The Garden Village through the years 

A History of the Garden Village.

A Paper researched and written by John Yarham

As you read about the Garden Village you will find out:

  • Who, when and for how much the Garden Village site was bought.
  • Where Italian rye grass was sown as part of a sewerage filtration system.
  • Why Salters Bridge has this name.
  • The varied and interesting facilities built on the Asda site since 1895.
  • When and where the first houses were built in the Village.
The Gosforth Garden Village was first envisaged by the North Eastern Railway Company. Following the fire at the Heaton Carriage Works in 1919, they needed a site for their electric rolling stock. This site to be much bigger than the Heaton sheds, due to the proposed expansion of electric services in the North East of England. The NER was subsequently merged in to the London and North Eastern Railway as a result of the Grouping of the principle railways following the Great War. The Grouping took place on the 1st January 1923. Subsequent planning applications and agreements were made by the LNER.
A history of the NER and LNER, as well as the Blyth and Tyne Railway, who built South Gosforth Station, can be found in Tomlinson. A history of Gosforth, prior to 1879, can be found in Welford.
The area that included the Garden Village and the council estate was on lands owned by the Brandling family until 1852. The Brandlings had moved from Felling Hall to High Gosforth Hall in 1760. The land then was moorland and known as Gosforth Moor. This lay between Killingworth Moor (enclosed 1793) and Kenton Moor, which had been separated from Gosforth Moor in medieval times. The High Gosforth, Low Gosforth Moor, and Three Mile Farms had been developed following 1760. The story of the development of agriculture and coal mining in Gosforth is a story yet to by fully told. South Gosforth Farm was situated next to the Parish Church of St Nicholas. The Parish of Gosforth had only existed from 1777 when seven townships were amalgamated (by the Northumberland Quarter Sessions) to form the Parish. However there is a possibility of a Parish existing prior to 1066. For a fuller account of St Nicholas and other churches in Gosforth see Harbottle.
The first developments took place prior to the concept of the Garden Village being born. For instance, Gosforth`s first sewerage works, basically a sewerage farm, was built at the foot of Hollywood Avenue, astride the foot of Coxlodge Burn. Italian rye grass was used as the final stage of filtering, where the allotments are now situated. The initial intake was where the isolation hospital was built later in 1901. A bridge was constructed to connect the tanks to the filter beds. For a layout of the sewerage works see a sketch of Fawdon (detached) reference UD/GO/79/8 at Tyne and Wear Archives. The sewerage works were opened in 1879.
Following the opening of the Ponteland Light Railway and West Gosforth Station, a small piece of land became available between the railway and the stadium site. The stadium site had been the site of Three Mile House, sometimes known as Tinket House. A Map by Andrew Armstrong, of 1769, shows a house at the 3 mile post, about halfway between Broadway and Harewood Road, called Mile House. This is also shown on a Watson survey (26/14). The three mile post was later situated at the office door of Asda until Gosforth took over it’s section of the Turnpike in 1879 when the post was relocated to its present site outside the (former Grammar) school.
The stadium site was first used as a cycle track (c1895) before becoming a rugby ground. The original proposal was for a Pavilion and Grandstand in Plan 437 submitted 8/5/1893. This eventually became the Northumberland County Rugby Football ground. The land to the south of the stadium was subject to various development plans by the Laycock Estates who wanted to layout streets for housing. One of the first plans was Plan 1209 with a covering letter dated 20/6/05 from the Laycock Estate Office at 26 Northumberland Street, Agent RJ Aynsley. The estate was to be laid out on and adjacent to the cycle track with sewers replacing any cess pits. There were to be shops backing on to the North Road, and two streets of villas. This large plan was to be superceded in 1906.
Plan 1274 applied for 26/2/06 by W Hutchinson of 70 Rothwell Road on behalf of the Laycock Estates was one for two villas. Plan 1318 was for another two villas (semidetached), one with a billiards room at the rear. The architect for this second plan was Stanley M Gill of Rowlands Gill. Again the application came from Mr Hutchinson, with the builder being Jon MacElhatton of 62 Woodbine Road. This was approved 11/7/06. Both pairs of villas were connected to cess pits, with the builder to pay for the eventual connection to the sewers when built. The track leading to them was always known as North Road until the construction of Hollywood Avenue extension in the mid 1930`s.
