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I was a little confused as to your above statement so may I kindly and politely and hopefully unpatronisingly point to the spelling of Vicus for a roman settlement:)

It is interesting to speculate the size of Pons Aelius. To my knowledge they have only recovered civilian Roman remains at Hanover Square? Assuming the Wall followed Westgate Road then Low Bridge/Cathedral steps to Sallyport it doesn't leave too much space for a settlement outside of the fort, assuming pandon and lort burn areas were too marshy or sandy to live on.

I doubt Monkchester would have approached anywhere near the size of Pons Aelius until it became Newcastle, or at least the founding of Durham as the centre of the region, pushing the emphasis of the region away from Dere Street spine and Hexham made the most easterly crossing of the Tyne more important.
Amended accordingly, too much reliance on spell checkers, but hey ho, its in there now.

The only reason for the VICUS being known about in the Hanover Square area is purely down to the fact that in modern times it has been the only part of Newcastle adjacent to the Roman fort which has been available for an archaeological dig.

As ever a Tardis would certainly be a welcomed tool in this type of discussion.

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On This Day In History - 30th April 1860

This piece comes from Thomas Fordyce's Local Records for this day in history, 30th April 1860:

Died, at his residence in Cumberland Row, Newcastle, aged 70, Thomas Bell, esq., land valuer and surveyor.

In his profession Mr. Bell was a man of conspicuous ability, and his experience and connections were so considerable that the greater portion of the land in the northern counties had passed under his professional notice.

On the death of his father he was appointed one of the surveyors of the Duke of Northumberland. He was also commissioner, valuer, or surveyor on the division of most of the common lands in the district that have been enclosed; and was arbitrator for the settlement of the purchase money of the land abstracted by the formation of various railways in the northern districts during the last half century.

Although Mr. Bell has not left behind him any published works, his own library was greatly enriched by his MS. genealogical and antiquarian compositions. He likewise greatly assisted his late friend and associate-the Rev. John Hodgson-in his "History of Northumberland." A collector from his youth, Mr. Bell brought together one of the largest and most valuable collections of books, papers, and engravings ever formed in the North of England. He was one of the founders of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, and at the time of his death one of the council of that society.

The rise and progress of the Literary and Philosophical Society was also in part indebted to his exertions, and his membership continued to his death.

With many of the charitable and religious associations of the district Mr. Bell was officially connected, and otherwise throughout his long life he pursued an even and consistent course as an honourable man and as a worthy and highly-respected citizen.

Newcastle Library mentions Thomas Bell as part of the Seymour Bell "Special Collection" :

"This is part of a collection compiled by the Bell family of Newcastle and Gateshead during their work as booksellers and land surveyors. Material collected by the family is scattered amongst the major libraries and record offices of the North East. This collection consists of 25 portfolios containing plans, inventories of properties, valuations, correspondence, surveys and auctioneers' notices relating to estates in Newcastle and Northumberland from the late 18th century to the early 20th century."

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On This Day In History - 1st May 1836

Here is a piece from Thomas Fordyce for this day in history, 1st May 1836 which mentions a thoroughfare in Newcastle that doesn't usually attract much in the way of attention.

The handsome and conveniently situated chapel belonging to the Methodist New Connexion, in Hood Street, Newcastle, was opened for divine service, when sermons were preached on that and the following day, during which was collected the sum of £166.

METHODIST NEW CONNECTION, a Protestant Nonconformist Church, formed in 1797 by secession from the Wesleyan Methodists, and merged in 1907 into the United Methodist Church (q.v.). The secession was led by Alexander Kilham (q.v.) and resulted from a dispute regarding the position and rights of the laity, Kilham and his party desiring more power for the members of the Church and less for the ministers. In its conferences ministers and laymen were of equal number, the laymen being - chosen by the circuits and in some cases by guardian representatives elected for life by conference. Otherwise the doctrines and order of the Connection were the same as those of the Wesleyans. At the time of the union with the Bible Christians and the United Methodist Free Church in 1907 the Methodist New Connection had some 250 ministers and 45,000 members.

By the way, Hood Street is named after John Lionel Hood who was Newcastle's Mayor from 1834 to 1835. The street was one of many as part of the new development by Richard Grainger.

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Discussion Starter #5,287
I always recommend Timmonet for historic photographs of Newcastle. Tim PJ really has a good archive.

Yes, that Website was probably the VERY FIRST one that I listed in "Section 09" of the Forum Websites Listing Thread, many years ago . . .

Newcastle Area Websites Listing.
Listed by Category . . .

See the "Twenty Categories" (Sections) below.

When the 'Newcastle Metro ('Metropolitan') Area Forum' started in October 2009, it occurred to me that it would be useful if we had one dedicated thread where we could LIST ALL IN ONE PLACE, all the various websites where we can go to get useful development, governmental, cultural, architectural, construction, transport, photographic, local history (etc) information.

