Posted on 3 Comments

Historical Aspects of Gosforth

Historical Aspects of Gosforth Drawing of the entrance to Gosofrth 1880

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.

Historical Aspects of Gosforth map portion 1860
OS map of Bulman Village1860

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.)

Historical Aspects of Gosforth map portion Bulman Village 1860
Causey End and Corving House

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.

Historical Aspects of Gosforth OS map portion 1860 Coxlodge colliery
Gosforth Cottage and Coxlodge Colliery

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.

Historical Aspects of Gosforth Three Mile Bridge Drawing

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.”

Historical Aspects of Gosforth os map portion 1860 "fag end" cottages and Shoulder of Mutton
fag end Cottages encircled in blue and Shoulder of Mutton Pub.

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.

Our local traditional buildings have a lot to tell us, from the bricks and stones used to build them to the characters who walked the hallways. Many of them would have watched both world wars or stood proudly during the Victorian era. Perhaps they are even older, and were built during the Industrial Revolution or designed by Georgian architects. Find out more at our Etsy store!

  • Newspaper highlight May 12 1888
  • Discovering Heritage House History Folio photograph. ©Discovering Heritage
  • My Scottish Townhouse Story A3 poster photo ©Discovering Heritage
  • Discovering Heritage Town House Portrait
  • Little House History Discovering Heritage
Posted on Leave a comment

A Northumbrian Naturalist

Pen and ink drawing of Joshua Alder. A Northumbrian Naturalist

This post was prompted by the second TV series of A House Through Time in which David Olusoga traces the history of no 5 Ravensworth Terrace in Newcastle NE1. If you enjoyed the series and are interested in House Histories you may be able to pick up some research tips from our post How Do I Research The History Of My House?

Joshua Alder

Joshua Alder was born in Newcastle in 1792. An article in the monthly chronicles of North Country Lore and Legend states that his early education was with an Mr Prowitt who had a school on Pilgrim Street. From there Joshua went to Tanfield where he was educated by Rev Joseph Simpson. Reportedly a family member who ran a school of good standing. At the age of 15, Joshua went to work in the family business on Dean Street. We have learned from David Olusoga’s TV series A House Through Time that the family had a cheesemonger shop. The year after Joshua returned to the shop his father died which meant that at the age of 16 the responsibility for running the family business and supporting his mother and the rest of his family fell to him.

John Robinson

According to his contemporaries, Joshua was not happy with the commercial life. He preferred to spend time studying, drawing and conducting scientific experiments. As the years went by Mr John Robinson who worked as an assistant in the shop took on more responsibilities. John Robinson resided at Roseworth Cottage in Gosforth. Eventually, about the year 1840, Joshua decided to concentrate on his love of nature and more or less left the family business (according to Richard Welford – other sources say that the shop was sold) to his faithful friend and assistant John Robinson.

Text from North Country Lore and Legend. Profile on Joshua Alder showing Gosforth connection.
excerpt from the 1887 monthly chronicles written by Richard Welford

As a young man, Joshua liked to take long walks and travel to distant places. He would reportedly take a sketchbook which he filled with geological and botanical drawings. Ultimately his interest in nature developed into a specialist knowledge of the Mollusca. Joshua compiled a catalogue of his research which was published among the papers of the Natural History Society of Newcastle. Joshua Alder often worked with Albany Hancock, and many of his papers share both names.

Joshua Alder was one of the founders of the Newcastle Natural History Society in 1839. In 1849 he became the president of the Tyneside Naturalists Field Club of which he was also a founding member in1846. The chronicle goes on to report that –

“All contemporary naturalist of note, at home and abroad, were at some time or other in correspondence with him, and one genus (Alderia) and nine species of Mollusca were named in his honour.”

5 Ravensworth Terrace

It seems that Joshua Alder was a man held in high esteem. After the failure of the Northumberland and Durham District Banking Company which caused Joshua to lose his home at 5 Ravensworth Terrace a memorial was made to the Government which was

“… signed by the best-known men in various fields of investigation and research,…”  he was awarded a pension of £70 from the Civil List.

Joshua Alder died on 21st January 1867 aged 74 years.

Mr Alder was mild, genial and unobtrusive, willing at any time to impart his knowledge to others with much affability, and never allowing the opportunity to escape him of encouraging the young and inexperienced students. In conduct upright and honourable, he was in feeling, word and deed, a gentleman.”

Dr Embleton

Do you wish you could discover the “way back when” timeline of your house? 

When the census recorded occupations such as gentleman, unpaid domestic help and scholar!

Our House History Folios, including 

Householder register

House chronology


offer the perfect opportunity!

You can receive your bespoke stamp on history, add your chapter to the story of your house or impart the perfect gift.

“Blown away by how good it is. Best find all year, such unique gifts. So well presented and wrapped. Made with love and care. You won’t regret ordering.”

Visit us at The Little Histories Shop

Discovering Heritage House History Folio photograph. ©Discovering Heritage

Posted on 2 Comments

A Real Diamond Geezer

Discovering Heritage Joe Fisher header image and quote

A World War Two veteran who dedicated his life to helping polio sufferers  and a real  “diamond geezer

A story of Polish/Russian/Dutch Ashkenazi Jewish migrants who were Jewellers and Pawnbrokers,, and owned the Lyktan retail shop on Gosforth High Street.

When we received this message from David Wardell we knew straight away that this was going to be a brilliant story! In contrast to many of our other posts this latest research from David looks at the life of Joe Fisher who at the age of 98 lives in Gosforth.

“In a nutshell it is about Joseph Fisher a Jesmond / Gosforth man who contracted polio in the army out in Burma in WWII and was seriously disabled but pressed on regardless with his life and helping others like himself. Son of a family of Jewish immigrants (mid Victorian) pawnbrokers / jewellers  in North Shields and and wholesale jewellers later in Newcastle. He founded a hostel / training centre for polio victims in Newcastle. Married a Swede and opened a shop in Gosforth selling Swedish wares.  Successfully Transferred the business to Newcastle. “

We are sharing this story in two parts, the second part will trace the family history back to the mid 1800’s.

Joseph Charles Fisher

The son of  Jacques Fisher and Sybil Jacobs Joe was born in 1922 in Newcastle.  He spent most of his years as a resident of Jesmond and Gosforth.   His father was a director of the family wholesale jewellery business in Newcastle. Between 1930 and 1936 Joe attended  the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle for his secondary education. Joe still lives in Gosforth now at the age of 98.

Joseph Fisher at Royal Grammar School (1930 -36)

Joseph has fond memories of the Royal Grammar School . “ My house was Horsley (blue). All the Jewish boys were herded during morning prayers into AW ‘Buggy’ corner of the Hall, only to be released in time for Assembly.

It was segregation of the worst kind. Would we all have collapsed if we had heard the word Christ? Mr Herdman whose room  was on the first floor most easterly corner, informed me that I spoke French with an Osborne Road accent! I recall running around the perimeter of the school playing field on a cold and wet winter afternoon…… was this PE or punishment? “

World War II

World War II broke out on 1 September 1939 and at some point thereafter Joe joined the Army spending time out in Burma. In 1946 after the end of the war he was sent back to England having contracted polio out East. The war had ended and Joe, just 23, was left paralysed down one side,  living in London, and not certain if he would ever be able to work again.

Determined not to let his condition get the better of  him, after 2-3 months of hard struggle, Joe gained work in a London Hotel.  He started going to meetings with the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship in London and became aware of how fortunate he was to have a supportive family and not be short of money. With continued ill health , Joe soon decided on a return home to Newcastle, where he was able to work in his family’s wholesale jewellery company .

Believing that people with Polio could and should work, Joe then began devoting his life to helping Polio sufferers start working again,  boosting their self-esteem and enabling them to earn a living.  After moving back to Newcastle, the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship asked Joe to organise  a branch in the North East. Thus began a 60 year’s partnership in which he was able to help change the lives of many Polio sufferers. 