In September 1912, with a visit by South Africa in prospect in November 1912, the Northumberland Rugby Union decided to use the cycle track grounds for the match. This brought about Plan 1728 for a grandstand on the southern side of the track, which was approved 18/9/12. Cycling at the track may have ended by now, as at a special meeting of the Council to consider a memorial to the Coronation of George V on the 15th of March 1911, they considered amongst other ideas, the following suggestion. “That the land at the cycle track should be used for recreational purposes”. This had been put forward by Captain Laycock. The plan for the grandstand was applied for by Solicitor R Hodgson of Grey Street, their Secretary. The architects were Boyd and Groves, of Emmerson Chambers, Blackett Street. A ditch lay along the northern edge of the site, running eastwards, with a football field on the east. To the south of a shed at the southwest corner lay the cess pits of the villas. A pavilion was in the southeast corner of the site.
A letter from the North Eastern Railway was brought to the attention of the Gosforth Building and Traffic Committee (UD/GO/5/2) on the 1st October 1919. This asked for the provision of Local Authority housing at the site of the proposed car sheds at South Gosforth. This could have been built under the 1919 Addison Act that gave Local Authorities subsidies for the construction of houses either by themselves or Builders in their area. This site was situated to the north of the Ponteland light railway that had been constructed by the NER in 1901. The land belonged to South Gosforth Farm in the ownership of the Trustees of George Dunn. The Dunns had acquired the land from the Brandling estate that had been sold off in 1852. South Gosforth Farm being plot 27, for £19,300. The provision was refused by the Council.
On the 5th April 1921 the NER bought for £18500 the 64 acres that comprised of, the site of the Garden Village, including the land reserved for the extension of the carriage sheds, and land that extended from the Ouseburn west of Salters Bridge up to the rear of the current nursing home, and adjacent to the Ponteland light railway. This was bought from Thomas Dunn and Elizabeth Eyston, the Trustees of George Dunn. Planning of the houses started almost immediately. (Elizabeth Eyston was the licencee of the public house in Alwinton).
According to an account of the Garden Village on www.ggva.org, “the idea of a garden village was born in a boardroom meeting of the North Eastern Railway Company c1909. A registered charity was formed and converted in to a limited company in 1921. This being the LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd.”
The Gosforth Building &Traffic Committee, on the 2nd November 1921, approved a 9″ sewer from the car sheds, through the market garden to the south of the smallpox hospital. By the 20th December 1922, the carriage sheds were under construction by Blackett Construction. They had access to the site from Beaumont Terrace, through the allotments that had been laid out at the start of the Great War, at the top of Beaumont Terrace.
On the 30th of December 1922, the North Eastern Railway was amalgamated with others to become the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).
The Gosforth Building and Traffic Committee (UD/GO/5/3) had a request before it on the 6th June 1923 from the LNER for housing subsidies for its Garden Village scheme. These had been introduced by the Government under the 1923 Housing Act and replaced the Addison Act mentioned earlier. They were only to be used for local authority housing as a last resort. From the 18th July 1923 various proposals for the Garden Village were being put in. On the 3rd October 1923 subsidies of £6pa for 20 years were initially agreed.
Later Acts were the Housing (Finance Provisions) Bill of 1924, and the Housing Act of 1930.
The Council was now having submitted to them plans for the actual houses. These included plans for 254 houses (according to the indexes). (Plans 2271/2272 in 1923, and 2344/2345 in 1924, all for the LNER).
The plan numbers can be found in two indexes at Blandford House, the site of the Tyne and Wear Archives. Most of the plans themselves, those that have survived, are stored in boxes, from which they can be called up by individual plan number. Ie UD/GO/82/plan number. Each plan is inside an envelope along with various bits of correspondence, house type plans, specifications, etc. Usually a site block plan is included. Where the plans have survived, I hope to describe in more detail.
An Evening Chronicle report of the 8th November 1923, said that Messrs Laing were about to start construction of the estate. A great deal of information concerning interest rates, subsidies and repayment methods are included, along with a description of a type “B” house. The article follows.