So, I have LISTED all the websites (many contributed by Forum Members) in numbered sections for their appropriate category, below.

NB - All of the 'Local Interest' Websites (from all sections) are listed AGAIN in the "catch-all" section - Section 09 : Local Interest Websites.

Categories . . .

01 - ARCHITECTS: with 'Newcastle Area' Projects and/or Architects based in the Newcastle Area

02 - ARCHITECTURE & BUILDINGS : Organisations etc

03 - DEVELOPERS: with 'Newcastle Area' Projects

04 - GOVERNMENT: National, Regional & Local Authority (and 'related' organisations) in, for, and around Newcastle

05 - Local Authority PLANNING PORTALS / PLANNING DEPARTMENTS : throughout the Region

06 - HOSPITALS: Major North East Regional Hospitals (Medical Centres of Excellence)

07 - TOURISM: Publicity & Visitors Guides, Newcastle and N E Region

08 - CULTURE: Museums/Galleries & Events etc


10 - WEBCAMS: Live Webcams around the area

11 - RESEARCH: Major 'Education & Research' establishments

12 - THEATRES: in Newcastle

13 - MUSIC: Live Music Venues in Newcastle

14 - CINEMAS: in Newcastle Area

15 - OUTSIDE NEWCASTLE: Theatres, Concert & Entertainment Venues

16 - SPORT: Major Sporting Clubs and Venues

17 - TRANSPORT: in the Newcastle Area

18 - SHOPPING/RETAIL: in Newcastle (Major Shopping Centre Websites etc)

19 - MEDIA: Newcastle & Regional Media Organisations

20 - MISCELLANEOUS RELEVANT WEBSITES: Not in any of the above 'Local Categories'

Over time, I am sure there will be plenty of "updates, additions and corrections" required to our list of Websites.

If anyone has any amendments, or knows of any other Websites they think should be included in our listing, or can suggest any changes to the 'Categories' (etc) please let me know.

REMEMBER - Please notify me of all updates, amendments and additions to this thread, via the Forum ADMIN Thread, and I will pick them up from there.

Please do NOT post on this thread.



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Elswick Gas Holder

Call for IMAGES of the 'Elswick Gas Holder' in Newcastle, ahead of its planned dismantling
BBC Newcastle, Tyne & Wear News, 18th April 2015

A photo (above) of St Mark's Gas Holder, in Hull

Gas holders are becoming increasingly redundant and so images of old gas holders that are soon to be taken down in the Elswick area of Newcastle are being sought. Work will begin later this month to dismantle the now defunct structures in Skinnerburn Road and Tyneside Road, Elswick, Northern Gas Networks said.

Northern Gas Networks is now asking for photographs documenting the site, so that their memory can be preserved for generations to come.

Built in 1955 and in 1960, the steel gas holders used to help supply power to 4,000 homes a day. It will take six months to take them down. Tim Harwood, spokesman for North Gas Networks, said: "The decision has been made to dismantle the Elswick Gas Holders as they no longer serve a purpose in maintaining gas supplies to the local area.

Read More -
Couple of shots of the Gas Holder at Elswick - this is located between Calders Yard and the former Heliport site. Viewed from Gateshead 12th May 2014:

Images hosted on Banks and Skinnerburn

This image from the Tyne & Wear Museums Flickr Collection shows the gas holders - bottom of the shot.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Aerial view of the Elswick Works

Aerial view of the Elswick Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, April 1962 (TWAM ref. DT.TUR/2/28699A).

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On This Day In History - 5th May 1820

John Sykes gives this report in his Local Records for this day in history 5th May 1820.

The first stone of a new chapel in the Wesleyan Methodist connection, was laid in Northumberland-street, Newcastle.

The Reverend Edmund Grindrod delivered a short address to a respectable audience. He stated, that the first stone of the contiguous chapel (Orphan House), for which this was intended as an enlarged substitute, was laid by the Rev. John Wesley, on the 20th of December, 1742, and that for many years past it had been much too small to accommodate the stated hearers.

Friday, February 23rd, 1821, this elegant chapel was first opened for divine worship, when eloquent and powerful sermons were preached by the Rev. Messrs. Newton, Atherton, and Wood, to crowded audiences. Very neat houses were soon after built on each aide of the opening which leads from Northumberland-street to the chapel, and which is called Brunswick Place.

The Church has a web site which includes a section ion its history @

A Grade II Listed building, this is the protection text courtesy of the British Listed Buildings web site @

Description: Brunswick Methodist Chapel

Grade: II
Date Listed: 30 March 1987
English Heritage Building ID: 304440

OS Grid Reference: NZ2482764497
OS Grid Coordinates: 424827, 564497
Latitude/Longitude: 54.9745, -1.6137

Location: Eldon Lane, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7AT

Locality: Newcastle upon Tyne
County: Newcastle upon Tyne
Country: England
Postcode: NE1 7AT


16/135 and 20/135 Brunswick Methodist


Methodist chapel. Dated 1820 in pediment.

