Imagine a new Victorian Terrace! A search of the early archive planning register revealed the first planning application for Rothwell Road (originally known as Rothwell Terrace) was submitted in March 1896. The submission signalled a flurry of building development in the area.
Rothwell Road, is a street of late nineteenth-century red-brick terraced houses. The houses have sandstone lintels, sills, bay windows and a sandstone string course. Originally wooden Victorian porches covered the entrances, some still remain. Can you visualise how these houses would have looked with their new red brick and glowing sandstone exteriors? Not to mention the highly decorative wooden porches. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to be moving to a house on this street? Lets take a look at the wider aspect at that time so you can picture the road as it might have been for the first residents.
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A New Victorian Terrace
For the first residents of Rothwell Road, the general aspect of the road was very different from that of today. At one end of the street lay the disused Coxlodge waggonway which until 1894 carried coal from the Coxlodge pits to Wallsend. The course of the waggonway here was the same as the direction Christon Road takes today. Historically it crossed the Ouseburn at South Gosforth over a large wooden trestle bridge.
At the other end of the road open fields lay towards Gosforth High Street, Saint Charles Church and Gosforth Central Park were yet to be built. Although houses and pubs were established along the Great North Road, the land behind them was still open fields.
St Charles R C Church
By 1911 St Charles Church had been built. The 1919 edition OS map shows Rothwell Road lying between St Charles RC church and the disused colliery waggonway. Development of the land at this time is ongoing. Some of the terraced streets are built, however, the map shows large areas of empty plots in the local vicinity.
In 1932 Gosforth Central Park was opened adding an outdoor recreational area for Gosforth residents another being the County Cricket ground situated behind the County Hotel.
The War Years
In September 1939 The Morpeth Herald mentioned the plight of two residents of Rothwell Road. Mrs Mamie Stevenson had put brown paper over her windows as a blackout precaution. Unfortunately this was not effective at blocking the light shining from inside the house. Mamie was fined 10/- as a result of the ARP warden spotting the light.
In a similar incident, local newsagent Thomas Punshon, was also fined 10/- for allowing light to shine from an upstairs window. In his defence, he stated that blue curtains were drawn over the window, but they were too thin. T Punshon newsagent went on to have a presence on Gosforth High Street for many years under different owners. The first shop was situated at 207 which is now the Gosforth Flame. Another three shops were situated on and around Gosforth High Street. More information on this is available on our website at Punshon Newsagent.
The blackout began in Britain on 1st September 1939, two days before the outbreak of the second world war. During the war, before sunset, everyone had to cover their windows and doors with heavy blackout curtains, cardboard or paint. This was to prevent even the tiniest glimmer of light escaping to offer a signal to enemy aircraft during bombing raids. Street lights were switched off or dimmed and traffic lights and vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect light downward.
A Desirable Terrace House
A newspaper account of 3 May 1945 records an upcoming sale of a Rothwell Road property as – A DESIREABLE TERRACE HOUSE . By this time houses on this street had seen a generation of residents come and go. The war years had marked their lives forever. Families had grown up, houses had been sold, people had moved on and other people had moved in.
Gosforth developed further after the war years and became more like the place we know today. Gosforth High Street, filled with independent shops and thrived. Large villa residences attracted successful businessmen who worked in Newcastle. We have documented the lives of some of them in our house histories, others are waiting to be discovered.
Today these houses are over one hundred years old. And like all old houses they are a product of every person who has lived in them. Time has trampled through them without regard. But the people who made these houses their homes have all left a trail through he archives.
Who Lived In Your House?
Through getting better acquainted with past occupants you can more fully appreciate the character and charm of your older house. So by acknowledging the past, an old house owner can understand the present and give meaning to the future. You will then find yourself in the best position to establish your place in the shaping and renovation of your amazing old property.
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