Article in the Evening Chronicle of the 8th November 1923

Garden City at Gosforth – L.N.E.R.’s Generous Terms for Acquisition.

“One of the most interesting house building schemes in this district will be commenced within the next fortnight. It is that of the London and North-Eastern Railway (Gosforth) Garden Village Limited, and embraces 27 acres in a very pleasant neighborhood to the north of the Company’s new electric car sheds at Gosforth.

The number of houses to be built is 220, of the semi-detached type and they are intended for the Company’s employees in the Newcastle district.

This week at a meeting in Newcastle, the plans of the different types of houses which it is proposed to erect were carefully considered, and it was decided to supply each applicant with a circular to be filled in, giving the necessary information as to the type of house required, and also any internal arrangement that may be desired. The contractors are Messrs. Laing of Carlisle and London and building is to commence almost immediately.

The building of the car sheds paved the way for this estimable project for enabling railway employees to own the houses they occupy; but the undertaking really had its inception over a year ago.

It was thought that the North-Eastern Railway Cottage Homes and Benefit Fund had done so much for the veterans of the railway service, that something equally practical might be attempted for the younger men in the direction of housing; and so Mr. John Fallon, district inspector, Newcastle, became hon. Secretary of a provisional committee with the object of founding a garden village, and he threw all his energies into the realisation of what promises to be a splendid thing for the employees.

Loans and Interest

As a result of representations made by that committee, the Railway Company intimated its willingness to co-operate in a scheme for the provision of houses which the employees would join on a garden city principle and the rate of interest should be four per cent that loans should be granted up to four fifths of the purchase money.
Out of these preliminaries grew the L.N.E.R (Gosforth) Garden Village, Ltd.

The interest of 4 per cent was agreed upon, but the Company generously decided that the loans should not be met by five sixths but by nine tenths of the price of the house; and what is more, the Company at the request of the Committee, has been good enough to waive their claim to interest during the construction period. Another very pleasing feature of the scheme is that many of the staff who were on active service during the war, and have not had a full opportunity of saving are given the chance of purchasing a house without making the necessary deposit of a tenth of the purchase price.

As we have said the society has been formed to assist past and present members of the staff of the L. and N.E. Railway Company at Newcastle, and their families, in need of houses, to obtain houses for themselves by means of weekly monthly repayments of principal and interest.

Members are required to put down as much as they can afford in cash towards the cost of their houses. This will, of course, reduce the amount of weekly or monthly repayments. Under the arrangement with the Railway Company who lend the money at 4 per cent, the minimum amount to be put own is an amount to conform with the repayment tables being not less than 10 per cent of the cost of the land and house. In exceptional cases, however, the Committee is willing to appeal to the Company to authorise them to reduce this percentage.

The standard method of payment is 3/-per week or 13/- per month will pay off £10in 18 years 4 months. When all repayments are duly made, the house will become the property of the member.”

Two types

There are two types of houses “A” and “B” but the majority of applications are in respect of the “B” type, and the cost of these and the periods of redemption are as follows:-
For 18 years and 4 months on a type “B” house.

