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Historical Pageant of Newcastle and the North

Copy of postcard showing Col Shiel as King Jmaes

Historical Pageant of Newcastle and The North, 1931

Leazes Park was the venue for the original Kynren, the Historical Pageant of Newcastle and The North in July 1931. This 1930’s extravaganza embraced musicians, choirs, horses and even oxen in historical accounts of the North.

What do you think of when you imagine Leazes Park? Well, imagine this!

Opening scenes brought the spectacle to life with children dressed in elvish costumes skipping onto the field. The character of Puck (a mischievous sprite in folklore) performed a dance. It was a windy day, throughout the performance wind blew over the park, stories began to unfold, era by era. Reports talk of onlookers strolling in the summer flower gardens. It sounds amazing!

copy postcard of Newcastle Historical Pageant of the North. The children form a tower for Northumberland.

The pageant comprised a prologue, an epilogue and eight episodes spanning AD 122 – AD1715. Episodes included Emperor Hadrian and Newcastle’s Roman Bridge, the story of St Cuthbert’s body and Durham, and Mary Queen of Scots at Cumberland.

Outdoor Theatre

In the first half of the 20th century, a form of outdoor theatre known as historical pageant became popular. Current thinking is that the movement began with a performance in Dorset in 1905. Pageants became particularly popular in large urban cities and by 1939 had been performed in fourteen of the twenty largest cities in England. Estimations suggest that hundreds of thousands of people played in pageants and that several million attended them. The premise of the pageant was that local people would perform in large scale re-enactments of scenes from local history. 

Newcastle Historical Pageant

The Newcastle Historical Pageant was held in Leazes Park between 20 and 27 July 1931. The last performance initially scheduled for 25 July 1931, however, on 27 July two additional performances played because of the popularity. The Women’s Advisory Committee of the Northern Counties Area of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations organised the pageant. Advertisements at the time stated that approximately 6000 men, women and children performed in the show with approximately 120,000 people attending. Entrance cost 11s. 6d rising to 1s.1d for the better positions. Local newspapers record that the pageant made a profit of about £3000. Three local hospitals received £1000 between them, and the Women’s Advisory Committee accepted the remaining sum of £2000. 

Newcastle Empire Fair

The pageant formed part of a more considerable Empire Fair held in the Palace of Arts (now Wylam Brewery). Other entertainment that formed part of the Fair included performances by an R.A.F. band, the Felling Male Voice Choir and the Winlaton Sword Dancers. Parking was available if you travelled to this event by car, motorcycle, bus or Charbanc! (Horse drawn vehicle or early motor coach usually open topped). Charges ranged from 2s. for larger vehicles, to 3d. for bicycles.

The Gosforth Connection

The pageant master was Lionel Lightfoot, a solicitor by profession who had a keen interest in amateur dramatics. The Executive Committee comprised seven local dignitaries chaired by the Marquis of Londonderry and including Gosforth resident Miss (later Dame) Irene Ward who served as Hon. Treasurer. 

Barness Ward formerly Dame Irene Ward who served as Hon treasurer 1931 Historical Pageant of Newcastle and the North
Baroness Ward, formerly Dame Irene Ward, one of the most active women in parliament, who died at a London nursing home on 26/04/1980, aged 85.

A series of postcards were commercially produced as pageant souvenirs. We have used some of these postcards to illustrate this blog. 

Images and text subject to copyright

  • Pageant Timeline

    Chapter 1 Ancient tribal queen and Roman Emperor Hadrian AD122

  • Chapter 2 Pilgrimage of St Cuthbert’s body AD 995

  • Chapter 3 Bishop Bek of Durham and Edward I AD 1296

  • Chapter 4 The battle of Neville’s Cross AD 1346

  • Chapter 5 James IV and Princess Margaret wedding AD 1503

  • Chapter 6 Mary Queen of Scots in Carlisle after her defeat at Langside AD 1568

  • Chapter 7 James Radclyffe 3rd Earl of Derwentwater AD 1715

  • Chapter 8 Portrayal of 18c village life

Discovering Heritage is a team of researchers based in Newcastle Tyne and Wear. We have expertise in researching local history and residential history. We can help with heritage funding applications, family history profiles and house history projects. Please contact us here for more information.

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Moving to Kenton 1948

Newcastle Libraries

Edgefield School was built in 1939 on land adjoining Tyneside Tinprinters. It was also used as a community centre, had a thriving drama group and was well supported by local residents. The school closed in 1968.” By-Gone Fawdon & Coxlodge

The Garth Kenton

Moving to Newcastle from Glasgow in 1948 was amazing to me – a house in the country – a house with a garden and fields all around – Kenton was the place. 