The British Polio Fellowship

The British Polio Fellowship was founded in January 1939 originally as the “Infantile Paralysis Fellowship” . This original name for the organization reflecting the medical name used to define this pathological condition at the time. The prime aims of the new Fellowship were to bring together people who had been disabled by polio, their families, friends, and supporters, and to do all that was possible to assist people in improving their lives in the face of their disability.

A new Trust Deed was adopted on 17th April 1953 which, essentially, remains in force today. The 1953 Trust Deed appointed four trustees one of whom, Joe Fisher, is still active with the Fellowship today and was the founder of the Newcastle employment project


Woodlands Mews Jesmond
Photograph c Joe Fisher Woodlands Mews Jesmond

Starting in 1954 with a large donation of £13,000 from the Newcastle University Students Rag Appeal Joe Fisher obtained a house in Jesmond, Woodlands Mews ,  which was converted to provide a hostel and a centre for training.  Help was provided here for up to 20 polio victims at a time.  Where possible they were taught a trade and enabled to gain employment and earn their own living, from which they were asked to contribute towards their upkeep, living in this large house together. They thus gained a feeling of usefulness and increased personal esteem.

Article regarding the opening c Joe Fisher

Joe has said –

    “…. a lot of people were far less fortunate than me and couldn’t make much of a life for themselves or earn a living, but I felt that just because they couldn’t walk very well didn’t mean they couldn’t do something with their hands and their brains.   I wanted them to feel they were taking part. Very often, just a bit of TLC and understanding does wonders. Simple adaptations can make a huge difference to disabled people.”

“We brought people from all over to live at our purpose-built hostel with the intention of teaching them a trade. It was carrying on what I had always believed which is that these people were employable”

1954  Joe Fisher took a holiday trip to Sweden where he met Inga Olofsson and in the following year they were married. Inga already had a young son, Max,  by her previous husband and over the next few years Joe and Inga had 3 more children, 2 boys and a girl.   Simon, Sigrid and Martin.


Discovering Heritage
Newcastle Journal 18 May 1956
Fisher’s Jewellery Business now at 14,High Bridge, Newcastle



Joseph Fisher and his new Swedish wife Inga , decided to set up a retail business in Gosforth selling contemporary Swedish and Scandinavian glass, ceramics, jewellery and fancy goods. Thus ‘Lyktan’ was born at 59b, High Street in Gosforth occupying the shop which is now  the right hand half of Katherines Florists Shop. Here they also lowered the ceiling for better effect and this can still be seen today in the flower shop.  


Lyktan’s shop position outlined in red over a modern day photo. Credit David Wardell

Newcastle Evening Chronicle 16 March 1956
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 10 April 1959
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 6 March 1958
Phonebook 6 Causey Buildings High Street 1958


In 1961 as the business prospered Joe and Inga decided to move their shop to the city, at 96, Grey Street on the corner of  Shakespeare Street, to much more spacious and prestigious premises. which many older residents may recall.  The shop  was on the opposite corner to the old Theatre Royal Box Office.

Lytkan 96 Grey Street Newcastle Photo credit Max Fisher
  • inside photo of the Lyktan shop on Grey Street
  • Newspaper article Lytkan
  • News article photo Lytkan Swedish fabrics
  • Lytkan news article

 Kellys Directory 1968 Fisher Ltd., Now at 14 High Bridge     

Joseph Fisher (L) donating money from – ‘Chronicle Live’  see link 

World War Two veteran who dedicated his life to helping polio sufferers to receive MBE – Chronicle Live

At some time hereafter Joe and Inga went their separate ways and in 1974  Joseph  married again to – Christine V Swinhoe.


Joe marries Christine V Swinhoe

Joseph had two further children by Christine – Daniel Jacques and Mark William.  Daniel and his wife have two children Lola Grace & Scarlet Rose, Grandchildren for Joe and Christine.

Joseph Fisher and his wife Christine V Swinhoe
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 18 June 1979  
Fisher Ltd., 70 years of trading (by the Wholesale Company)

2015  Joe Fisher was awarded an MBE

for services to charity and the British Polio Fellowship, having worked tirelessly to change perceptions of disabled people in the North East, masterminding a Polio hostel and training centre in Jesmond in 1954.

Article link    World War Two veteran who dedicated his life to helping polio sufferers to receive MBE – Chronicle Live

New Year Honours 2015


Member (MBE)

Photos by kind permission of Joseph C Fisher

Joseph Charles Fisher.

For services to Charity especially the British Polio Fellowship. (Newcastle upon Tyne,

Joseph at home in his sitting room  (photo Newcastle Chronicle)

“  I proved what I set out to prove, that these people were employable  and should be able to work.”

Joe was a third generation of the Fisher family in England. Still living in Gosforth at age 98 Joe now suffers from Post-Polio Syndrome, a hangover from the disease which causes of polio sufferer’s health to deteriorate in later life. His family story stretches well back in to the mid 1800’s. ©David Wardell

Support The British Polio Fellowship

British Polio Fellowship logo Discovering Heritage
Find out how you can Support the British Polio Fellowship

Discovering Heritage Discovering, sharing and re-telling the stories of yesteryear!

Discovering Heritage

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

Posted on Leave a comment

The Laidlaw Family of Brush Makers

Discovering Heritage Discovering, sharing and re-telling the stories of yesteryear!

The history of the Laidlaw family of brush makers in Newcastle spans one hundred and sixty-eight years. This article has highlighted an extremely brief section of the story, with association to Gosforth and Jesmond. The complete account written by David Wardell is available (with incredible detail and illustration) to read at the bottom of this page. David follows four generations of the family through the rise and fall of fortunes, times of tension when their land was taken for rail improvements at Manors and various business exploits as one would expect over such a long term. The story is accompanied by numerous news snippets which illuminate particular instances of the lives of individual family members deemed to be news worthy and set in print for us all to read.

David has generously made his full research available to everyone as a pdf which can be either read on this site or downloaded for your convenience.

The Laidlaw Family

This story begins around 1752 with Adam Laidlaw who was born in the town of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. Adam became reverend Adam Laidlaw and moved with the church to St. James Chapel, Newcastle in 1785. St. James Chapel was near Grey’s Monument at the junction of Blackett Street and Grainger Street and later became the YMCA premises.

Rev. Adam Laidlaw married Mary Laidler on 8th May 1786 at All Saints Newcastle. The couple had six children.

Children of Rev. Adam Laidlaw & Mary Laidler 

William Laidlaw                     b. 11th Feb   1787

Adam Laidlaw                        b.   5th May 1788

Thomas Laidlaw                     b. 12th Nov  1789

John Whitfield Laidlaw          b. 16th Jul    1791

Robert Laidlaw                     b. 22nd Jun  1793

David Laidlaw                        b.   6th Jul    1798

Robert Laidlaw 1st Generation of Brush Makers in family  b. 22nd June  1793

Robert is the person with whom the Laidlaw Brush Company started. He would have undertaken an apprenticeship in his mid teens or even earlier and this would have lasted for seven years when he would have become a Journeyman Brush maker around the age of 20-22 yrs.  Perhaps around 1815.

Robert Laidlaw married Mary Ann Dunford, the couple had seven children. Among them were, Adam Laidlaw, born October 1825 and Robert E Laidlaw born 1837.

In the 1851 census we find Robert and his wife Mary Ann living at 9, Oxford Street, Newcastle. Adam is now 25 years old and is a clerk and traveler, possibly for his father’s brush company which now employs 27 men. Robert E. Laidlaw, age 16,  is apprenticed to a hardware man.

Adam & Robert Laidlaw 2nd Generation Brush Makers

1856 Adam and Robert Errington Laidlaw assume control of the Laidlaw Brush Manufacturing Company in partnership after the death of their father Robert. This partnership became apparent at a later time when it was dissolved.

Adam (2nd generation) married Hannah Gibson the couple had seven children including Robert Babington Laidlaw born 1866. (D. 1928) Detailed information about Robert Errington Laidlaw and Adam Laidlaw is included in the full history at the bottom of this page.

Newcastle Daily Chronicle 30th September 1890 carries the notice of Adam’s death aged 64. At this time Adam was living at 7, Eslington Terrace Jesmond. The internment was at Jesmond Old Cemetery on 30th September 1890 at 11.30.