Total cost, including land, building, roads, drainage, architect’s, legal and other charges, also stamp duty .
£668. 1. 1
Deduct Government Subsidy
£75. 0. 0
Net cost
£593. 1. 1
Deposit to conform to the nearest 10 per cent
£59.14.8
Net cost less Deposite
£533. 6. 8
Weekly repayment
£16.0

(Despite the subsidy, the over all cost comes out at £760. Even in 1923, the Chronicle was pestered by typographical errors. I have corrected those figures that were wrong in the original. Tables were also given for other time periods, one of which for a house built in 1927, would not have been paid off until 1951/2.)

The details of type “B” houses are:- frontage of building 24 feet 11 inches. Depth of building 24 feet 3 inches. Ground floor-entrance hall and staircase 12 feet 6 inches by 6 feet. Living room 14 feet by 11 feet 6 inches. Parlour 10 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches, with large by window added. Scullery 9 feet 3 inches by 8 feet. Coats and larder. (Height of rooms, from floor to ceiling, 8 feet 3 inches). First floor-bedroom No 1 10 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches. Bedroom No 2 10 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches. Bedroom No 3 7 feet 8 inches by 11 feet 3½ inches. Bathroom, fitted with lavatory (bath?), basin and linen cupboard, wc on landing. (Height of rooms, floor to ceiling, 8 feet).

The officials and committee of the undertaking are as follows: Chairman, Mr AG Stevenson. Secretary, Mr H Denton. Corresponding Secretary, Mr J Fallon. Committee: Mr JL Dennison, Secretary of the NER Servants Pension Society. Mr HD Allen, signalman, Gosforth. Mr P McDonald, C&W Dept Walkergate. Mr J Fallon, District Inspector, Newcastle. Mr SH Thorne, joiner, C&W Dept, Walkergate. Mr GW Smith, electrical examiner, C&W Dept, Central Station, Newcastle.

(Please note that the type “B” houses are as described in November 1923, changes to these occurred as building progressed).

The Roads and Lighting Committee had a request before them on the 21st November 1923 for the track in front of the four villas at the top of the present Hollywood Avenue to be made up. A 50 foot road was proposed from here to Salters Bridge in the 1919 Town Plan. This would cross the estates of Laycock (Three Mile Bridge Farm) and Dunn ( South Gosforth Farm). This last had just been bought by the LNER. It was proposed by the Exors of George Dunn that their section of road should by sewered and built. The land at the top end was in the ownership of the Laycock estates and was being used by the Gosforth Golf Course.

According to the Newcastle Journal, of the 15th November 1923, the Ministry of Health had approved of the proposals of the Council to undertake to provide periodical payments in respect of 50 houses to be erected by the LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd.

Contract one

The first contract was under plan 2272, drawn at York on the 19th April 1924, completed between 17/3/1925 and 17/6/25, and occupied from 28th May 1925. Included in the specifications were French tiles for the roofs, and 11″ hollow walls. Rumour in `the Trade` has it that the tiles came from Belgium, paid for by German reparations after the Great War.

A note on this plan said that there would be 222 houses and 8 shops. Quite what happened to the other 32 houses was not explained. The houses would consist of 32 type A with 1 reception and 3 bed, 38 type B1 2 reception and 3 bed, 122 type B2 2 reception and 3 bed, and 30 type C with 2 reception and 4 bed rooms. This was not what was built in the event. The layout was sites 1-12 on Woodlea, sites 15-32* east side of Briarwood, sites 33-38 west side of Briarwood, 41-48 on the north side of Hollywood, and sites 49-76 on the south side of Hollywood. 72 houses in all in this first contract.

*Sites 15-16 actually face on to Hollywood Avenue.

On the 9th of April 1924 an agreement was entered into between the LNER and Gosforth UDC regarding the drainage of the land purchased in 1921.

On the 7th May 1924 Plan 2344 for 20 semidetached houses with subsidies was put in. Plans for the roads on the 4th June and sewers 2nd July 1924. By the 30th July 1924, there were reports of running sands on the site. These were the subject of discussion concerning the sewers on the 3rd September 1924. On the 1st October 1924, the first names of the streets were proposed. Stevenson Avenue, Woodleigh Avenue was changed to Woodlea Avenue. Park Avenue was rejected.