It was very different from living in a flat in Glasgow. Although we had no garden in Glasgow, we were not entirely without “green” because in the centre of our cul-de-sac there was a small area with grass and trees. Railings surrounded this area, and nobody was allowed in. Our house in the Garth, Kenton was also in a cul de sac; we had allotments next door. It was a great place to play. 


We made underground dens, dug deep into the clay, we cut steps down and made a roof from corrugated iron that we found lying around by our side fence. 

There was the Crows Nest Club too. A heap of twigs and branches, just like a big nest! It consisted of bits of wood and any garden rubbish the residents were throwing out. We made a large hollow in the middle where we could sit, just like a big nest. It was high. The woodpile in which we held our club meetings would eventually be our bonfire on November the fifth. 

I had a little allotment there too, where my father showed me how to prepare the soil. I grew carrots mainly and a few flowers, Clarkia and Godetia. I was eleven years old at this time.

This “wasteland” (as we called it), was separated from the next-door field by a Hawthorn (I think) hedge. We called this field the Bull Field. The hedge had a large hole in it, which enabled us to escape onto the “bull field.” Presumably, at one time a bull must have lived there, but we never saw it. I remember big high grass which came up to my knees. 

We played and ran through his field to the next one and then right down to the moor!

Two new houses were eventually built on the allotment, and then more houses began to be built on the field. Now there are lots of houses the shops on Arlington Avenue and of course St Andrew’s Church, in the fields where I used to play.


School was also an adventure. I went to Edgefield Junior School with my brother and sister. We walked to school across Kenton Lane and went down the “ash path” which ran from Kenton Lane, beside Westwood Avenue towards Fawdon. Mrs Patterson taught my brother, Mrs Oates, my sister and my teacher was Miss Walby. Eventually, my brother and I went to Eastcliffe and my sister to Heaton High. I remember happy years at Eastcliffe school. 

The Garth Kenton. Discovering Heritage
Myself on the driveway of our house in The Garth Kenton
My brother
My sister in our back garden

The Cowgate Circle

The Cowgate Circle bus route went around Gosforth, Heaton, across the bridge over the Dene, along Jesmond Road, and eventually back to Cowgate and back down Kenton Lane. My brother and I used to go on the Cowgate Circle two or three times on a Sunday to avoid going to Sunday school! Sunday School was at St George’s Church which is now Bar Luga on Gosforth High Street.

Years later, when I started work, I caught the bus from the terminus by Kenton Lane and Westwood Avenue. I remember leaning on the farmer’s wall while I waited. 


I am asthmatic, and as a child had spells off school. I used to take Brovon from a huge inhaler. 

We went to Ireland on holiday it must have been around 1949-50. When I came home, I had a terrible Asthma attack. The doctor was called to the house, and I have a vivid memory of my father berating the doctor, saying “there must be SOMETHING you can do.” The doctor replied saying that there was, but it was not suitable for a child. Something must have happened because soon after that, I started to use an inhaler.


The inhaler consisted of a large red rubber pump into which fitted an orange well. The well was marked with measurements into which I poured (from my little green bottle marked poison) the prescribed amount of medicine. This process relieved my Asthma and helped me to breathe. As I grew older, the inhalers got smaller and smaller.

By the time I was in my late teens, my inhalers were small enough to fit into a handbag. A modern convenience! When I went to the South Northumberland Cricket and Tennis Club dances, if I got out of breath, I used to nip to the loo and take a scoosh!

Handbag sized Athsma inhaler 1950s
Original hand bag sized inhaler with tin.

Around about this time, I can also remember going to the Toddle Inn; a coffee bar with a jukebox which was on Gosforth High Street.

I grew up and went to work at Martins Bank where I made friends that I have had for life. Anonymous

We would love to hear from you if you would like to share your memories of life in the North East of England. Please send submissions of approximately 1000 words to All submissions considered.

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The Changing Face of Gosforth

Sign for Gosforth Traders

It is the natural characteristic of the High Street shops that they come and go. Communities grow and develop and demand different things. The trick is in getting the balance right between old and the new — also, the variety of business types. Situations change, and during times of change, we can sometimes find clues to our High Street heritage.

Penny Plain Gosforth High Street
Penny Plain

We recently took this photograph of the uncovered signage on what used to be Bowens Lighting shop on Gosforth High Street. The refurbishment of the shop front which allowed the old signage for Penny Plain to be seen for a short while prompted lots of fond memories. Many of us remember shopping in the popular women’s clothing store before it closed.

It is the characteristic also of the corner shop to come and go as businesses respond to the market demand of local customers. We have previously mentioned the history of Gosforth’s Kelly’s Corner. We took this photograph during the redevelopment of 151 Salters Road. The premises known as Gosforth Traders have a new vocation. Property works uncovered the signage for Hillary’s Bakers and Confectioners.