Robert Babington Laidlaw 3rd Generation Brush Makers

By 1901 Robert Babington Laidlaw 3rd generation brush maker in the Laidlaw family is living at ‘Glen Farg’ on Linden Road in Gosforth with his wife Robina and their small son Roland Babington Laidlaw who is ten months old. There is a nurse / housemaid, Mary Cole, living in with them. A second son Robert Anthony was born about 1902.

Newcastle Journal 21 February 1928 records the death of Robert Babington Laidlaw in a nursing home on 20th February 1928. The internment was at Jesmond Old Cemetery at 2.30 p.m.

Roland & Robert Anthony Laidlaw  4th Generation Brush Makers

Roland Babington Laidlaw b.13 Jun 1900  Newcastle  d. 23 Feb 1986 Newcastle

Robert Anthony (Tony) Babington Laidlaw b.abt.1902 Newcastle d. 6th January 1968 Newcastle

Following their father’s death Roland and Tony Laidlaw became joint proprietors of Robert Laidlaw & Sons.  Their father had been the sole proprietor of the company. This entry in the 1945 telephone directory shows Laidlaw’s Home and Garden Ltd are trading from 145 High Street Gosforth.

Quote about Tony Laidlaw from a friend

“ Robert Anthony Babington Laidlaw, or Tony Laidlaw, was a well-built gentleman who liked his beer. He used to drink quite a bit in the Brandling Villa along with Frank Nettleton, Chris Billetop, and a couple of other businessmen. He also spent a lot of time at Northern Rugby Club.  He lived at 23 Regent Road Gosforth.  His older brother was Roland. They owned a brush factory on Glasshouse Street, off City Road.   Tony and Roland both ran the shop on Gosforth High Street and the factory on City Road in a very much hands on way“

Photo credit James P Deans

“ghost sign” at Algernon Road Byker / Shields Road, Byker

Robert Laidlaw & Son – Brush and Mop Manufacturer and Dealer

Ghost Sign Byker.jpg | Robert Laidlaw & Sons Brush Manufactu… | Flickr

Laidlaw’s Shop on Gosforth High Street

Next to Northern Rock on Gosforth High Street with NatWest Bank just beyond was Laidlaw’s Home and Garden Shop, selling brushes, hardware, wallpaper, paints & gardening requisites. It was a small competition for the longstanding Thorpe’s Hardware opposite and the only wallpaper source on the High Street. In those days, wallpaper came with a protective edging on both sides of the sheet known as the selvedge. Once you had chosen your paper, for a small fee, the shop would remove this edging on a little hand-operated rolling machine with two cutting wheels on either side. Since they had to roll right through by hand, you had to leave your paper with them for a day or two longer while this was done. A fascinating process to watch for a small boy, with the selvedge streaming off the sides of the roll in a continuous ribbon.

Memories Of Gosforth High Street (part 3) Mentioning Laidlaw’s shop.

Deaths & Probate for Anthony & Roland Laidlaw

Anthony Laidlaw died 6th January 1968.  Probate 6th March 1968.

Anthony Laidlaw met with a terrible accident  from which he died after a bad fall in Crag Hall Dene, Newcastle. He had lain at the foot of a cliff for some 14 hours and was found by three children who raised the alarm. He died two days later in the RVI.  It was not known why he was there and various ideas were suggested, such as an accidental fall,  a fall due to inebriation or perhaps an attack.

Roland Babington Laidlaw died 23rd February 1986. Probate 23 February 1986.

Tel. Directory 1977 

Last directory entry showing  Gosforth High Street Shop

Read The Full Account of David’s Research

Four Full Generations Of The Laidlaw Family

Do you like the idea of stepping into the past and

✅ Documenting your house ✅ Connecting to your ancestors ✅ Verifying your stamp on history?

Take a leisurely browse through the Little Histories Shop and see how our archival inspirations can help you.

  • Discovering Heritage House History Folio photograph. ©Discovering Heritage
  • Customer of Little Histories Shop
  • Little House History Discovering Heritage
  • Discovering Heritage Family Folios contents
Posted on 10 Comments

Memories of Gosforth High Street 1950 Onwards (part 5)

Discovering Heritage photo header County Gosforth

Discovering Heritage are a team of specialist historical researchers with expertise in researching local history and residential history. As part of our community outreach we share some of our research and invite guests to post on our blog.

Welcome to the fifth and final part of David’s Memories of Gosforth High Street. We would like to thank David for sharing his research with us so we can in turn share it with you. Like you we have enjoyed reading his posts and have looked forward immensely to sharing them; we can appreciate the hours of work that have been spent bringing this collection together! We invite you to share any of our posts with relevant sites (share buttons are located in the footer) and would urge the practice of including a credit to the author/site and links where appropriate.

We begin where we left off in David’s last post at Brough’s.

Walking past Brough’s there was a low wall with a small garden where the Colliery Offices were housed in Hanover House,  which was set back from the High Street. Another coal merchant’s I believe. This now brings us to a small lane and the Old Lloyds Bank with its mahogany counters behind where the tellers would sit without all the modern glass screens and security that we know of today. (Now rebuilt as part of the Gosforth Centre).

The side lane snaked round behind the bank in to St. Nicholas’ Avenue across the side of H.G.Robinsons Motor Dealer’s Showroom who had their premises extending right back to the gates of the Central Park, on two levels, selling Volkswagen cars. Crossing St. Nicholas’ Avenue we reach Sculpher’s shoe shop later to be Peter Lord  and  Clarks Shoes  and until recently Thomas Cook Travel. As kids we loved coming here for our new shoes. Our parents being chiropodists insisted on well fitting quality shoes which usually indicated Clark’s. Of course what could be better than watching your feet in the X ray machine. Quite a novelty for kids in those days looking down at the bones of your feet inside the shoes displayed in beautiful green colour.  The current Thomas Cook shop has now closed.

Thorpe’s Hardware and Ironmongery

Next door we find the Electricity Company (now Oxfam) and then the Gas Board showrooms. This latter shop was later subsumed in to Thorpe’s Hardware & Ironmongery  who were just one shop further along.  Thorpe’s (1947) is one of the longest established family businesses remaining on the High Street although taken in to different ownership in the last couple of years,  it still remains much the same. ’If it ain’t broke don’t fix it ‘ as they say.

Like many shops of this ilk they used to repair the old valve radios as well. The original shop was quite small by current standards but was doubled in width and opened up towards the rear to develop the shop as it is today. I can recall my father, being somewhat distrustful , marking with a pencil all the valves in a radio set when he took it for repair. Radio repair shops were renowned for charging for new valves that they claimed to have replaced…but hadn’t done so.  Whether this was actually a fact or just a general belief I’m not really sure. Next door to Thorpes was Tilley’s The Baker’s who also had a small café / restaurant business up above. Carrick’s Baker’s  later moved here from the corner of Hawthorn Road, but this is now TUI Travel (recently closed.).  Moving on beyond Carrick’s we reach Harton Cleaners later   Johnson Dry Cleaners. I am convinced that this was once Whites of Jesmond for a time. A cheese monger who previously had a shop opposite on the High St. However I can find no evidence of this in records. Then came the Coal Board Office next to Woolworth’s which was later Berry’s Hairdressers.  We’ve now reached Woolworths. One of the largest shops at that time and housed in what were possibly premises specially built for them around 1941 when they first appear in the phonebooks but probably built pre war.


Photograph Link

Woolworth’s had large low counters staffed commonly by young girls who would no doubt come as cheap labour.  A vast miscellaneous range of goods could be found here as well as some basic canned foods at the back of the shop. Later renowned for their pic-and-mix sweets the shop had low counters that were a temptation to young children and I can remember that some were severely admonished or even expelled from school for shoplifting. 

Lots of inexpensive items and toys could be obtained here. Very popular were the Airfix model aeroplane kits which could become a nightmare to put together, as parts were not always accurately made and their fit was sometimes awkward. Most kids ended up with hands covered in aeroplane glue with its strong smell of acetone.  Woolworths also stocked yet a further ice cream brand, Midland Counties. Did we really eat that much ice cream in those days  I wonder!    Especially when money was tighter.  Their ice cream was not rectangular like others, but came as a small cylinder of ice cream enclosed in a circle of cardboard. When unwrapped this fitted very nicely in to a circular cornet, it just needed a firm push to get it to stick in place often resulting in splitting the cornet.. 

