Timeline 1632 – 2020
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The Gosforth Grandstand Timeline gives a concise and easy to read history of this interesting area beginning with racing on the Town Moor in 1632 and ending with five businesses that trade from it today in 2020. We wish to thank David Wardell for sharing his notes on the history of the grandstand buildings from which Grandstand Road in Gosforth Newcastle takes its name. We have used David’s notes to compile this timeline.
Racing in Newcastle is first recorded in 1632 when the Newcastle Corporation paid £20 for ‘two silver potts’ to be raced for on Killingworth Moor. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to stage races at Shieldfield in the 17th century.
The Town Moor became a racing venue in 1721, and races continued at both sites throughout the 18th century, but the Town Moor attracted more significant events due to its position next to the North Turnpike Road. The last race at Killingworth was in 1794.
The Town Moor racecourse was just under 2 miles long. The track was triangular, largely unfenced and partially flattened by ground improvement works. There were two entrances to the course, wealthy race-goers arriving in carriages paid to enter the grandstand and enclosures from the turnpike at the northern end. Visitors on foot came for free at the southern end onto the racing ground itself.
Facilities were mostly temporary, consisting of marquees and wooden structures until in 1800 a permanent stone grandstand was built at the north end of the racecourse. It was paid for by subscription, allowing subscribers free entry. The grandstand was damaged by fire in 1844 but immediately rebuilt. Other stands and buildings were added during the 19th century. It also served as a hotel.
By the end of the century changes in racing were occurring, with the construction of fully enclosed racecourses where everyone paid an entrance fee. Consequently, the racecourse was moved in 1881 to Gosforth Park (HER ref. 4246), the last race at the Town Moor being in the summer of 1881.
The summer meeting on the Town Moor was replaced in 1882 by a Temperance Festival which still occurs and is known as The Hoppings. Some earthwork traces survive of the racecourse. Following the closure of the course in 1881, the Grandstand building was taken over by the Roman Catholic authorities, and after carrying out extensive alterations was used as an Industrial school for boys from 1882 (The Bishop Chadwick Memorial School).
1898 Map showing Chadwick Memorial School On the site of Kwikfit corner of Kenton Road / Grandstand Road.
It is recorded that early flights and flying experiments were carried out on the Town Moor by Charles W Lutman. Mr Lutman was a highly skilled local model maker. He imported balsa wood and was the early originator of the well-known Model Shop in Newcastle at various sites.
After The Chadwick Memorial School left the Dukesmoor site, the premises were used as a riding school for some time.
From 1910 to 1912 the buildings became part of a public roller skating rink which was housed in a 300 ft large curved roof timber extension to the original grandstand building.
An aircraft factory was established at Duke’s Moor by Armstrong-Whitworth and Sir W G Armstrong in 1913. They received contracts to build aircraft under license from the war office. RAF BE.2a machines (biplanes), followed by BE.2b and later BE.2c machines were built. The factory was established by taking over the building which had served as the grandstand at the old Newcastle racecourse.
The two-story building, built of stone in 1827 at the western edge of the moor had been left behind when the town race meeting was moved from the Newcastle Town Moor to nearby Gosforth Park in 1882.
Compiled with reference to https://www.nelsam.org.uk/NEAR/Airfields/Histories/DukesMoor.htmhttps://www.twsitelines.info/SMR/4022
The Dukes Moor premises were taken over by Lawson’s for a confectionery factory. They appear in telephone directories from 1926 until 1948. (In the tel.directories they are shown as at Grandstand Buildings, Kenton Road).
Earliest Tel Directory entry for Lawson’s 1926….Grandstand Buildings
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 11 October 1926Lawson’s Chocolates are the “draw” to attract people to the Ballroom
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 09 October 1940 Advert for Young Girls for Factory
Lawsons had a confectionery shop in Northumberland Street in the city.
A proposal was made to convert the factory into a massive ice rink, but this never succeeded.
Lawson’s factory moved to Horatio Street in Newcastle in the late ’40s or early ’50s. A warehouse was retained in Gosforth at the rear of the West side of the High Street.
The factory premises at Grandstand Rd. were later developed as H.Robinson’s Grandstand Garage in 1963 till 1965 or later (Motor Engineers- previously at St.Nicholas Avenue – Volkswagen, also H & G Robinson), later Minories Garage. It subsequently became the Dukes Moor Garage and was linked with a Garage of the same name that replaced the Grove Garage on the corner of Roseworth Avenue and Gosforth High Street.
A Kwik Fit auto repair centre now occupies the main part of the site, and the other part remains as The Dukes Moor Garage, a second-hand car dealership. Part of these premises is stone-built and is probably the remains of the original Grandstand building.
THE LAKES DISTILLERY COMPANY LIMITED is found above these premises at 1 st Floor, Grandstand Garage Kenton Road Gosforth Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE3 4NB
MGS INVESTMENT PROPERTIES LIMITED (10635769) 1st Floor Offices, Grandstand Garage, Kenton Road, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE3 4NB
TROUT HOTELS (CUMBRIA) LIMITED (02304994) 1st, Floor Offices Grandstand Garage, Kenton Road Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne And Wear, NE3 4NB
Copyright David Wardell
Discovering Heritage is a team of historical researchers. We are always looking for guest posts for this blog. If you have any memories or research like David that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you.