151 Salters Road Greggs of Gosforth traded from this address Kelly's corner
Old shop signage Hillary's Cinfectioners 151 Salters Road. Kelly's Corner

Although we all know this site as being, (for many years), one shop, Gosforth Traders, started life as two separate shops. The first businesses to trade from these premises in 1905/6 were T W Little Grocers and F Hannah Remnant Dealer at 151 and 153 respectively. By 1906 F Hannah (at 153) had moved on, and Mrs A Moore Confectioner had moved in. The Grocer (at 151) changed hands around 1910 to Clayton and Co.

153 Salters Road

At this point, the status quo remained until the middle of the war years. In 1916 Mrs Moore’s Confectionery left, and J O’Dowd Confectioner moved in at 153 Salters Road. O’Dowd confectioners appear to have come from Simonside View. They stayed until 1924/5 when another business from Simonside View moved in, namely, T S Dewell keeping the same trade in confectionery.

Greggs of Gosforth

Greggs of Gosforth and Kelly's Corner

After a very respectable 25 years trading, Dewell confectioners moved out, and Hillary’s Bakers and Confectioners moved in. By this time it was 1950, and some of us may remember the shop? Hillary’s must have ceased trading from these premises around 1968 because directories record that the well known Newcastle favourite bakers, Greggs traded at 153 Salters Road during this year. However the next year 1969 Greggs are registered as trading from 69 Gosforth High Street.

151 Salters Road

During the years between 1910 and 1975, 151 Salters Road saw three more changes in traders, each keeping a similar line. 1922 – 1934, J C Reah Grocery, 1934 -1939, W Bohill Fruitier, and 1939 – 1975, A B Round Frutiers. (Our research stopped at 1975 A B Round may have been there for longer).

Milburn’s Leaflet

Old leaflet found in an adjoining wall at Canny Crafty Gosofrth

When Canny Crafty made alterations to their premises at 147 and 149 Salters road in 2019 they found an old advertising leaflet in the wall partition. The leaflet had presumably been there since the property was built around 1904. The leaflet provides another tantalising glimpse into the past. Milburn’s Chemist was situated in Northumberland street in the early 1900s and held a host of mind-boggling stock!

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Coxlodge Hall Gosforth

Coxlodge Hall Gosforth Newcastle Libraries

This post celebrates more of the rich heritage of Gosforth as we take a look at the story of Coxlodge Hall.

The Durham County Advertiser of 7 February 1818 carried the following notice:

Death of Job Bulman

At his mansion, at Coxlodge, near Newcastle, on Sunday last, aged 74 years, Job Bulman Esq., one of the partners of the bank of Messrs. Lambton & Co. of Newcastle, a gentleman highly respected. 

A month later on 7 March 1818 the same newspaper carried the following advertisement offering the lease of Coxlodge Hall, home of the late Job Bulman, now in the ownership of his son, Job James. 


Unfurnished for a term of years

All the capital MANSION HOUSE of Coxlodge with the gardens, orchard etc. The house consists of an excellent dining room, drawing room, library, two sitting rooms, nine spacious bed rooms, three of them with good dressing rooms, and four servants’ rooms, two kitchens, laundry, wash house, servants’ hall. Housekeeper’s room and butler’s pantry. 

The out offices are very commodious: two double coach houses, stabling for ten horses, excellent granaries and hay lofts, brew house, cow byer, poultry house, barn and hind’s house; with other convenient offices. The gardens are very productive, with a hot house to one of them. 

The premises are in excellent repair and condition; pleasantly situated within  two miles of Newcastle upon Tyne, at a short distance from the turnpike road leading to Morpeth, and forming a desirable residence for a gentleman’s family. 

The tenant accommodated with from 20 to 50  acres of land. 

The premises will be shewn on enquiry at the house; and for further particulars apply to Job Bulman, Esq, at Coxlodge; or of Mr John Grace, of Gosforth, near Newcastle upon Tyne. 4 March 1818.

os map of Gosforth showing  Coxlidge Hall

Coxlodge Hall Gosforth

Job Bulman was born in Gateshead around 1744 and is believed to have made his fortune in India. On returning to England he purchased land in Gosforth and built Coxlodge Hall. After acquiring the Coxlodge estate he proceeded to sell of parts of it. These sales resulted in the development of Bulman Village, the area around what is now Gosforth High Street. In 1832 the property was sold to John Anderson, a banker, who retained it until 1859 when it was sold to Thomas Hedley, the soapmaker, whose business eventually became part of Proctor and Gamble. The Hall suffered a fire in 1877 but was rebuilt two years later by Andrew Leslie, a shipbuilder. The next owner was John Harper Graham, a wine merchant who acquired it in 1894.

Rowland Hodge Buys Coxlodge Hall

In the first decade of the 20th century the Hall and estate were purchased by Rowland Hodge, owner of the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company. In April 1918 Rowland and his wife Mabel were found guilty of an offence under the Food Hoarding Order of 1917.