After Woolworth’s came Archie Mclean Brown’s , an Electricians shop. He was followed here by Anthony Donald’s, The Rocket Shop, which evolved in to The 2 W’s (menswear)  and later became Greenwoods Menswear and it is now Flowercraft . I lived opposite Anthony Donald and his wife at that time so knew their family quite well..

These shops from this point to the County Pub were single storey premises,  behind which lay some earlier large houses.

These houses were Roxburghe House North , Roxburghe House South , Gosforth Villa and Thornfield . The two in bold type were demolished in the 70’s to make way for the car park. Roxburgh House North was reached by an arched wrought iron gateway just after Archie Mclean Brown’s shop and was the dental surgery of Spence and Hutchinson, and my dentist. I recall going here for some extractions with gas when I was about seven, the anesthetist suffered from total alopecia (lack of any hair), wore a rather obvious ginger wig and was endowed with a cleft lip and palate rendering his speech somewhat difficult to follow. For a small child it was rather frightening but he was actually a very nice person who I encountered again in later years at University. The surgery is now Adriano’s Italian Restaurant and next door but one on the corner of the back lane that now leads to the car park was the L & N grocery store later to become  Punshon’s Newsagents and  then Johns News, followed by  AM News and  it’s now Adriano’s Delicatessen.   Across the back lane here we reach the Hadrian Supply Co., yet another grocer’s,  later becoming The Maypole Grocers  and then D& P Photographic.    On the end of this block of shops was  Swinton-Wood the photographers and today a Chinese take away restaurant. 

Punshons Newsagents


Murder Mayhem and Gosforth

We have now reached The County Pub. All the property beyond here is residential, the first one containing the building that was the Old Gosforth Jail many moons ago and one commemorating Merz and McClellan, the last being on  The Grove with the Doctor’s surgery on the corner and Midland Bank on the opposite corner in it’s own purpose built premises. Now yet another an Estate Agent.

Grove Garage

The only remaining premises to mention here was The Grove Garage owned by James Woodhall who also ran the Laundrette at the North West end of the High Street just before Landsdowne Terrace West , and now Pizza Hut..

The Grove Garage had stood there since being built in 1925 for Detchon and Fletcher as the Westfield Garage.  In my childhood days it was an old fashioned garage that serviced and repaired motor vehicles having a hydraulic hoist inside to raise them up for inspection.  Before it was later remodelled,  the whole site was completely enclosed with it’s walls extending back totally to the lane at the rear of Roseworth Avenue.  At the front,  on the High Street there was a small drive in forecourt with several different branded petrol pumps and a further two pumps at the garage side entrance. Within this forecourt was a tiny showroom that held just one or two second hand cars for sale. For such a small garage it was surprising how many types of petrol they sold with Esso, National Benzole, BP, Power, Cleveland, Shell all being represented and probably all supplied from same two basic storage tanks. Other second hand cars were often displayed on the open forecourt on Roseworth Avenue. Mechanics Eric andFred became well known to us kids & later also Arthur who subsequently moved to Dinnington, Autotune Garage.

The Garage changed hand’s in 1975/76 and was renamed The Dukesmoor Garage (coupled with a Garage of the same name on Kenton Rd) and was converted to an open sided drive through filling station.  It has since been rebuilt, retaining the original façade, which I believe is listed , and was a branch of Carphone Warehouse until 2018 when it closed and ultimately re-opened as a solicitor’s office in 2019. 

Older residents in Gosforth have recalled going upstairs at the garage to watch silent movies projected onto a white sheet in the storage area of the premises. Apparently one of the first places to show moving pictures in the area as mentioned in the local brochure depicted here.

Mr Bohill

Beyond the garage are  residential properties, however at the Southernmost end I cannot leave out the Sunday Papers Seller.   Each Sunday a local man, Mr. Bohill, a jobbing plumber I seem to recall called Tom, would set up his newspaper stall in the small seating area outside the garden wall belonging to the last house on the High Street [i.e. South Court]. He would arrive each Sunday, quite early, with his ‘gear’ on a barrow (in later years in his car), and would offload several large wooden boxes, probably orange boxes, some poles, canvas sheets and some rope which he then turned in to a stall with his boxes arranged like a series of pigeon holes on the park bench that was provided there. He would then create a tented cover over this stall and await the arrival of the newspaper delivery that he had ordered. Very many of the local people and quite a few passing motorists would buy their Sunday papers from Mr. Bohill who stood on this corner for a great many years.

We have now reached the very end of our return journey along the Village.

This work is copyright and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without permission of the author.  Many of the pictures and illustrations may be copyright elsewhere and should not be published anywhere without checking copyright details. ©David Wardell

Catch up with David’s journey through Gosforth High Street

Spot your street in 1920s Newcastle

Image its the 1920s! The end of WW1, shorter skirts for women, comics were published weekly, hand made furniture was the norm and not everyone had an indoor loo! Here is a chance to see if you can find your street in the 1920s.

Posted on 9 Comments

Memories of Gosforth High Street! (part 4)

Discovering Heritage header of Gosforth Central Hall 1949

Discovering Heritage are a team of specialist historical researchers with expertise in researching local history and residential history. As part of our community outreach we share some of our research through this blog.

Back by popular demand! Memories of Gosforth High Street from the Royalty Cinema to Brough’s The Grocers. Join us once more as we walk with David Wardell along 1950’s Gosforth High Street heading south.

Our return journey Southwards now starts at the Royalty Cinema . Children of all ages would happily gather here on a Saturday morning for the Kid’s Matinee.  Commonly a cartoon and a Western. It was fairly cheap to get in and as long as you didn’t buy sweets from the Kiosk was an economical mornings entertainment. For the more affluent kids choc bars and Lyons Orange Maid Lollies or perhaps a small tub of ice cream with a spoon could be purchased in the intermission when “The Lyons Maid will visit all parts of the theatre” as the advert would tell us. She seldom left her standing position at the very front however.  Sitting in the circle area was very popular, especially with older children, where they could drop papers and apple cores etc. over on to the heads of the children in the stalls. The really bad ones would even spit.  Sadly the Royalty closed down on 30th December 1981 with a Disney double bill of “Dumbo” and “The Incredible Journey”, to make way for sheltered housing , Homedowne House.

Royalty Cinema Discovering Heritage with David Wardell
Royalty Cinema

Leaving the Cinema behind us  we pass The Council Buildings and the archway leading to the old Gosforth Fire Station . The fire brigade have now long since disappeared to Jubilee Road with much better premises for their purpose but at that time reversing the larger more modern fire engines in to these old premises, under the archway from off the High Street, must have been quite an art, since they barely fitted the space available.

The Old Fire Station at Goasforth, Gosforth Heritage
Gosforth Fire Station

Gosforth Old Fire Station

Immediately beyond the fire station, at no.232 , originally a tripe shop in very early times, was, until at least 1956,  H.W.Sterling, a Newsagent, tobacconist and sweet shop. Here we children once again had this shop earmarked as where we could get a cheap treat. Sterling’s made their own ice lollies, which were just 1d each (less than ½ p in modern money). What a bargain!  They came unwrapped, pulled out of a big tray of conical lolly moulds. Now following it’s rebirth after a more recent fire this shop is the New New Bengal Indian restaurant. A couple of doors on was Bob Youngs Fish and Chip shop.  There since pre WW11 it had been a chip shop since much earlier times under the name of  H Robinson’s. Always known as Bob Youngs in my era even after it had later changed hands and was run by the Laws Family it eventual became Chip Stop and then The Gosforth Chippy. In those days you could get a bag of chips for 3d and fish and chips for 1/6d and for hungry kids who couldn’t afford these great prices, a bag of batter or ‘scraps’  could be begged for a 1d. This was perhaps the only source of take away food at that time. Burgers didn’t arrive until the mid 60’s with Wimpy Restaurants, and pizza came somewhat later. Chinese and Indian restaurants were rare and small and mostly confined to the City Centres.   Macdonalds and KFC came very much later at the end of the 70’s and didn’t reach the North East for several more years.