Brick with ashlar dressings; Welsh slate roof with stone gable copings. 2-storey, 5-bay pedimented east front, the right bay obscured by buildings.

Steps up to Tuscan porch with prominent cornice which contains steps up to central 6-panelled double door, with radiating glazing bars to fanlight. Round-headed windows, most with stone sills, in arched recesses have sill band to upper windows.

Eaves level band; 3 rectangular stone surrounds to ventilators, the central blind, in projecting bays under pediment; pediment continuous with cornice partly over side bays with ramped coping to meet it. Plainer door and windows in 6-bay left return to Northumberland Court, the last 3 bays pedimented.

Interior: ground floor extensively altered c.1983 and first floor inserted; upper part; now chapel, has panelled gallery and pews; plaster walls and delicate stucco ceiling decoration; Corinthian pilasters frame west apse containing wide panelled pulpit.

Listing NGR: NZ2482764497

According to Pevsner the architect may have been W. Sherwood.

Images hosted on Methodist Church

Previous discussions on Brunswick Church @
Brunswick Methodist Chapel - Central Newcastle
1960s plans for a 'Methodist Cathedral' to replace Brunswick Methodist Chapel (Newcastle as it might have been)
The "sign on the wall" (of Brunswick Methodist Chapel) - A 'Quiz Question' on our General Knowledge Thread

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On This Day In History - 10th May 1856

This piece from Thomas Fordyce in his Local Records for this day in history 10th May 1856.

Whilst some workmen were removing the extensive premises at the Head of the Side, Newcastle, previously occupied for more than a century by Mr. Dickinson, tobacconist, in order to make way for the High Level Bridge approaches, they discovered the remains of an ancient building of some pretensions, which had originally stood upon the site.

A doorway and two windows, probably of about the fourteenth century, were laid bare, as well as the original oaken roof of a large apartment. The building had been one of very great extent, and had apparently undergone extensive alterations after the Reformation, as portions of windows in Tudor style were distinguishable.

No record of the original purposes of the building could be discovered, but it is very probable they were of a monastic character.

About the same time and place, two very large antlers were found, about sixteen feet below the surface.

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On This Day In History - 11th May 1747

John Sykes gives us this report from his Local Records for this day in history, 11th May 1747:

As the Newcastle Merchant, Captain Scourfield, was coming up the river Tyne, to her moorings at the high crane, Newcastle, there happened to be a two-pound ball in one of her guns, unknown to the captain or any of the crew, so that upon her firing, as was usual when ships came up river, the ball was shot out, but happily did no further mischief than penetrating eight inches into a stone in the Exchange, and rebounding back upon the Quay.

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On This Day In History - 12th May 2006

It was Black and White Day in Newcastle on this day in history 12th May 2006- this was an opportunity for folk to show appreciation of the services that Alan Shearer has given to the Club. The idea being that folk would dress in NUFC shirts and that business's would make an effort to dress up their premises in black and white colours.

Put off by the rain , I didn't venture up to the Town to take photographs but a friend of mine, sent me some that he had taken:

Images hosted on and White Day

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Watch rare film footage of Newcastle captured during World War II

Courtesy of the Chronicle Live, copyright NCJMedia Ltd @
Watch rare film footage of Newcastle captured during World War II
19:00, 13 May 2015 By David Morton

A still image from the film 'North at War - ARP Newcastle', provided by the North East Film Archive

We've just marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

VE Day was a momentous occasion when the nation - and the region - celebrated the hard-fought victory over Nazi Germany with one almighty party. Seven decades later, perhaps it’s difficult for those of us who weren’t alive during the war to imagine what day-to-day life might have been like on the home front.

Fascinating footage from the North East Film Archive (NEFA) throws light on those difficult times. ‘North at War - ARP Newcastle’, is one of a number of wartime films in NEFA’s vast collection. The footage is the latest instalment of a series of clips provided by the archive.

Based at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, NEFA is the moving image archive for the North East of England. In recent weeks, we’ve enjoyed viewing rare film footage from the 1913 Tyne-Wear derby, a 1965 River Tyne ferry trip, Newcastle city centre in 1968, and the 1969 launch of the Esso Northumbria.

‘North at War - ARP Newcastle’ is an amateur film showing various wartime training exercises taking place around Newcastle and other locations.

Read more and see video @

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P.C. Donald Bain

This tragic event is recorded in Thomas Fordyce's Local Records for this day in history, 17th December 1867 and records the death of amongst others John Mawson, of Mawson and Swan fame. Mawson was married to his Sir Joseph Swan's (his partner in the business) sister, Elizabeth.