The couple were charged and found guilty of hoarding 1148lb flour, 733ld sugar, 148lb bacon & ham, 29lb sago, 19lb split peas, 1 tin of preserved peas, 32lb lentils, 81lb rice, 25 tins of salmon, 4 tins of lobster, 3 tins crab, 10 jars ox tongue, 19 tins salmon, 85lb jam and marmalade, 61 tins of preserved fruit, 17 jars of calves’ foot jelly, 20 tins of syrup, 2 jars of pressed beef, 8 tins of Moir’s rations, 20 tins of condensed milk, 5 tins of soup and 27lb of dried fruit. In their defence the couple claimed that they had a household of sixteen to feed. This appears to have had little influence. The case resulted in fines of £600 with £100 costs.

Heavy Fines in Gosforth Food Hoarding Case

Newcastle Daily Journal Food Hoarding 1918 Coxlodge Hall Gosforth
Newcastle Daily Journal Food Hoarding Excerpt 1918 Coxlodge Hall Gosforth

The case does not appear to have dented Rowland Hodge’s influence. In 1921 he was appointed a baronet under the infamous Llloyd George coalition government that granted honours in return for the financial benefit to the Prime Minister. Ironically the award was for the services his company had provided during World War One. 

1911 Census of England and Wales showing Coxlodge Hall residents.

More Recent History of the Hall

After Hodge sold the property it became a co-educational private school, Smart’s College.

book showing advert for Smarts College in Coxlodge Hall Gosforth

The Hall was eventually demolished in 1939 with stables, currently being converted to luxury accommodation at The Coach House Gosforth, and the lodge, at the end of The Drive surviving today.

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Jesmond Dene House

Jesmond Dene House

Black Dene House to Boutique Hotel

We consider ourselves very lucky to have this beautiful old house on our doorstep! Jesmond Dene House has a well-documented history. Today it has become a hotel. Although I have never stayed overnight, I have enjoyed its ambience by merely popping in for coffee or booking an evening meal in its excellent restaurant. I love to visit these old houses and this was a real treat! It fits right into our heritage vision.

Jesmond Dene House In June

I first visited Jesmond Dene House for the occasion of my daughter’s thirtieth birthday celebration in June. It was mid-summer, and we sat in the garden with our cocktails. Our family are based away from Newcastle, so there was a lot of catching up chat! I remember feeling happily content to have my family around me on such a beautiful evening. The garden was peaceful, and behind us, we could hear the waterfall in the Dene. We had such a great evening that when some friends were visiting in September and wanted to mark the occasion, I suggested we eat at  Jesmond Dene House.

Waterfall in Jesmond Dene behind Jesmond Dene House

Jesmond Dene Road

My visit was just as enjoyable second time around. Because Jesmond isn’t far from where I live, I decided to begin my evening by walking to the restaurant.  It was a damp evening in late September. Our table was booked for seven-thirty, so as I arrived, it was quite dark. Fortunately, the house isn’t far from the main road. When I turned off Matthew Bank, it did feel like I had turned into a much older part of Jesmond. I could smell the damp old stone (always a good sign)! I  found it a little bit spooky walking in the dark areas between the lamposts. The house is on Jesmond Dene Road, and traffic is restricted,  the road is very quiet.

As I walked through the carpark, I could hear music from the party in the great hall. However, as I walked into the house, I was immediately swallowed into the lovely tranquil atmosphere. It was fourteen years ago in September 2005 that the house opened as a hotel. This occasion was marked this year with a refurbishment of the restaurant. My visit was well timed for a meal in the freshly decorated dining room.

Newcastle Libraries
Jesmond Dene House photo c1964

Photograph c Newcastle Libraries Taken 1964 when the building was used as a Special School. Note architectural variety

Here Comes The History!

In 1822 Newcastle physician Dr Thomas Healdlam built a house on this site. John Dobson designed the house, and it was called Black Dene. It wasn’t until twenty-nine years later in 1851 when John Dobson redesigned the residence for William Cruddas that it became known as Jesmond Dene House. Jumping ahead twenty years to 1871 and the house has another makeover. The architect of Cragside Norman Shaw significantly enlarges it for Andrew Noble who moved in at this time. The house saw significant changes again in 1896 when Frank Rich, a local architect, rebuilt the premises and changed it to a mansion with 39 rooms.  At this time a west wing was added along with, a billiard room, Gothic porch, and Great Hall. (In 1894 Andrew Noble also built a real tennis court (The Jesmond Real Tennis Club) in the grounds of the house, one of only around 50 currently in use worldwide).