Beyond here was perhaps a butchers shop and then on the corner of Church Road for a time was Henderson’s Greengrocers.

Crossing over Church Road and just beyond the Queen Victoria Pub we find The Toy Cupboard on a corner where Robertson’s, Photographic Retailers now reside.  The Toy Cupboard was a fair walk from my house and with so many other shops to choose from we rarely wandered this far afield but this was where we could obtain Jokes and novelties much loved by mischievous little boys. In great favour always were Stink Bombs and Cap Bombs .

The latter were like a small plastic rocket with a metal spring loaded plunger at the tip. Removing the end cover you were able to place a ‘cap’ inside (such as were used in toy cap guns)  When thrown,  it would be detonated by the plunger on landing, hopefully, creating a small bang. (they didn’t always work as intended). An earlier incarnation of the cap bomb was like a small cast metal aeroplane in two parts held together by two rubber bands around the wings. These were a much more reliable option.  Because of these two novelties the shop was christened The Bomb Shop and was known as such thereafter (at least among my range of friends and acquaintances –  if not all the kids of Gosforth).

Even better were fireworks, available freely to children at that time from many outlets. 1d Bangers and jumping jacks being especially desirable which being lit could be thrown down and cause considerable alarm amongst others in addition to being more dangerous than we realised. I well recall the jumping jacks being thrown among the crowd by students on the Rag Parade Floats each year in the town. 

Less familiar with the shops at this end of the High Street my next recollection past the Blacksmith’s Arms is Barry Noble’s Greengrocery which later was to become Cummings Radio Engineer around 1956. Mr. Cummings  was well known partly because he was very short in stature being only about 4’10” high. A really nice man who I later got to know when he had an allotment at Beaumont Terrace. His shop eventually was to become Ladbroke’s the Bookmakers jointly with the premises beyond, which had been a Wine Market Shop.

Moving on over the back lane beside the Earl Grey were two shops together just before the Brandling Arms. One became a Discount shop in the 70’s and I think before this it had been a milliner called Babette, and the other was Brooks The Grocer’s which evolved in to Smith’s Furniture, later Regnart’s Carpets, eventually both shops being joined to form the Halifax Building Society (Bank) . Passing by the Brandling Arms came many more shops , now long demolished to make way for the Shopping Centre in the 70’s. 

Robson Porteous

The first of these was Radio Rentals who later moved in to the Gosforth Centre. Next door we encounter Robson and Porteous, yet another bakery.   Robson and Porteous were very popular and produced a good range of breads and cakes with a fabulous aroma of baking in the shop. They sold the best cream and custard slices,  choc eclairs and custard tarts. These were all huge compared to the produce from Smyths, a little further along , which were small and delicate and produced for quite a different more genteel market.. Two very different shops both selling great products but at different edges of the spectrum. I think Robson & Porteous also had a shop on Station Road at South Gosforth.

John Mood Gosforth High Street Discovering Heritage blog

At this point we’ve now reached Mood’s Stationer’s and Fancy Goods shop. Mood’s was on two floors with most stationery being on the ground floor while upstairs there was a selection of fancy goods, glass and china objects and ornaments. If you went upstairs perhaps to look for a gift you were soon followed by a member of staff to ‘assist you’ , but I suppose really to keep a wary eye on you.

Moods Stationers

Next to come was Arkle’s the Butcher’s  with Hendersons’s Greengrocers beyond on the corner of the back  lane. Mrs. Henderson ran the fruit shop and as I recall Mr. George Henderson, her husband, was an accountant practicing from upstairs.

Gosforth Central Hall

Gosforth Central Hall Stage performance "Wot Cheor, Geordie" 8th Nov1949
Gosforth Central Hall 1949

“The radio broadcast of “Wot Cheor, Geordie” on 8th November 1949from the newly-opened Central Hall which stood on the site of the Gosforth Shopping Precinct. Central Hall was adapted from the old building which had been used by the ARP headquarters during the Second World War and the Hall was built through public subscription as a memorial to the people of Gosforth who had served in that war. The plaque recording the names of the fallen was originally in the Hall but is now in the entrance of the Civic Hall, Regent Farm Road.” ©City Libraries

This was the back lane that ran up to the old Central Hall, a civic hall which also had a stage opening out in to the Central Park where open air performances were held. I remember watching an outdoor  performance here of the popular radio program  ‘Watcha Geordie’ produced by Dick Kelly , from within the park. There were many other performances, very often for children on a Saturday , based on a Go As You Please format where kids would get up on stage to ‘Strut their Stuff.

Back on the High Street and across the lane we have now reached Smyth’s The Baker’s who also had a shop in Newcastle’s Saville Row.  Smyth’s were the Higher class end of bakery shops, producing small and dainty cakes such as strawberry tarts (in season) and peach and pineapple  melbas and other such delights as well as a range of breads and buns and again some dainty bread buns known as bridge rolls perhaps for the those wealthier ladies who entertained their friends with bridge parties. It was also from Smyth’s that I first encountered a pizza.  These were quite small as was typical of the firm, being only about six inches in diameter and covered just with cheese and a tomato sauce base, basically a margherita with a couple of anchovies on the top (almost unheard of then). I always picked these fishy abominations off, not caring for strong fishy tastes very much.

There were one or two further small shops and then we came to a slightly bigger double fronted shop which was Brough’s The Grocer.  Brough’s were part of a small local chain of grocer’s and like Law’s Stores were prominent in the early days of Self Service shops. 

This work is copyright and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without permission of the author.  Many of the pictures and illustrations may be copyright elsewhere and should not be published anywhere without checking copyright details. ©David Wardell.

Posted on 9 Comments

Memories of Gosforth High Street 1950 onwards (Part 3)

Gosforth High Street Old Tramway Buuilding Discovering Heritrage

Discovering Heritage are a team of specialist historical researchers with expertise in researching local and residential history. We are currently researching and curating historical stories of Gosforth and Jesmond. It is our mission to connect as many people as possible to their personal heritage through local history and House Histories.

Join us in part three of David’s memories of Gosforth High Street as we set off from where we left off in the last post outside Wilkinson’s grocer shop.

After Wilkinson’s, we come to the Co-op Pharmacy, already mentioned above. This today is San Lorenzo’s Italian restaurant and next door, now Pizza Express was Bookless’, a fruiterer and greengrocers shop, but not at this shop until the end of the 60’s when the manageress was Miss. Vera Wilson, a lovely old lady. Two doors on was Mr J.Duncan Campbell’s Drapers & Haberdashery Shop, double fronted with walk-in window areas for display. Mr Campbell was a very ‘proper’ gentleman, possibly assuming this persona since he dealt a lot with the ladies’ it’s now Santander Bank. Moving on to 133, we reach the earlier Bookless Greengrocer’s who were here until 1969 when they moved South; it’s now Greggs, the Bakers.

The Maypole, chain grocers, came next, until the mid-’50s, now the home of King and Wood Opticians and then we reach Northern Rock Building Society. Passed The Rock was a larger shop, Laidlaw’s Home and Garden Shop, selling hardware, wallpaper, paints & gardening requisites. An interesting shop and competition for the longstanding Thorpe’s Hardware opposite and the only wallpaper source on the High Street. In those days, wallpaper came with a protective edging on both sides of the sheet known as the selvedge. Once you had chosen your paper, for a small fee, the shop would remove this edging on a little hand-operated rolling machine with two cutting wheels on either side. Since they had to roll right through by hand, you had to leave your paper with them for a day or two longer while this was done. A fascinating process to watch for a small boy, with the selvedge streaming off the sides of the roll in a continuous ribbon. Since the lady assistant (she may have been the owner/manager’s wife) was a patient of Father’s, yet another discount was available. This shop has now been Dawson’s Travel for some years.