John Mawson is buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery along with other members
of his family - see photograph @

There is also a photograph of John Mawson @

This is how Fordyce recorded the day:

A frightful and lamentable accident took place on the Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne, whereby eight persons lost their lives, viz:— Mr. John Mawson, Sheriff of the town; Mr. Thomas Bryson, Town Surveyor; P.C. Donald Bain; James Shotton, employed by Mr. Turnbull, White Swan Yard; Thomas Appleby, son of Mr. Appleby, Carliol Street, employed at Mr. Mr. George Hudson's, provision merchant, Cloth Market; George Smith Stonehouse, a youth, son of Mr. Christopher Stonehouse, clock maker, Bath Row; Samuel Bell Wadley, son of Mr. Charles Wadley, hat manufacturer, Heywood's Court, and residing at 47, Villa Place; a man, aged about 40, and about 5 feet 6 inches in height, name unknown.

A coroner's inquest was held on the body of Mr. Mawson, the sheriff; he having had the principal directions in the proceedings. From the evidence brought out at the inquest, it appeared that a considerable quantity of a very dangerous material, which, on examination, proved to be nitro glycerine (for blasting purposes in mines, etc.), was stored in a cellar at the White Swan Yard, Cloth Market. On examining the cellar, the police found eight tins. After conferring with the magistrates and Town Clerk, it was ordered to be removed out of the town or destroyed.

Not being able to induce the Railway Company to carry it, it was decided to destroy it by removing it to the Town Moor, and emptying it into the earth at a part of the Moor where there was a subsidence in the ground, caused by the workings of the Spital Tongues Colliery. The Sheriff and Mr. Bryson determined to accompany the material to its destination, and see it destroyed.

When on their way to the Moor, Mr. Mawson thought it desirable to examine one or two of the cases, for the purpose of ascertaining what kind of instruments would be required for opening them. While this was being done a number of people congregated round the cart which was conveying the material, and afterwards accompanied it to the Moor. On arriving at the spot on the Moor, which is a little to the West of the Cholera Hospital, there were eight canisters in baskets, and one without a covering of that kind, taken from the cart and placed upon the turf; and, by direction of the Town Surveyor and the Sheriff, the cartman, the labourer, Sub Inspector Wallace, and P.C. 84 A. Donald Bain (who had also been sent on this duty), proceeded to draw the corks. Mr. Bryson drew several of the corks, a pricker being used for the purpose.

They emptied the liquid of the whole nine into the subsidence of the earth, and after this was done they found that three of the canisters still felt weighty. The Sheriff thereupon ordered the men to take off the ends, which was done by means of a shovel, when it was found that a portion of the contents had crystallised, and were adhering to the tin. The Sheriff expressed a desire to obtain a piece of the crystallised material, and asked for a piece of paper, but what followed is not known. He said, however, "Bring them away and we will bury them on the other hill," referring to a hill a little further from where they put the liquid material. He also gave directions to Sub-Inspector Wallace to place some soil over the spot into which they had poured the liquid. Wallace immediately engaged himself in this occupation, and Bain, Shotton, Appleby, the Sheriff and the TownSurveyor, went away to the hill with the three canisters containing the crystallised nitro-glycerine, for the purpose of burying it.

What occurred here is unknown, and probably never will be. The Sub-Inspector had got his task completed, and was about leaving to join the others, when a dreadful explosion took place. Wallace felt the earth shake, and at the same time saw fragments of clothing and other articles flying high up in the air. Though so near to the scene of the explosion, he was happily uninjured himself, his escape being accounted for by the fact that the bank was between him and the explosion. He immediately proceeded to the spot, and, on the west side of the hill, where the explosion took place, found a portion of the body of P.C. Bain dreadfully mutilated and shattered — the other portions of the body, horrible to relate, being blown away. On the South side of the hill was also a body frightfully mutilated: this was the body of the cartman, Thomas Appleby; and, near at hand, was the body of Shotton, the labourer, also mutilated. In a hole of the ground, immediately above, was a boy alive, but greatly injured: this was the son of Mr. Wadley, living in Villa Place. The body of another man, unknown, was also found. Mr. Bryson, severely injured, was lying on the side of the bank to the eastward; and immediately on the top of the bank was Mr. Mawson, who was also much injured.

Wallace raised Mr. Bryson, but he was unable to speak. Mr. Mawson was able to raise himself up, and sat upon the grass. Wallace, seeing nothing could be done by himself to aid the unfortunate sufferers, promptly got into the cab which had brought Mr. Mawson and Mr. Bryson up, and which was waiting some distance off, and drove into the town in order to procure medical aid.