Andrew Noble

Sir Andrew Noble 1st Baronet and esteemed physicist worked with Armstrong’s armaments in Elswick. During his time at Jesmond Dene House, he and his wife Lady Margery entertained important guests. Among these guests were Rudyard Kipling, Baden Powell and the aircraft designer de Havilland.

World War II

Lady Margery Noble died in 1929 at the age of 101. She outlived her husband, Andrew Noble by 14 years. Her hundredth birthday party was the last celebration held at Jesmond Dene House. In 1931 the Newcastle Corporation took over the house, and in World War 11 it was used as an ARP base.  After the war, local workers used it as a hostel.

What a treasure!

Jesmond Dene House rates highly for historical merit. It is charmingly decorated throughout. The new colours in the restaurant reflect the leafy garden giving a light and airy feel. I thought this was quite lovely, we were after all, in one of the noted green areas of Newcastle. New patterned wallpaper sits alongside the dark wood panelling to give a relaxed and mellow atmosphere. I arrived before my friends, so I had some time to sit in the panelled wood bar with my glass of wine and soak up the ambience. Our meal was an exquisite, perfectly balanced delight.

The garden at Jesmond Dene House
The chef used fruits and herbs from the garden.
The garden at Jesmond Dene House

As it is the history of places that fascinates me as part of the Discovering Heritage team, I went in search of some historical memorabilia. I found a wall of old photographs and a small photograph album tastefully displayed on a table in the hallway. The album was full of old pictures which helped to tell the historical story of the house.

Old photogrpahs at Jesmond Dene House

Incidentally, herbs and fruits from the garden were used in some of the dishes. I liked this throwback to our culinary heritage.

Jesmond Dene House is a local treasure, but don’t just take our word for it. Here are some other blogs to click through!

Jesmond Dene House

Ahad Tandoori Archive Gift Author Spotlight Boars Head Carol Bridges of Gosforth Causey End Christmas County Hotel Family Folio Family History Family Story Genealogy Genealogy Help Ghost house Gosforth Gosforth and Jesmond Authors Gosforth High Street Greggs Henry Street House History Ivy Road Jesmond Jesmond Dene John Stokoe Kay's Dairy Little Histories Shop Milk MAN Moods Stationers Murder Newcastle Newcastle Town Moor Newssheet Legacy Omnibus Paper Boy Post Man Remembering delivery men Richard Welford Salters Road Sanderson Hospital Shoulder of Mutton The Corner Shop The Drive The Grove tramway Typhoid

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Look At Gosforth

Look At Gosforth Aerial view of Gosforth Grey Hound Stadium 1965 wikipedia

Aerial view of Gosforth 1965

The following article appeared in the Newcastle Journal on Tuesday 16 December 1969. It was headed, Your Town – Gosforth, and written by Heather Smith. We have transcribed it here to make it easier to read and given it the heading Look At Gosforth. We found it amusing and would love to hear your comments.

Article printted in the Newcastle Chronicle Tues Dec 16 1969. Your Town Gosforth

Look At Gosforth 1969

Gosforth is one of those very desirable places. Or so Gosforth residents say and the rest of us believe. How much more desirable to have your headed notepaper end in Gosforth, than, say, Byker. In the very name of Gosforth there is a hint of delicacy and refinement that more earthy names like Jarrow and Wallsend lack.

Gosforth The Village

A fine mystique still clings to the select area that looks for all the world like a dormitory suburb, but which is still fondly referred to as The Village.The aura is of power (the power of the pen and the pound, that is) and wealth (nothing ostentatious just quietly loaded). And this rather insubstantial image, embroidered by envious Jesmond dwellers, is perpetuated by the people of Gosforth. They keep themselves to themselves.

Gosforth Residents

United and Outraged

Look At Gosforth Newspaper clipping from Newcastle Journal

Walking through the streets, the houses present a secretive interior, protecting and isolating the inhabitants from casual passers-by. At the same time after months or even years of silence, Gosforth residents will suddenly burst forth united and outraged at a new planned road scheme. Any innovation that might narrow a tree lined road or encroach upon a terraced garden, welds these detached family units into a single minded army. Their rage at any threat to the elegant status quo is implacable.

Here if anywhere in a region that rarely bridges the gap between miner and Duke is the middle class and upper-middle class – the conservative stockbroker belt that thickly populates Surrey.

Gosforth Is The Place They Would Love To Be

Common Philosophy

For all up and coming people who have not been claimed by Ponteland or Hamsterly Mill, Gosforth is the place they would love to be at. An address there ensures the owner of a certain standing in the eyes of those who have not made it. Or so they say. But I may be the victim of a myth which, like the generalisation All Americans Are Brash, is part of a common philosophy but it is patently untrue.  

Taking a long, cool look, the sort that journalists like to specialise in, I found the odd section of Gosforth that was far removed from this wealthy image. What is a prefab estate doing on the road to Gosforth’s industrial estate? What about the old colliery cottages that still survive, a standing memorial to the Coxlodge mining era? Or those vast council estates that are sometimes Gosforth sometimes Kenton and then turn out to be in Newcastle after all?