Toddle Inn Cafe

A place of rest for some, we have now come to The Toddle Inn Café and coffee bar, which was here until about 1966/67 and very much a place of the time and magnet for teenagers and young adults. Pepsi or Coca Cola, ice cream floats, espresso coffee from a proper espresso machine, with tall chrome handles that were pulled down during the brewing process and Pyrex glass cups /saucers were used here, so iconic of the late 50’s early ’60s, and Coke was almost always drunk with a long straw from the traditional waisted bottles.

Here you could also buy a single Woodbine or Domino cigarette taken from a small glass at the rear of the counter where they were kept. The café owner was Joe Seery, who also owned the ice cream kiosk in The Central Park, beside the tennis courts – now long gone. He had another shop off Church Rd. at 2, Hyde Terrace. (a Grocer & Fruiterer). It was said they also had a crisp making business though I am unsure where this would have been. Now, the café long departed, it’s the National Westminster Bank.

An unusual use for a lavatory seat!

Comment from Joe Seery

“I did run The Toddle Inn Café for some years, when my father and mother went into the Antiques business and I did man the ice cream kiosk in Central Park” at times when not at school.

The crisp making, by my father, was done at 2 Hyde Terrace.

While managing the Toddle Inn, an old gent Tom, who had had a hard laboring life, but a good one, told me about the day the block opposite was to be opened by Newcastle Lord Mayor.  They had finished fixing the block’s name prominently above the  shops, just in time, but the “O” went missing.  Tom went on to tell me the letter “O” was replaced by a lavatory seat, which in those days was always made of wood.  With careful joinery this was used and pride saved. These letters have all now been removed, but when in place you could see how the lavatory seat had served a more regal purpose than its original intention.” ©Joe Seery

Lemonade Powder, Aniseed Balls and Dolly Mixtures

Finally, at the end of this long parade of shops, we have reached Maynard’s Sweetshop. Part of the large local chain of sweetshops, they sold a vast range of sweets in a multitude of jars behind the counter, satisfying all tastes from black bullets, aniseed balls, fruit drops and dolly mixtures to lemonade powder to dip your finger in, turning it bright yellow, and rather posher boxes of chocolates. It was here you would come if you wanted a special large box of Dairy Box or Milk Tray for a present as they had more selection than most other shops and even stocked the more exotic brands such as Black Magic, Terrys Spartan or All Gold. Today it’s become Bridgford’s yet another Estate Agent, which now abound on the High Street.   

Crossing over West Avenue and Ivy Road in front of the two churches, we come to Barclays Bank on the bottom corner of Ivy Road. Next door to the Bank on Ivy Road was the Brandling Garage in the old Gosforth Tram Sheds and stables. I don’t actually recall the garage from that period. These premises became Lipton’s, then Presto Supermarket around 1970 and later Kwiksave, who subsequently moved into the Gosforth centre where the shop was ultimately developed into a Sainsbury’s Branch. The tram sheds were to become a furniture store and have now given way to a large Gymnasium. Barclays Bank premises, after lying empty for many years, was recently developed into a quality optician’s shop.   

Old Gosforth Tram Sheds

Gee Sykes and Cook garage Discovering Heritage
Gee Sykes and Cook

C L Stewart’s Hunter’s Wool Shop and Lilburn Fish Monger

Passing the bank, we come upon another double shop unit C L.Stewart’s, a seed merchants with other gardening equipment and supplies. Stewart’s always had a range of products standing outside, such as sacks of gardening materials, peat, bamboo canes and sometimes a few simple tools. Inside, the shop had a very particular aroma, probably related to the range of fertilisers they stocked. This shop became Granada about 1977, then a Plumbing & Heating Supplies firm ) – now St Oswald’s Hospice Bookshop.

The little shop beyond was Hunter’s Wool shop, suppliers of wools and all things for the needlewoman and two doors more and we come upon Lilburn’s the Fish Mongers, and Game Dealer later called Philips Fishmongers, a branch of a firm in Newcastle’s Westgate Road later to be Sunshades (Blinds) and then – Fones Tek. This would become the entrance to the Gymnasium on Ivy Road, which now runs along behind the shops in the old tram sheds. A second wet fish shop on the High Street, and where would you find one today? Even the supermarket wet fish counters are being removed with just prepacks and frozen fish remaining.

Reaching the shop that is now a St Oswald’s Hospice Charity Shop, I’m unsure what it was at that time, but it did become the Travel Centre with Radio Rentals just next door; now it’s a branch of Subway.

Steels Cycles, Eblett Newsagent, Davison Chemist

Next, for cyclists of all ages, we come to the long-established Steels Cycle Shop, which later moved to 5 Salter’s Rd, to take over Edgar Tulips old cycle shop and ultimately arrived in Station Road in South Gosforth. Many will recall the puncture repair kits tins containing a tiny yellow crayon to mark the puncture with, patches and a mini tube of rubber solution, a little square of sandpaper to roughen the repair area and a squared stick of French chalk with a little metal grater to grate over the repaired area and prevent sticking to the outer tube.   

The Midland Bank (later HSBC) moved in after Steels moved out from here.

Beyond Steel’s, we come to Eblett’s, the newsagent later to become Kirkley’s, before being renamed Gosforth News in more recent days.  

On the end of this long parade known as Windsor Buildings, we finally reach J R Davison’s Chemist shop. This was where, if impoverished, we called in on the way to a Saturday Morning children’s matinee at the Royalty cinema or the Globe, which was just up Salter’s Road. Davison’s stocked liquorice root, colt’s foot rock, aniseed balls and barley sugar sticks amongst other confectionery delights that were deemed more suited to a chemist’s shop, and all were displayed in large sweety jars along the top of the high glass counter. For just a ½ d, you could get several aniseed balls or a stick of liquorice root. This ‘twig like’ piece of dried root could happily be chewed for the whole time you were in the cinema with its slight flavour of liquorice, finally ending up like a small paint or toothbrush. Perhaps the cheapest and longest lasting of all confections, it certainly lasted much longer than Everlasting Toffee that was available elsewhere.

Davison’s was replaced in due course by Crawford’s of Edinburgh, a bakery chain eventually giving way to Your Move, yet another Estate Agent. 

Davison’s Chemist Shop

Newcastle Libraries photo Davison Chemist Newcastle City Libraries
Davison’s Chemist Shop Gosforth High Street

Passing the small church here at the bottom of Woodbine Road and then the primary school on the corner of Salter’s Road,[ now a car park], we’ve practically reached the end of where I generally ventured other than to the cinemas. Not wishing to have to carry it too far, most of my shopping was done at the South end of the High Street. However, there was one more notable shop on Salter’s Road just before the Globe Cinema. This was Andersons, a general dealer and grocer. Here we could get a ‘cheap’ ice lolly after the cinema if money permitted for about 2d or 3d. These were called Jubblies, a watery orange ice lolly shaped like a pyramid about 3 – 4 inches in size and without a stick in a waxed cardboard covering. Tearing off one corner, you could squeeze the pyramid of ice up gradually as you enjoyed it. As you sucked away at it, the juice came out, leaving behind more of a pyramid of plain ice than a fruit lolly. They’re still available today for home freezing, but they are now only half their former size.

Militant Attack on the Globe Cinema Gosforth

The Globe Cinema Gosforth
Photo credit Cinema Treasures Roger Ebert

Globe Cinema and T Punshon Newsagent

The Globe Cinema, having converted to bingo in 1961, has now been Poon’s Gosforth Palace Chinese restaurant for many years. The Royalty Cinema closed in 1981 after much consideration as to whether it should become a roller skating rink or some similar such use. It was then knocked down to arise again from the dust as Homedowne House, a sheltered housing block.

Back again to the bottom of Salter’s Road, we continue North past the Gosforth Hotel (Pub), and next come to Punshon’s The Newsagent and Confectioner.

I didn’t come along to Punshon’s very often in those days but came to know the lady who worked behind the counter in the late 80’s when I would occasionally pop in with my youngest son, Justin. This was Betty Grigg, who was well known for her happy, cheerful manner and her love of kids. Her black hair was always tied in up into her trademark bun. She seemed to really know so many of her young customers and would often come out from behind the counter and slip them a sweety or two. I may have encountered Betty in earlier days but do not recall this. This shop is – now Gosforth Flame Kebab & Barbecue.