Roxburgh, the cabman, when left by Mr. Mawson and Mr. Bryson, was told to remain a few minutes. After waiting for a time, his horses began to get cold and weary, and he got upon the box and drove them about a little. His attention was thus drawn away from what was going on amongst the others. In a short time, however, the explosion took place. The force of it blew him off his seat on to the horses, and also broke the windows of the cab, though he was at least one hundred yards from the spot. On looking round, he saw clothes and one of the canisters flying in the air. He drove Sub-Inspector Wallace rapidly down into the town, and Wallace gave information of the occurrence to Mr. Joseph Fife and Dr. Heath, who immediately proceeded to the scene of the disaster.

It was singularly fortunate that, at the moment of the catastrophe, Mr. Walpole, one of the resident surgeons at the Infirmary, was walking upon the Moor, at no great distance from where the explosion took place. Dust, stones, fragments of clothing, and other things suddenly surrounded him. Three hundred yards or so from the spot where the proceedings had been going on, he found the foot of a human being—presumably that of poor Bain; and shreds of clothing, human flesh, and other matter lay scattered about. Mr. Walpole hurried forward, and discovered Mr. Bryson — a ghastly spectacle—lying in one of the excavations. After those about had recovered their senses, it was proposed that, as Mr. Bryson to all appearance was dead, it would be as well to leave him in the adjoining hospital. Mr. Walpole, however, persevered, administered stimulants, and upon his suggestion, the cart which had brought the destructive material to the ground was made a means of conveying those injured to the Infirmary. They were Mr. Bryson, Town Surveyor; Mr. Mawson, the sheriff of Newcastle; and Samuel Wadley, a boy who had been a spectator. The boy Wadley died about two hours after being admitted into the Infirmary. Mr. Mawson and Mr. Bryson both died the following night.

The jury returned the following verdict:— "That death has been caused by the explosion of nitro-glycerine accidentally; and the jury are unanimously of opinion that the law in reference to the storing of nitro-glycerine has been grossly violated in this case."

The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend carried the following article in its April 1882 edition:

"Twenty years ago, a terrible accident occurred on the Town Moor, resulting in the deaths of eight persons, two of them esteemed and prominent citizens of Newcastle. Not since the Gateshead explosion had anything happened which startled and shocked the town so much as this singular and remarkable fatality. The story will not take long in the telling.

In December, 1867, the attention of the police was called to the fact that a quantity of explosive material was stored in a cellar in the White Hart Yard, Newcastle. On examination this proved to be nitro-glycerine, a compound produced by the action of a mixture of strong nitric and sulphuric acids on glycerine at low temperatures. The material was contained in nine large tins or canisters, each holding 241bs.; and the police were told that it was intended for blasting purposes in mines and quarries, and for this purpose it was doubtless useful, as exposure to flame did not cause it to explode, though explosion instantly followed a strong blow or concussion. The police-superintendent having conferred with the authorities, an order was given that the nitro-glycerine should be at once removed from the town or destroyed. The railway company, however, would have nothing to do with it, and it was ultimately resolved that it should be taken to the Moor, and there poured into the depressions caused by the workings of the Spital Tongues Colliery. The Sheriff of Newcastle, Mr. John Mawson, and the Town Surveyor, Mr Thomas Bryson, determined to accompany the material to its destination.

Accordingly on the 17th December, 1867, Thomas Appleby, cartman, a labourer named James Shotton, Constable Donald Bain, and Sub-Inspector Wallace, set out with the canisters in a cart, Messrs. Mawson and Bryson following in a cab.

When the party reached the Town Moor, the tins were taken out of the cart, and the contents of some of them poured into the depressions mentioned, which were situated at no great distance from the Grand Stand, and close to a wooden building that had been erected for use as a temporary hospital in the event of a visit of cholera.

It was then found that a portion of the nitro-glycerine in three of the canisters had crystallised and was adhering to the sides. Mr Mawson expressed a wish to have a sample of the compound to take away for further examination. A piece of the crystal was accordingly broken off, and Mr Mawson put it into the pocket of his overcoat. He then said to the men, "Bring these three tins away, and we will bury them under the other hill"—referring to a part of the Moor distant a few yards away. Mr. Mawson, Mr. Bryson, the policeman Bain, and Appleby and Shotton then went over to the hill indicated, leaving Sub-Inspector Wallace engaged in covering up the liquid compound with soil.

What followed after this will never be rightly known. Just as Mr. Wallace had finished his task, and was about to join the others, a terrible explosion occurred. Fragments of clothing and human remains were sent flying high into the air. Though dreadfully startled and alarmed, Wallace was uninjured, having been sheltered by a bank which lay between him and his unfortunate companions. On hurrying to the scene, the first thing he found was the mutilated and shattered remains of poor Bain, portions of the body having been actually blown away. He next came to the cartman, Appleby, fearfully disfigured and lifeless; and near to him was the mutilated body of the labourer, Shotton, likewise dead. In a hole of the ground above was found a boy, named Wadley, who, as well us another lad named Stonehouse, had followed the cart to the Moor from curiosity. Close to this poor lad was found the body of a man, apparently about forty, whose name was unknown, and who had also followed the cart to the Moor. Lying on the side of the bank was Mr. Bryson, and on the top of the same place was Mr. Mawson, both gentlemen being alive, but fearfully injured.