Nobody could pretend actually to like that messy stretch of the A1 which separates the High Street from Bruton Park estate. Or the sporadic development down in the dip of South Gosforth. But these are only exceptions after all, for the majority of Gosforth is firmly rooted in private (and expensive) dwellings. Quiet road after quiet road of big important looking houses that are universally well-kept with what must be annual coats of paint.

Montague Avenue

Towering Blocks

Working your way west of the A1, the development gts more and more pricey. The large terraced houses with their long front gardens give way to large detached houses built cheek by jowl as if every square inch of ground was at a premium. And then on to the sophisticated apex of Montague Avenue where palatial residences can afford to ignore anything less than a half acre. Even those modern towering office blocks that harbour big business concerns only add to the general atmosphere. One or two of them are shining examples of how to build on a large scale gracefully. There is no doubt about it: Gosforth has some very nice houses and a lot of them are the solid, settled pre war variety. Now Gosforth may not be the industrial centre of Newcastle and there maybe other more exclusive residential areas nearby, but it must qualify for the title of city playground.

Look At Gosforth. Aerial view of Gosforth published in the Newcastle Journal Dec 1969 article by Heather Smith

Racing Rugby And Golf

What Do Women Do?

The sports enthusiasts, I refer to the rugger playing kind rather than the United supporters, have no less than three golf courses, two rugby clubs a race course and greyhound stadium. Admirable on-the-door-step male entertainment, though what the women of Gosforth do with their spare time is not clear.

Another good thing about Gosforth is that although it is a suburb (residents can point in vain to the rates that go to Northumberland County Council) there is as yet nothing inflated or exorbitant about it. Speaking as one who was only too glad to leave that estate agent’s paradise, Surrey, Gosforth is a cheap suburb as suburbs go.Costs may be rising but the totally unrealistic prices of Epsom, which pander to the demand for a house, rather than it’s worth, are a long way off. But unfortunately like all dormitory areas, Gosforth lacks that vitality and self sufficient spirit that makes any pit village a more exciting proposition.

What apart from a night out at the flicks do Gosforth people do when the urge to leave their colour television sets is upon them? Of course they go to Newcastle because it is near, convenient and has a flourishing nightlife. This is all very reasonable. But it does mean that the visitor’s first impression of Gosforth is of wealth sadly tempered by something rather dull. The dullness can be fairly blamed on the reluctant suburb’s proximity to Newcastle and perhaps Gosforth people know it. For they have always had a love-hate relationship going with the city.

Apoplexy In The Genteel Drawing Room!

Life and Vitality

While the men work in Newcastle during the day and the couples live it up there through the night Gosforth has always laid great claims to being independent. Nothing would induce it to leave Northumberland and help lower Newcastle rates. As I said before many of its inhabitants still think of it as a village. The very word suburb is enough to cause apoplexy in many a genteel drawing room. But get a bit more of that independent spirit directed at giving Gosforth a life and vitality of its own, and I would not mind sleeping there myself. Article by Heather Smith Newcastle Journal Tuesday December 16 1969.

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Ahad Tandoori Archive Gift Author Spotlight Boars Head Carol Bridges of Gosforth Causey End Christmas County Hotel Family Folio Family History Family Story Genealogy Genealogy Help Ghost house Gosforth Gosforth and Jesmond Authors Gosforth High Street Greggs Henry Street House History Ivy Road Jesmond Jesmond Dene John Stokoe Kay's Dairy Little Histories Shop Milk MAN Moods Stationers Murder Newcastle Newcastle Town Moor Newssheet Legacy Omnibus Paper Boy Post Man Remembering delivery men Richard Welford Salters Road Sanderson Hospital Shoulder of Mutton The Corner Shop The Drive The Grove tramway Typhoid

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Town Moor Exceution

Photograph taken from Diary Of A Doctor (Edited Alastair Johnson).

Hanging On The Town Moor

Residents of Jesmond and Gosforth are probably aware of the executions by hanging that were carried out on the Town Moor. The last female to be hung on the Town Moor was Jane Jameson. On March 5, 1829, Jane was sentenced to death for the murder of her mother, Margaret Jameson. Margaet Jameson was an inmate of the Keelmen’s Hospital where the attack occurred, she died from her injury a few days later. The following Saturday her daughter Jane Jameson was executed for her murder on the Town Moor. After the execution, Jane’s body was taken to the surgeons’ hall.  It was exhibited to the public until 6 pm that evening. The following Monday the body was dissected in the first of a series of anatomical lectures that lasted several days. A full account of the execution was published in the local newspaper.