I have little recollection of the shops beyond, with the exception of the last one before reaching Landsdowne Terrace. This was the Launderette owned by James Woodall, a local businessman who also owned the Grove Garage at the South end of the High Street. At the corner of Roseworth Avenue. ©David Wardell

T Punshon Ltd.

Old photo of Gosforth High Street showing T punshon Newsagent
T Punshon (after the Gosforth Hotel)
Old photo of TGosforth High Street showing T Punshon Newsagaent
T Punshon (last shop before Gosforth Hotel)

Follow us on Facebook at Discovering Heritage Gosforth and Jesmond for more local history PLUS House History prompts, tips and lots of lovely information!

Diacovering Heritage HHeader
Posted on 13 Comments

Gosforth High Street in the 1950s

Gosforth High Street Discovering Heritage

Discovering Heritage are a team of specialist historical researchers with expertise in researching local and residential history. We love connecting people to their local and personal heritages.

We are thrilled to join David Wardell once again for a nostalgic walk down Gosforth High Street.

We begin where we finished in David’s last post at number 69 Gosforth High Street!

Greggs The Bakers

We are now up to No.69.  In my infancy I can just recall this Baker’s shop as Masons the bakers from where we would get our bread. Thomas Mason and his wife worked here making their bread in the rear of the premises. Around 1951 this shop was to become the very first shop of Greggs the Bakers. John Gregg and his wife started up the well-known chain of bakers from here with just this one shop and a van round.  I was often sent here for an Edinburgh Oval brown, dusted over with a little flour or a milk roll, a cylindrical round loaf with a ridged corrugated surface, or perhaps a fadge, (a round flat loaf like a stottie without the central hole). Occasionally we might even risk a cut loaf wrapped in it’s waxed paper covering.

Greggs Bakers at Salters Road Gosforth

Greggs were later to become famed for the Geordie stotties that they produced. Bread was always wrapped up in white tissue paper which tended to fall loose whilst carrying and smaller items were placed in plain white paper bags. Logo printed bags were a thing of the future. Sometimes cakes were put in a flimsy cardboard box if you bought about six or were prepared to pay  the 2d extra for the box.  Mrs. Gregg and staff would be behind the counter and later also her son Ian who took the business to its current heights with shops all over the country assisted by his brother Colin, later to become a school teacher at the Kings School Tynemouth.  Their sister would also sometimes be present, still a schoolgirl, if I remember correctly. This original shop is now a part of the Gosforth Travel Bureau. I have never found a close photo of this first shop and even Greggs do not appear to have one in their online history — the nearest one being their later shop opposite what was previously Woolworths.

Just beyond Greggs we reach my father’s surgery at no.75. This had previously been Johnson Bros., Dyers and perhaps a dry cleaners. Mother took the shop on near the end of WW11 as her chiropody surgery and then my father took the reins after his demob from the RAF.

This had been a larger shops split in to two smaller units. My father’s surgery was completely blacked out around the lower half of the window for patient privacy with his large bronze plate the only visible sign outside, the door being screened with net curtaining.  Inside was very small with a tiny waiting area and a treatment cubicle in the window space. A curtain screened off the rear third of the shop where he could make cups of tea etc. and wash his hands between patients and maybe prepare his medicaments. It is now Sarah Mains an Estate agency. Walking home from my primary school in Linden Road I used to call in to the surgery and then my father would come out between patients and see me safely across the High Street whence I returned home.

The other half of this divided shop was Blenkinsop’s the Coal Merchants,  run with an iron hand by Edie Blenkinsop and beyond, Milthorpes the greengrocer’s and florist.

This was Miss.Annie Gardner’s emporium assisted by Miss. Wilson , a favourite person of mine, Regularly I would receive little extra pieces of fruit or some sweets from her personal little  paper bag in her apron. This shop was our main source of fruit and veg. for home and occasional bunches of flowers for Mother. It was more a greengrocers with a few flowers than a true florists shop and was usually cheaper than the dedicated florist shops. Greengrocery purchases were always put in to brown paper bags,  as were those from the hardware shops. Milthorpes also had a shop on Kenton Road and later acquired Davy Johnson’s shop on the High Street, which we have passed by already. According to phone directories the Milthorpe family had been on the High Street at this very shop since at least 1922 . 

Moving on from here the next shop I recall was F.W.Robinsons, a sweet shop and plastic goods retailer. Around 1959 this shop was acquired by and opened up as a branch of local coffee company, Pumphrey’s, selling coffee and tea and other specialist grocery items. The sweet shop had been flat on the street level but for some reason Pumphreys raised the floor level considerably, with a large step up in to their premises.  

Dunn’s The Butchers

We have now reached the well-known local butcher, Harry Dunn,  who also had a shop in the Grainger Market in Newcastle.  I came to know Harry and his staff of butchers fairly well, regularly shopping there for my Granny who lived just behind his shop on Hawthorn Road opposite the Police Station.  I would visit her on a Saturday to buy her shopping for her. Harry Dunn always looked after me well and in much later years kept me well supplied with juicy beef knuckle bones for our dogs. Now a hair salon it had also been briefly a Take Away Kebab shop in the mid 80’s.  The shop beyond had also been a Barbecue and Burger shop for a short spell in the 70’s.

Now at the  corner of Hawthorn Road we arrive at Murphy’s Wet Fish Shop, run by Mr .and Mrs.Murphy, with their fishy offerings displayed on speckled cream raised slab counters set in the windows.  Today it’s an Estate Agent with Coffee Shop combined.

There was another business just round the corner in Hawthorn Road & upstairs, where in the late 60’s Isaac and Rhoda Newrick had a small hairdressing business. Both had  previously worked at Hollingsworths Salon in Market Street in Newcastle and old Isaac was to cut my hair for a good few years in my teens,  and as it was very coarse in nature he routinely attacked it vigorously with his thinning scissors. It was a bit like cutting a hedge with blunt shears.

I would venture out from my Grannys house on a Saturday morning to get her shopping, after chopping her firewood with an axe and shovelling up her coke in to hods to place beside the fires for the princely sum of 3d,  her contribution to my weekly pocket money,  which I had worked hard to get.  First stop would always be at the bottom of Hawthorn Road, for a small white, uncut loaf at Carricks The Bakers who also stocked yet another ice cream brand, Eldorado. We had a choice of many ice cream brands at that time. Remember if you can the oblong bricks of ice cream that fitted in to rectangular cornets before the days of Mr.Whippy and such like. 

Boydells paper bag Discovering Heritage
Some memories of Boydells From our Facebook Page ©Discovering Heritage

As good as new G W R Hornby Brake Coach and only £1.32 Boydells price!

This shop was later re-incarnated as Boydells Toy Shop and subsequently was split in to three smaller shops.

Advert for Boydells shop on Gosforth High Street

Further shopping for my Granny, as previously mentioned, was usually to Dunn the butchers for her ‘Sunday Joint’ which was usually just two little chops joined together, some groceries and then a trip to the Co-op Pharmacy for some Carter’s Little Liver Pills or some Andrews Liver Salts , where I was always reminded by her to use her ‘Co-op Divi Number, 29853’  so that she would get her divi which was paid out every so often. No Greenshield Stamps at that time, a treat to follow in later years. After Carricks we encounter John Pringles Shoe Shop, later Saxone and then  Peter Lord Shoes, now  Café Nero Coffee shop.   

A tiny bit further and  we reach Boots the Chemist at No.105/107. A somewhat larger chemist’s shop, managed by pharmacist Mr.George Batey , a keen apiarist (Bee Keeper). I always had to ask here for my father’s professional discount of 10%,  available to those in the medical profession, which I was later able to obtain in my own right.