By the end of 1924 the Committee had changed its name to the Planning Committee. (UD/GO/5/4). After further discussion regarding the street names the following names were agreed upon. Woodlea, Stevenson Avenue, and Allen Vale. There would be gas lighting on the estate, although not on Woodlea Gardens. The road here was not part of the estate.

On the 29th April 1925 the LNER was asking approval for 3 bed semis the same as those under construction on Haddricks Mill Road, where the NER/LNER had owned land since at least 1913. However, the design put in was different to the design already submitted.

The ownership of the land east of the smallpox hospital was a bit complex. Where the allotments now are, was the former sewerage farm from the 1870s, and owned by the Council. Where Salters Bridge is, was owned by the Laycocks. The bit in between was owned by the Dunns. This last bit the Exors of George Dunn were prepared to give to the Council so that a road could be made up. It abutted both sides of the carriage track that had led to a gateway next to the bridge. The carriage track had come from Low Gosforth Hall next to where the County Archives office is situated in Melton Park. This carriage track had been constructed, along with Dentmires Bridge, following the sale of the Earl of Carlisle`s land to the Brandlings in 1803.

On the 3rd of June 1925 the Planning Committee was told that due to the increased cost of building 3 bed houses, buyers were withdrawing. The LNER requested 2 bed houses instead. These would consist of 2 bed, parlour, scullery, bath and WC, with an agreed subsidy of 10/-. (50p).

An application was put before the Committee on the 17th June 1925 for the following:

  • 2 of Type 7 with 1 reception and 3 bed 880 square feet.
  • 6 of Type 11 with 1 reception and 3 bed 870 square feet.
  • 14 of Type 20 with 2 reception and 3 bed     949½ square feet.

On the 29th of July 1925 the original 11″ sewer was increased to 18″.  The Committee was told on the 2nd September that this was to accommodate 540 acres adjacent to the Garden Village when it was developed. Also in September the LNER was proposing 38 houses on the west side (?) of Hollywood Avenue. On the corner sites certain houses were subsidized. Due to this they were to be reduced from 5 rooms to 4 rooms. This applied to sites 131-134. These were on the corners of Beechwood Avenue and Hollywood Avenue. The site numbers referred to are those on the deeds of most of the houses in the Village. On the 7th October, the LNER was told that there would be no subsidies for the smaller Type 26 houses. A lamp letter post box was to be installed on Hollywood Avenue.

The Committee was told that a footpath existed from the estate up to a gate on the North Road.

Contract two

The second contract was under plan 2345. This was completed between 17/6/25 and 13/7/25. This contract was for sites 77-90 east side Briarwood, and sites 115-120 west side of Briarwood. 20 in all. Although built in 1925, this contract had also been drawn in 1924. It included an alleyway to the allotments at the rear of sites 80-96 between sites 88 and 89. Sites 93-96 were never built, or not as originally planned.

The third contract was under plan 2478 dated July 1925 and not built. This was for the remaining section of Hollywood Avenue and had sites 191-196 on the north side between Beechwood and Fernwood. This particular section of sites disappeared and was replaced in a later plan the following month. By now the site types instead of being A to C, were now numbered.

By the meeting of the 4th November 1925, they were told that 92 houses had been constructed, and occupied between the 28th March (May?), and the 27th June. Those subsidized were being so at 10/- per house. One of the conditions of sale to the LNER was that the accommodation crossing over the old Blyth and Tyne line would be replaced by a footbridge. The Committee was now requesting that it should be lit. The LNER in its turn requested that a footpath be constructed along the road from the bridge to the estate.

This bridge was replaced by a concrete version when the Metro was built. The site of the bridges had been where a temporary wooden platform had been built when the Blyth and Tyne Railway was constructed c1865 for one of its Directors, who lived at Low Gosforth Hall.

