Richard Welford

Portrait photograph of Richard Welford used to illustrate the detail that Discovering Heritage may find when researching the history of your period home.

This is a photographic portrait of Richard Welford

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Do you ever wonder about the people who lived in your house? Richard Welford is an interesting example of the type of stories we can unearth even when a house has been demolished. If your house has been recently built it may still hold secrets in its foundations! Check our our House History Folios here to see how we can help you discover the history of your house, then read on for the Richard Welford story!

The first and most comprehensive history of Gosforth was published in 1879, namely “A History of The Parish of Gosforth” by Richard Welford. The author was born in Holloway, London, in 1837. His first employment was as a reporter on a local newspaper, the Bucks Advertiser. In 1854 he moved to the north-east of England to take up a position as a reporter on the Newcastle Chronicle. Richard’s first home was in St. Mary’s Place, Newcastle, then Ellison Terrace, Gateshead.

1st edition of A History of the Parish of Gosforth by Richard Welford.
Original copy. A History of the Parish of Gosforth by Richard Welford published 1879
Insert of A History of the Parish of Gosforth showinf newspaper cutting.
A History of the Parish of Gosforth showing insert of newspaper cutting commenting on the etymology of the place names of Gosforth and Jesmond

The Grove Gosforth

When Richard took up his appointment with the Newcastle Chronicle it was a weekly publication but by 1858 it was published daily and Richard was appointed sub editor at the age of 22. In 1861 Richard gave up regular journalistic work and between 1861-1864 became a literary freelancer working out of an office in Pilgrim Street. In 1861 Richard and his wife Minnie were living in George Street in the Westgate area of Newcastle. In 1871 records show the couple and their family had moved to The Grove, Gosforth, by which time Richard was secretary to a shipping company.

Gosforth High Street

By 1881 the family had moved to Thornfield Villa, a property on  Gosforth High Street that has since been demolished but was adjacent to the property now occupied by the Ahad restaurant. Richard appears to have continued to live in this property until his death on 20 June 1919.

This is the second time we have come across this particular ghost property in our research of Gosforth High Street. Twenty years earlier in 1861 Mark Frater was residing in the same house. Mr Fraters’ story was rather tragic and makes interesting reading. We covered it in our blog post Murder, Mayhem and Gosforth. Richard Welford himself commented as follows in his book A History of the Parish of Gosforth.

” Mr Frater was assassinated on the 1st of October, 1861, and Gosforth lost a promising and enterprising resident.”

Richard Welford Archaeologist, Historian and Biographer

Richard Welford was an archaeologist, historian and biographer. His publications include the following

History of The Parish of Gosforth (1879)

Men of Mark Twixt Tyne and Tweed – three volumes of biographies of eminent men  (1895)

Newcastle and Gateshead In the 14th, 15th &16th centuries (1884)

St Nicholas Church and Its Monuments (1880)

Richard Welford Businessman

Richard was also a businessman rising to the position of Managing Director of The Tyne Steam Shipping Company. He was also a director of the Free Trade Wharf Company and heavily involved in civic affairs in Gosforth. He served as a magistrate and sat on South Gosforth Local Board, later Gosforth Urban District Council, becoming its chairman in 1878.

Text of South Gosforth School Board memebers 1879.
Text of Local Board of Health members 1879

The Alston Connection

We had some correspondence with the Alston Moor Historical Society who were able to add more information to the story of Richard Welford. It seems Richard’s son in law John Tweddle can be traced to Alston House (renamed Hillcrest). During the later years of his life Richard purchased Hillcrest after John Tweddle was arrested for fraud.

“I come across Richard Welford J.P. now and again, I must track him down. He had a business partner and they had shares in Alston House, then called the Hillcrest – they might have been the ones to change the name, in fact. His partner went bankrupt.

The connection with Alston House/Hillcrest is that it was his son-in-law who went bankrupt and then was arrested by the police in Alston in 1911 for fraud, that led Mr. Welford to bail him out by buying the Hillcrest. The son-in-law was John Tweddle, ironmonger, of Newcastle, .. – thanks to Alastair Robertson for this addition.

“John must have prospered, as in 1903, he’s described as an iron merchant of Alston and Gosforth, Newcastle. And somewhere along the line, he became heavily involved in politics.” More on the story of John Tweddle can be read with this link

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