Mr. Wallace hurried with all speed into the town, where he informed Dr. Fife and Dr. Heath of the terrible affair. These two gentlemen set out at once for the scene of the accident.

It happened that, just as the explosion occurred, a young surgeon named Walpole was walking on the Moor only a short distance from the spot. Dust, stones, fragments of clothing, &c, suddenly fell all around him. About three hundred yards from where the catastrophe had occurred, he found the foot of a human being, supposed to be that of poor Bain. Hurrying forward, Dr. Walpole next discovered Mr. Bryson in on of the excavations, and to all appearance dead. Stimulants having been administered, however, he began to show some signs of life. Dr. Walpole then placed Mr Mawson, Mr. Bryson, and the boy Wadley in the cart which had brought the terrible explosive to the ground and they were conveyed to the Infirmary. Two hours after his admission, the boy succumbed; and at half-past one o'clock next morning Mr. Bryson died, Mr. Mawson surviving him an hour and twenty minutes.

It is really impossible to adequately describe the excitement and consternation which this awful accident caused in Newcastle. Mingled with the sorrow and sympathy felt for the victims there was a great amount of indignation against those who had stored the fatal agent in the very centre of a large town. A Mr. Spark, an auctioneer, commission agent, &c, had settled in the town a few months before, and had taken an agency for nitro glycerine from a Mr. Burrell, who had resigned it. Some little time before, Burrell had prevailed upon the Ostler of the White Hart Inn to allow him to store several tins of the explosive in the cellars of that hostelry. This fact coming to the knowledge of the police, they seized the tins, with the terrible result that we have recounted. The day after the explosion Mr. Spark presented himself before the magistrates in order to explain his possession of the material. Little blame seems really to have attached to him, since at the time of the occurrence he was not being regularly appointed agent, and was still negotiating with the firm to which the nitrglycerin belonged.

A great deal of evidence was given at the inquest which was subsequently held, and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death." In all eight persons perished in the explosion—the Sheriff, the Town Surveyor, P.O. Bain, Thomas Appleby, James Shotton, the boys Stanley Wadley and James Stonehouse, and a man whose name was never ascertained.

The terrible nature of the accident was discussed all over the country. It was about the time of the Clerkenwell outrage, and, of course, till the full particulars were explained, the Fenians were suspected of causing the calamity.

John Mawson, a native of Penrith, was apprenticed to a chemist and druggist in Sunderland. When he had finished his apprenticeship, he began business on his own account in that borough, but was not successful. He shortly afterwards removed to Newcastle, where he opened a shop, and here he also failed. This failure, however, was due to his having stood bond to a large amount friend, who left Mr. Mawson to pay the money. Undaunted, he tried business once more, this time Mosley Street, where he remained till his death, here he was more fortunate, and began to make fight against his debts, having resolved to pay everybody to last farthing. He stoutly refused to take "the benefit of the Act," and, like most men who stick to good resolution, he ultimately achieved his purpose. And he deserved to succeed, for he worked with great energy and determination. His first successful venture the introduction into Newcastle of Rothwell's Fire Fuel which he afterwards got a patent to manufacture. With this material he did a very large trade. His next venture was in German yeast, which was first imported into the North of England by Mr. Mawson. The writer remembers the crowds of people who used to go to his shop for this indispensable commodity, as that was the only place in the town where it could then be purchased. Mr. Mawson, in partnership with his relative, Mr Joseph Wilson wan, famous a few years later for the invention of the electric appliance known as the Swan Lamp, produced a series of very great improvements in photography. Now that the tide had turned, Mr. Mawson saw his way to the great object he had always held in view—the discharge of every farthing of his debts. Such were the honour and probity of the man that he seemed to work for this sole object. But he had his moments of despair. "I shall be eighty before I can pay all I owe," he once said to an old friend. Before he was forty, however, he had succeeded in his laudable purpose. A splendid bookcase, filled with valuable books, was presented to him on the occasion by his gratified creditors. This took place, we believe, in 1849. Thereafter, till his sad and tragical death in 1867, Mr. Mawson's career was one of unbroken prosperity and public usefulness. Mr Mawson was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united in 1838, was Miss Jane Cameron, of Sunderland. This lady, after a long and severe illness, died in 1844. She was a singularly amiable and exemplary woman; and two years after her death, Mr. Brown, of Barnard Castle, and the well-known Dr. F. R. Lees, compiled from her diary and correspondence a Memoir of Mrs. Jane Mawson." Some years after her untimely death, Mr. Mawson married the niece of his first wife, and the sister of his partner, Mr Swan. Of this marriage there was a family of five or six children.