Town Moor Execution newspaper exerpt

Jane Jameson

Jane Jameson was found guilty of murdering her mother by stabbing her in the heart with a red hot poker. Evidence given at the trial stated that she had also “destroyed ” her two illegitimate children. It was also reported that in a drunken fit, she had attempted to cut her father’s throat. The following description of her appeared in Sykes remarkable Events.

“She hawked fish and other commodities and was a most disgusting and abandoned female, of most masculine appearance, generally in a state of half nudity.  She perhaps never was so decently dressed as when upon her trial, having on at that time a black gown, black hat and green shawl.”


Jane Jameson was the first woman to hang in Newcastle for 71 years. Newspaper reports state that crowds of 20,000 spectators lined the streets to watch the morbid procession that accompanied the prisoner to the gallows on the Town Moor. Jane had to sit on top of her coffin in a cart. At 9 am the procession moved off from Newcastle Borough Gaol in Carliol Square with the cart travelling behind the town sergeants who were on horseback, and the town marshall. The cart was guarded on each side by 8 “free porters” with javelins and 10 constables with staves. The mourning coach came behind with the Rev R Green, the prison chaplain, and Mr Scott, who was the clerk at St Andrews Church. Jane was executed at precisely 10 am and cut down at 10:55.

Twon Moor Execution newspaper exerpt

Murder Act of 1751

A quick look at The Murder Act of 1751, it might help us to understand the series of seemingly macabre events that followed the execution of Jane Jameson. The Act stipulated that to prevent the crime of murder “some further terror and peculiar mark of infamy be added to the punishment.” Also, “in no case whatsoever shall the body of any murderer be suffered to be buried”, and that the guilty party should be executed two days after sentencing.

Town Moor Execution newspaper exerpt

Surgeons Hall

Thomas Giordani Wright was a doctor who lived and practised in Newcastle at the time of the Jameson execution. Thomas kept a diary which has been published as a book, Diary Of A Doctor. Thomas was in Newcastle on the day of the execution, and the procession passed right by his window, he made the following comment.

“The procession passed along this street and within sight of my window but I had not the curiosity to join the assembled thousands who crowded to the scene of her existence. The body will I suppose be exposed to public gaze for a few days when she will be anatomised by Mr Fife.”

Thomas attended the lecture by Mr Fife, which was timetabled on Monday noon at the Surgeons Hall. The lecture was free to those in the medical profession. However, there was a charge made for non professionals. Tickets were available at 10s 6d for the whole course or 2s 6d for a single lecture. A donation to the Eye Infirmary was made from these funds. In his diary Thomas estimated that the audience was “about 50 of whom one third were non professionals.”

People who were convicted at the County Assizes were executed at Westgate in Newcastle. Those who were convicted at the City Assizes were executed on the Town Moor and at Fair Moor, Morpeth.

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Further Reading

This story has been well documented. Naomi Clifford has written a wonderfully detailed post on her website entitled The Cost Of Executing Jane Jameson.

The Diary of Thomas G wright was discovered in 1985. It was donated to the City of Newcastle Upon Tyne by the Nanaimo Historical Society. The manuscript of the Thomas Giordani Wright Diary is held by the Tyne and Wear Archives. The book Diary Of A Doctor was published in 1998 by City of Newcastle Education and Libraries Directorate with transcript and commentary by Alistair Johnson.

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Militant Attack On The Globe Cinema Gosforth

The Globe Cinema Gosforth

Many of you will remember with fondness the Royalty Cinema on Gosforth High Street. However, this was not the first cinema in Gosforth. The first cinema was The Globe, sometimes known at The Globe Electric Theatre – a building that still stands on Salters Road and is now occupied by the Gosforth Palace Chinese restaurant.

Plans submitted to GUDC for The Globe Cinnema Gosforth
Plans submitted April 1910

The Globe Cinema Fined For Overcrowding

The Globe Electric Theatre opened in 1910 having been built for Joseph Collins, the proprietor of the King’s Cinema in Marlborough Crescent, Newcastle and designed by J.J. Hill, architect. The cinema appears to have been designed in an opulent style with seating for over 800 patrons, and several private boxes. A billiard room was planned for the basement, but this did not feature in the final version of the plans. Cinema going in the early years was very popular, so much so that in 1912 and 1913 the manager of The Globe was fined for overcrowding. The cinema appears to have had a close association with The Sanderson Hospital – there are several newspaper reports of children from the hospital attending a ‘Children’s Treat’ at the cinema in the early years after opening.

