Ashburton Estate

When we are commissioned to research the history of a house we also like to look at the history pre-history. In this article we look at the pre history of a house in Elgy Road, Gosforth. Discovering the pre history of a house can be just as fascinating as uncovering the stories of its residents. Here we uncover the stories of forgotten buildings that have long since vanished, but, which were prominent in the history of Ashburton Estate, and therefore relevant to this House History.

The homeowner is lucky enough to have the original deeds to the house. When researching the history of a property trying to locate and examine any existing deeds to the property is always our first step. Having looked at the deeds we have been able to discover the following information about the property.

Ashburton Estate

Old Map Ashburton Estate
OS 2nd edition Ashburton 1898

The house was one of many built on the former Ashburton Estate. The Estate comprised Ashburton House and about 14 acres of land. Further research is required to establish the early history of Ashburton House but we know that in 1883, the then owner of the Ashburton Estate, John Carter Atkinson, a timber merchant, sold the property to The Committee of the Chadwick Memorial Industrial School for Boys

Chadwick Memorial School

The Chadwick Memorial School has been established in 1882 and occupied the former premises of Newcastle Racecourse on the corner of Kenton Road on the site now part occupied by Kwik-Fit. The Committee paid £9000 for the Ashburton Estate in 1883. The house and some of the land became The Ashburton House Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls with part of the land used to create Ashburton Roman Catholic Cemetery.

Industrial Schools

Industrial Schools were established in 1857 initially to house children who were convicted of vagrancy. By 1861 Industrial Schools were providing a home and education for children who were homeless, found wandering, believed to be frequenting with thieves, whose parents could not control them and children under 12 who had committed an imprisonable offence.

The Ashburton House Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls continued to be managed by the Committee of the Chadwick Memorial Industrial School for Boys and the girls was staffed by the Sisters of Charity.


Management of the school was not without its problems – initially sanitation was very basic- there were no water closets – the area was renowned for bad drains and sewerage problems and there were financial difficulties. It is likely that it was the latter that led the Management Committee to consider selling Ashburton House in 1905. The school closed in 1906 and was demolished shortly afterwards.


Fatkin and Vinycomb Architects

The deeds informed us that the property was built around 1924. This information allowed us to locate the original building plan at Tyne & Wear Archives Service in Newcastle. The plan revealed that the property was designed by Fatkin and Vinycomb, architects, of 77 Westgate Road, Newcastle. James Newton Fatkin, a Scotsman, was a well-known Tyneside architect and designed cinemas, churches and private houses. The latter included many houses in Gosforth, including a number in The Drive and Roseworth areas.

Building Plans

In common with all building plans the plan of the Elgy Road property provides details of the proposed layout of the property including room dimensions. Sometimes the layout of properties has changed beyond recognition from the original. Sometimes several versions of a plan were submitted before acceptance.  This may be for a variety of reasons – the original plan may have been unacceptable to the authorities or perhaps the client decided they would like significant changes to the original plan.

House plan proposal for developments on land previously owned by Ashburton Estate.

Locating a copy of the original building plans is one of the services that we offer. We can arrange for copies to be printed and explore other aspects of the history of your property. If you would like help with this area of your house history please click the button below and select the Original Property Plan search option.

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