Elected to the Newcastle Town Council for West All Saints' Ward in 1858, Mr. Mawson was allowed on all hands to be a faithful and zealous representative. It was during his absence on the Continent that he was elected to the office of Sheriff, on the 9th of November preceding his death.

As a member of the Peace Society, he attended several of the international conferences which were held from time to time in different parts of Europe. But perhaps, after all, it was as the friend of the slave that he was best known. He was for many years the earnest and willing helper of George Thompson, William Lloyd Garrison, William Wells Brown, and other eloquent advocates of Negro redemption. During the terrible war between the Northern and Southern States, when the slaveholders found so many friends in England, and even great statesmen prophesied the ultimate success of the South, John Mawson remained a constant adherent of the Northern cause, and never wavered in the opinion that slavery would be blotted out for ever. When the war was at length at an end, his life-long friend, Mr. Garrison, came to Newcastle, where he was entertained at a soiree in the Assembly Rooms.

“A summary, as it were, of the deceased gentleman's many good qualities :—"Honest in business, intelligent as a politician, earnest in public matters, faithful at all times to his convictions, Mr. Mawson was certainly one of the most esteemed citizens of Newcastle. The integrity of his conduct, the excellence of his public, the spotless purity of his private, life, and the tragic manner of his death, all conspire to claim for John Mawson a distinguished place in the catalogue of Newcastle worthies."

Mr, Bryson was a native of Tweedmouth, and was apprenticed as a stonemason in that town. While still a very young man, he left the little Border town, and was employed for some time at Howick Hall, the seat of Earl Grey. Subsequently he was engaged by Mr.-Richard Grainger, who was then carrying out his great improvements in Newcastle. Mr. Bryson showing great practical ability, Mr. Grainger appointed him to a place Wallace. This position he occupied until 1854 important changes were made in the duties officials. Mr. Wallace was appointed Corporation Property Surveyor, and Mr. Bryson was promoted position of Town Surveyor. In the performance duties he displayed the most zealous care for the interests of the town. Many incidents which occurred during useful life illustrate his kind and benevolent disposition Mr. Bryson was interred in Jesmond Old Cemetery December 21, 1867. A very large number of friends as well as members of the Council and other influential inhabitants followed his remains to the grave. Rutherford (with whose congregation the deceased gentleman had been connected for many years) conducted the service. Mr. Bryson was 62 years of age the time of his untoward death.”
This is the resting place of P.C. Donald Bain who was killed in the Town Moor explosion, the grave is in St Andrews Cemetery, Jesmond, photographed 12th May 2015:

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Erected by the Newcastle upon Tyne Police in memory of Donald Bain, Police Constable aged 41 years who was killed by an explosion of nitro glycerine on the town moor 17th December 1867 while in the execution of his duty. In the midst of life we are in death. Also of William Bain son of the above who died at Melbourne, Austrialia April 1st 1902 aged 37 years. Also Jane Isabella Bain beloved wife of the above who died September 7th 1919 aged 83 years

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So effectively nitro in the Old George. I am sure deeply unfunny at the time but at this distance sounds more like a Keystone cops script...a journey over lovely bumpy cobbles [ok setts] to the Town Moor, then...

The Sheriff thereupon ordered the men to take off the ends, which was done by means of a shovel,
Wonder what it was doing in the cellars in the first place

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So effectively nitro in the Old George. I am sure deeply unfunny at the time but at this distance sounds more like a Keystone cops script...a journey over lovely bumpy cobbles [ok setts] to the Town Moor, then...

Wonder what it was doing in the cellars in the first place
Not in Old George Yard - a little lower down the bank at White Swan Yard, although some report it as being in the White Hart Yard.

There is a suggestion in some of the reports etc that I've read that the Irish Republican Army were blamed for the presence of the explosives. However there was a lot of industrial activity on the eastern side of the Cloth Market including business' using chemicals.

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On This Day In History - 15th May 1848

I wonder if Newcastle was a magnet for eccentrics during the 19th Century, we certainly appear to have had our fair share as this description from Thomas Fordyce in his Local Records for this day in history, 15th May 1848 demonstrates:

Died, in the Infirmary, Newcastle, aged 54, John Dennis, alias" Radical Jack."

The early history of this eccentric individual is not known, but there is little doubt but that he belonged to a family of respectability, and that he had a University education.

He was well known in the neighbourhood as a hawker of cheap publications, and his ready wit, stentorian voice, and great command of language, made him an especial favourite with the multitude.

For many years he hardly ever appeared to be sober, but by the persuasion of some who belonged to the teetotal society he was induced to take the pledge. Whether he kept his vow to the last is difficult to say; but he certainly was apparently true to his engagement for a long time after he had entered into-it, and, during this period, he acquired a cleanly and decent appearance, which was in striking contrast with his former aspect.