Outrage At Theatre Plate Glass Window Smashed

Newspaper cutting showing the headline about a Suffragist attack on the Globe Theatre Gosforth

On 22 February 1913, a dramatic incident took place at The Globe. The building has been hired out as a venue for a meeting of The Gosforth and Coxlodge Liberal Association attended by Alexander Ure, M.P., Lord Advocate for Scotland. On the morning of the meeting, a hammerhead was thrown through a window in the entrance hall to the building with a label attached. The message on the label read “Let fresh air into politics by votes for women”. Residents of Salters Road reported hearing a car in the vicinity of the theatre between one and two o’clock in the morning. The perpetrator of the attack was not discovered but was believed to be a militant suffragist.

Newspaper Report On Gosforth Globe Attack

The damn’ , was d.serwered when the theatre was catered tIL , c .•r.iing. and it was then ascertained that a Ha:e-glass window in the entrance-hal of theatre. which was guarded by an h had been smashed. A hammer-head’s .4 been thrown through it. and the iound irside the deersay. The we’gned one pound. Tr the liammerhead was arached a lalwl which bon , the words: ” Let fresh air into politics by votes for women.

It would appear that the attack was carried out in the raw; hours of the morning. Residents in Salter’s Road say that between one and two o’clock they heard a motor-car in the vicinity of the theatre. Tb-e circumstance was unusual enough to ‘mike thin comment on it. A woman. rir:nit near to the theatre, stated that about 1.30..-::e heard a crash. as of broken plass, and got out of bed and looked out of the window, but there was no one to he area, The police were communicated with this morning. and they have taken possession of the missile with which the damage was done. 

The First Talkie

By 1915 the cinema had a new proprietor, Sidney Bamford who ran it for most of the period of silent films. The first ‘talkie – “Sunny Side Up” was shown on 28 April 1930.

The Oldest Surviving Cinema Building In Newcastle

In 1928 the Globe was taken over by the large national company General Theatres Corporation which in turn was shortly after taken over by Gaumont British. In 1935 the cinema was sold to E.J. Hinge, the owner of The Royalty cinema. For a time, both cinemas were able to continue operating by offering different programmes. The Globe finally closed as a cinema in November 1961 re-opening as a bingo hall which in turn closed in 1990. The building is the oldest surviving cinema building in Newcastle.

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Our Gosforth and Jesmond blog posts aim to shine the spotlight on the rich heritage of these two areas of Newcastle. Recognising our local heritage is the first step in being able to protect and appreciate heritage for the future. We have been commissioned by individuals to carry out house histories. These histories are helping to highlight the lives of ordinary working people in the North East.

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Is There A House Historian In Newcastle?

House Histories House to illustrate house hisorians in Newcastle

Is there a House Historian in Newcastle? Hello, we are Discovering Heritage, and we have house historians in Newcastle upon Tyne!

House Historians

We are a team of heritage researchers who offer many services across the heritage sector. We have conducted house history research for Higham Hall Educational Trust, Newcastle University and the Ring Net Heritage Trust. Although the latter was a boat history! Newcastle has a vibrant local history which we are exploring and sharing on our blog. Our house histories help to bring this to life by adding social texture and connections to the past by focusing on the lives of local people.

Is there a house historian in Newcastle? Yes this is a photo of a house historian at work in Newcastle library

Is there a House Historian in Newcastle?

Rows of book house historians use for research

What Is A House Historian

A House Historian is a person who researches the history of houses. Any house large or small is attractive to a house historian. Our house historians will research your house using not only the internet but also primary sources that we have access to. There are over 14  miles of records held in local archives, so knowing just where and how to look can save a lot of time!

What Will My House History Uncover?

Every house history is different, so we never know what we are going to discover. Research blocks are available at an hourly rate of £20. Our minimum block is five hours. Our house historians will trace the history of your house and the residents who lived in it.  We share this information in a specially designed residents table which forms part of our house history pack. We also like to include a house chronology, which may give a little more detail and comment on the social history of the time. We offer the facility to purchase extra research hours if you would like to add to the research, for example, if we find a person or situation of particular interest.

Graphic showing contents of a house history pack

Who Buys House History Packs?

If you are looking for an unusual or extra special gift a Discovering Heritage House History pack could be the answer. Our packs have been compiled for birthday and Christmas presents. People have also expressed an interest in giving them as a wedding or new home gifts. Of course, if you are interested in researching the history of your own house, our packs can be used as a starting point for your personal research. So, our house history packs appeal to lots of people!

House Histories for Hospitality

If you have a country house, hotel or bed and breakfast, our house history packs make an ideal complimentary gift or point of interest for the guest room or reception.

Old postcard of West Avenue in Gosforth

Is there a House Historian in Newcastle? Why Newcastle?

We began by concentrating in Newcastle simply because that is where we live and work. After careers spent working and living in the area, our team have come to know and love it very well. Our researchers have expert knowledge of the city, as well as Northumberland. We do however take on commissions outside the county and would ask you to contact us if you have any enquiry.

Find out more about our House Histories behind this photo!

Front door with a Discovering Heritage House History pack
Heaton House Histories