Wilkinson’s Grocers

Now we have come to Wilkinson’s, High Class Grocers and the ‘Fortnum’s’ of Gosforth. Here you would find 3 long mahogany topped counters,  one down either side and one across the rear of the shop. I was always sent to Wilkinson’s for ¼ pound of freshly ground coffee which Mother enjoyed. Most of our other  groceries would be purchased  elsewhere, particularly  by delivery from William Darling’s stall in the Grainger Market. A very long standing family arrangement. Only day to day additional fresh grocery needs came from the High Street shops. Wilkinsons , distinguished by its large counters, with tinned and packet goods mostly on the right side and on the left, where the bacon slicer resided, cooked meats, bacon, cheese, butter and other fats. Cheese sat resplendent on a large marble slab with a cheese wire cutter and butter would be at the back in a part open wooden barrel from Denmark (Early Lurpak) waiting to be cut and shaped with wooden pats. All these items were wrapped in greaseproof paper and traditional plain white paper bags except for sugar with it’s special blue paper bag and pulses which were put in to similar stout brown/grey packets. There was a particular reason for the blue sugar packets but now escapes my memory.  

You had to stand in line at these counters and wait your turn to be served by the assistant. who would move back and forth finding each item on the shelves behind. Staff were well known locally, with John the Manager, assisted by Miss. Agnes Porter –  another senior staff member. I knew them quite well since I would also come in here regularly with friends whose parents used the shop a great deal.  We were allowed to play in the back of the shop and would seek out the wooden hoops from the butter casks which we then took home to boule along the street with a stick. Many biscuits were sold loose at that time and in the front corner there was a stand of about 8 biscuit tins with glass lids. In these were all sorts of loose commonly eaten biscuits such as cream crackers, Cornish Wafers, Custard Creams, Bourbons and Nice biscuits from well known names like Peek Frean’s, Huntley and Palmer’s and Fox’s. Some shops even sold broken biscuits from the factories, but I doubt these would have been welcomed in Wilkinson’s Emporium.

Some old glass topped biscuit tins

©David Wardell

Discovering Heritage and the Little Histories Shop

We are available for hire! We can help you to build your full house or family history in affordable research blocks. Our Histories are presented in bespoke illustrated packs with high-quality loose-leaf pages that can be added to as you wish.

Would you like to get in touch for a free House or Family History assessment?

Posted on 10 Comments

Gosforth Tramway Building

A look Back at Gosforth High Street

Taken outside the Gosforth Tramway building this photograph shows the G Sykes and Cook garage c1930s. The garage was one of a number of businesses that traded from the old tramway stables on Gosforth High Street.

The Tramway Service

The tramway service came after the Gosforth omnibus started by Mark Frater. In this post we look at this building between the years of 1884 to 1973. The tramway stables was one of the longest buildings on Gosforth High Street running from Ivy Road almost to Woodbine Road.

Gosforth Tramways

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Corporation Tramways opened 5th December 1878 at this time the trams were horse drawn. In 1885 the operator name changed to the Newcastle Tramway Company. This was a company formed by Daniel Busby and William Turton to run the tram services. By 1888 the company had changed its name again to become the Newcastle and Gosforth Tramway and Carriage Company, with William Turton listed as the director. (Note the names of Busby & Turton appear on the plans).

Plans for new tramway stables for Gosforth.

Plans were submitted to GUDC by Busby and Turton in 1884 for the building of new tramway stables in Gosforth. They included 3 rows of stalls enough room for 116 horses, between which ran the car shed. There were also two manure stores, a harness room, a sawdust room, a smithy, 2 loose boxes (one of which later became Barclays Bank) and a car pit. The last horse drawn tram service was on 13th April 1901.

Plans for Gosforth tramway stables showing Smithy, loose boxes, and car shed.
Proposed plan for Gosforth tramway stables.

Charles Merz of Gosforth

By 16th December 1901 the first electric tram service was underway, the route was 51.27 miles long. The Tyneside Tramways and Tramroads Company was chaired by John Theodore Merz who was also a director of the Swan Electric Light Company. As a point of further interest Charles Hesterman Merz was the eldest son of John Merz. Charles Merz lived in the house that today stands at no 54 Gosforth High Street and was originally shown on maps as Gosforth Villas. Charles Merz became well known for his involvement in the electrification of the railways in the early 1900s. In 1899 he set up a consultancy firm and from 1902 worked with William McLellan. The company became known as Merz and McLellan. The electric tram service ran for 49 years and closed on 4th March 1950.

Blue Disc commemorating Charles Merz and William McLellan
Commemorative blue plaque outside 54 Gosforth High Street.

Gee Sykes & Cook Ltd of Gosforth

The first reference we have come across to this premises being used as a garage in the trade directories is in 1925 when G Cook Motor Garage is listed as trading on Ivy Road. The fact that this is 25 years before the eventual closure of the Newcastle and Gosforth Tramways Co. suggests that parts of the building may have been rented out while the Gosforth trams were still in use.

Old Gosforth photograph of Gee Sykes & Cook ltd. Trading from the tramway stables building on Gosforth High Street.
Gee Sykes & Cook Ltd Gosforth High Street Photo credit Evelyn Stark

The photograph shows an image of Gee Sykes and Cook garage situated on the corner of Ivy Road and Gosforth High Street. Although the second line is illegible we can make out the wording Gee Sykes & Cook Ltd on the sign at the top of the building, followed by Gosforth then Automobile Engineers & Agents, Coach Painters, Open Always.

We have been able to date this photo to after 1937 by looking through the building plans register. After starting as F Gee, we see later plans presented in 1926, by Gee and Sykes Garage and then in 1937 plans were submitted by F Gee Sykes and Cook for alterations/extension to the office for Brandling Garage, Ivy Road. The table below records various planning alterations applied for between 1911 and 1954.

F GeeCoach Shed13/9/1911
F GeePetrol Station Back High Street8/7/1914
F GeeGarage Alterations7/1/1920
Gee & Sykes GarageUnderground petrol tank28/7/1926
Sykes & Cook2 garages inside old Tramway Shed3/7/1929
F Gee Sykes & CookBrandling Garage Ivy Road offices and ext to office1/9/1937
Gee & CookPetrol pump1953
Gosforth MotorsNew side entrance Ivy Road29/4/1954

The sign on the inside wall of the garage appears to be advertising garage services and is partly legible

Taxis [available}

For Private [Hire]

Repairs Complete[d] …

Agents for [priv]ate [hi]re

& Commercial [Vehicles]

The words Brandling Garage appear above a smaller sign for Tyre Services.

Next door the dark blinds are partially pulled down over the upper bay window and the words Barclays Bank Limited can just be made out on the lower window and outer signage.

Advert for Gee Sykes & Cook Garage taken from a Gosforth and Coxlodge trade directory.
Gee Sykes & Cooke advert in the Gosforth and Coxlodge trade directory

By 1954 the name of Gee Sykes & Cook Ltd disappears from the trade directories and the Gosforth Motor Company takes up residence on Ivy Road. We can follow this company at this address until 1973. A later listing records Gosforth Motor Company as car and caravette hire off Hawthorn Road.

What followed the Gosforth Motor Company? We think we can remember Liptons and Kwiksave. We would love to hear what you remember!

©Discovering Heritage

The words Newcastle -upon -Tyne can be seen around the top arched window.
Changes are underway once more. Junction of Ivy Road and Gosforth High Street May 2019
View of the Tramay building today on Gosforth High street

Thank you for dropping by, we hope you enjoyed your visit! Discovering Heritage are a team of historical researchers with expertise in residential and local history.

Our folios and packs make the perfect gift for that extra special occasion !

  • Birthdays
  • New Homes
  • Special Occasions
  • Holiday Cottage welcome packs
  • B&B/Hotel room packs

You can hire our researchers by the hour. Our House Histories, Family Folios and Reports are presented in bespoke illustrated packs with oodles of historical information. Individually researched and totally unique!

The Little Histories Shop

Our Little Histories Shop offers a range of gifts designed to enhance the experience of living in your house! Discovering, sharing and re-telling stories is one of our oldest traditions. Find out more in our Etsy store!

  • Newspaper highlight May 12 1888
  • Discovering Heritage House History Folio photograph. ©Discovering Heritage
  • My Scottish Townhouse Story A3 poster photo ©Discovering Heritage
  • Discovering Heritage Town House Portrait
  • Little House History Discovering Heritage