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T Dan Smith Anniversary

One anniversary that seems to have slipped us by is the 100th anniversary of the birth in Wallsend of T Dan Smith on 11th May 1915.

Much discussed on the forum in the past as :


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On This Day In Hiostory - 18th May 1835

This was the news 180 years ago when Thomas Fordyce made this reference in his Local Records for this day in history, 18th May 1835:

The service connected with laying the foundation-stone of the Providence Chapel, Marlborough Crescent, Newcastle, was attended to on this day, when a suitable address was delivered on the occasion by Mr. John Poynder, of Lockwood, Yorkshire.

This chapel was opened on the 23rd of September following.

This notice in the London Gazette shows the chapel being given permission in law to marry folk.

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Summerhill Conservation Area, Newcastle - information and pictures 17/05/15 Part 1 of a few

Follow up to comments made in posts over on the City Centre Residential thread after the "grey box" on the conversion works being carried out to 269 - 271 Westgate Road became apparent - see post

Summerhill Conservation Area

Well covered in a SUMMERHILL CONSERVATION AREA CHARACTER STATEMENT document initially produced by Newcastle Council in 2001,

and Information (some of it the same as in the NCC document) also on The Friends of Summerhill website,

From that website, some information on the history of the area:-


Summerhill Square is a hidden gem in Newcastle upon Tyne - a tranquil oasis just minutes away from Central Station, St. James’s Park and the busy central shopping areas of the city. Our aim is to make Summerhill an even better place to live, work and visit.

Extract from

As Newcastle grew radically from the 1760s, the Westgate Township was one of the first areas to absorb expansion outside the town walls. The wealthy moved from the swarming riverside to new high-class areas up-wind of the furnaces and factories (eg. Charlotte Square). Summerhill soon became a sought-after place. Foster “Some notes on house building in Newcastle upon Tyne” (1981) gives a full account of the development sequence of the core area, broadly as follows:

Those along Westgate Hill were built in the 1810s by local builder Riddell Robson.

John Dobson is believed to have had a hand in the design of Greenfield Place, ostensibly built by R Maving by 1823.

Bragg’s son-in-law, Jonathan Priestman, continued to build, but covenants prevented this any closer than 100yds from the houses on the north side to maintain their value – Summerhill Grove, 1820, is therefore exactly 100yds across the nursery.

Ignatius Bonomi built his Tudor-style Priory next door in 1822. (previously covered in this forum on )

The nursery became a collection of gardens, summerhouses, walks and arbours on a grid-pattern for the housing around.

That part of Summerhill Terrace facing the square was built from the late 1830s to very full design specifications set out by Priestman to ensure the height, form, layout, materials, detailing and use related well to what had already been built.

Priestman laid out West Garden Street, now the bottom end of Summerhill Terrace overlooking Summerhill Grove’s gardens.

It was, therefore, a quirk of history which created the space around which the housing grew and, although called the Square, it was never actually a planned Georgian square as in London, Edinburgh or Dublin. Despite piecemeal development by speculative builders, continuity and uniformity were achieved.

Westgate Hill Cemetery opened in 1829.

Westgate Hill Terrace was built around 1840

York Street, etc. to the east, mostly built 1851-55.

John Dobson built Barber Surgeons’ Hall by 1850.

Winchester Terrace (originally Garden Terrace), 1850-1858, and 1-6 Summerhill Terrace, 1860-65, are the newest housing.

St Matthew’s was built in 1877, the tower in 1895. It is characteristic that little new development has taken place since this time, with later change being largely due to demolition in Sub-Area 2 and clearance on Westmorland Road, Summerhill Terrace and Westgate Hill Terrace.

20th century development includes:

Summerhill Bowling Club greens and clubhouse.

The synagogue (now offices) was built in 1925 on the site of three houses in Ravensworth Terrace.

The park laid out in 1935 for George V’s Silver Jubilee.

Our Lady & St Anne’s school was built on Summerhill Grove’s gardens and cleared land on Westmorland Road.

The 1980s social housing scheme by Nomad in a broadly sympathetic pastiche style was built on Summerhill Terrace.

The area was threatened during the 1960s and 1970s, including various plans for dual-carriageways through the central space, the Cemetery and Westgate Hill. However, the development pattern and evidence of historical growth remain substantially intact.

These screen prints of Google Map images to show the area in question

From "Classic Version" Google Maps

From the new version Google Maps with image "tilted"

Other maps etc to be seen in the SUMMERHILL CONSERVATION AREA CHARACTER STATEMENT document

On Sunday 17/05/15 took a lunchtime wander around some of the Summerhill Conservation Area, Newcastle and took pictures to show some of the properties, park, bowling greens etc at that time - to be posted in due course on a series of posts on this thread

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