The Ouseburn, looking south c1907 while culverting was underway, a piece of Newcastle becomes hidden.” Christopher Goulding – Hidden Newcastle
We have completed a commission to research two Heaton house histories. The houses are neighbouring on Warwick Street. We investigated the history of these houses and presented our House History packs for a birthday gift. Our client expressed the intention that the packs would stay with the properties upon selling, or upon new residents moving in.
Dating The Properties
Our search began by looking at early edition Ordnance Survey maps. Warwick Street was not located on the 1st edition map of circa 1860 but did appear on the 2nd edition map of 1899 and the 3rd edition map of 1921. These dates narrowed our timespan to between 1860 and 1899.
Looking through the electoral registers provided our second clue. The first occupants of the neighbouring properties that we located were Robert Charlton, an electrician and Ernest Schumann a cashier. We found the first reference to both Robert and Ernest residing on Warwick Street in the electoral register of 1887. This date suggests that the properties were built circa 1886. Using a combination of sources we were able to trace the occupants of both properties from 1887 to the 1980s.
From a painting of the Ouseburn by J W Carmichael. Historic Newcastle. Frank Graham
House Histories In Context
Further studies of electoral registers, census records and directories enabled us to view the residents in context with local history.
The area around Warwick Street has a colourful history. Originally typically agricultural, the character of the Ouseburn valley changed and developed with the Industrial revolution. A host of industries such as iron foundries, flint mills and lead works developed.
We discovered that Mr George Forster was resident of Warwick Street in 1899, and was possibly a manager at the Ouseburn Lead Works. At this time, a walk to the bottom of Warwick street would have revealed the Ouseburn as a watercourse running above ground.
During 1907 – 1911 the culvert over the burn was built and completed effectively hiding the Ouseburn from view. People living on Warwick Street after 1911would not have known the Ouseburn in its natural aspect.
Later in 1950, after being used as a tip, the valley at the bottom of Warwick Street was filled in. The Allan family resided on Warwick Street from 1938 for over 60 years. During their later years at this address, the view of the area would have much the same as we know it today.
By contrast, to the industrial Ouseburn valley, the houses at the top end of Warwick Street backed onto to Heaton Park. Heaton Park, Armstrong Park and Jesmond Dene developed in the Victorian era.
At the top of Warwick Street there is a building that dates back to 1898, the Victoria Library. Plans to build the library were controversial. Residents were concerned about building on the green space. The first residents of our houses, Mr Ernest Schuman and Mr Robert Charlton, would have been aware of local plans to build the Victoria Library and the concern surrounding them.
Bombs Fall on Heaton
One night, in particular, would never be forgotten for residents of Warwick Street and that is the night of April 25 1941. A German bomb fell on the main walkway of Heaton Park. Fortunately only the greenhouse windows were damaged. However, more bombs fell across the Heaton area on that night. . At Guildford Place and Cheltenham Terrace, 47 people died when a bomb exploded on a terrace of houses.
We presented our Heaton house histories in newly designed folders with maps and copies of census entries and our specially designed table of residents.
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