolished before 1898 as they do not appear on the os map of that year. By 1902 the more respectable properties at 145, 147 and 149 Salters Road were built. The corner shop began to flourish, adding to the growing prosperity of the neighbourhood. From 1902 until the present day the small lock-up shops at 147 and 149 Salters Road have provided a base for continuous trade for this area of Gosforth. Today the building is occupied by Connection Same Day Courier trading since 1983 and the relatively recent and very popular business residents Canny Crafty. Canny Crafty opened its doors at 147 Salters Road in 2017 and has recently expanded to trade from the premises at both 147 and 149 Salters Road.