During 1926 Laycock Estates sold the site of Northumberland County RFC to the club.

The eastern boundary of the site bought for housing did not include the old coach road that ran from Low Gosforth House to the Salters Bridge. For some reason the houses on Woodlea Gardens were only constructed with a path in front. The hedge most likely dates from c1803 when the carriage road was built following the purchase of a piece of land from the Earl of Carlisle by the Brandlings in 1803. It was following this that Dents Mire Bridge was built.

The builder of the sewer from the estate was J. Laing. The type 27 houses at sites 139-140 were to have bay windows. Mrs L Greenhead had applied to have a wooden shop built on the west side of Hollywood Avenue. This was approved on the 3rd March 1926. On the 3rd June 1926 applications were put in by the LNER for the following:

  • 6 for type 20 on sites 175/176, 179/180, 185/186.
  • 4 for type 26 on sites 177/178, 183/184.

These to be on road CH on the estate. This was to be Beechwood Avenue.

Contract three

The third contract under plan 2491 showed site types 7, 11, 20, 26 and 27. A mixture of these was planned for sites 153-170 on the south side of Hollywood, including Plot 167 a Type 20 house, and sites 135-148 on the north side of Hollywood Avenue. There were to be alleyways on both sides of the proposed block of shops, with agriculture drains from the market garden, at the rear of the south side of Hollywood Avenue. I believe that sites 129-130 may have been constructed under plan 2478 although the rest of that plan was amended by plan 2491. They were type 20 houses. There was also to be grass verges on all the estate roads. By the post war period the grass verges became too expensive to cut and so tarmac was put down. These verges were never intended for parking and Northumberland County Council put up notices to that effect. Unfortunately this particular by-law was not taken over in 1974 by the City of Newcastle.

Included in plan 2491 was an outline of the proposed layout for the southern end of Fernwood, and the western end of Rosewood, including a pair of type 20 houses on the northeastern corner of Fernwood and Rosewood. The houses on Rosewood were adjacent to the road, not set back, while Rosewood entered Fernwood as a proper road junction. A total of 32 houses were envisaged. Only two, on the corner of Hollywood Avenue, were ever to be built.

Various changes to the Hollywood Avenue houses took place on plans 2491 and 2539. The last included a centre covered alleyway through the shops to the rear. By now the LNER Architect was Stephen Wilkinson. To comply with the subsidies the houses had to cost less than £700 and be on less than 1/12 acre. The lay by for the shops can still be seen where the bus stop is sited.

The corner sites were now covered by plan 2539. Type 20 houses were to be built on sites 13/14, 39/40, 131/132, 1334/135, 149/150, 153/154. The subsidies would be started 1/1/26 and to be sold within 3 years at a price of £687.10.0. Extra drainage was to be allowed for west of site 153 for 4 more houses on Hollywood Avenue. Neither Beechwood or Fernwood Avenues had yet been named.

Plan 2596 was for 10 houses whose subsidy was to start on the 1st July 1926 with prices ranging from £599.0.0 through £685.0.0 to £692.4.0 on the corner sites. The sites to be 175-180, and 183-186.

Contract four

The fourth contract was under plan 2640. This was dated 3/11/26 and still showed 222 houses and 8 shops. The Tennis Courts were still shown to the north of Rosewood Avenue. This contract involved sites 91/92, 99/100, 113/114, 121-128, 181/182. These were the corner sites of Rosewood and Fernwood, Fernwood and Briarwood (both), Briarwood and Rosewood (both), Rosewood and Beechwood. Also the south side of Rosewood, between Briarwood and Beechwood Avenues.

Mr CHE Bridgen was now the LNER Architect. The LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd company had the company registration number of 9778. In a letter dated 21/9/26 referring to sites 91/92, 99/1100, 113/114, 121-128, 181/182, they were all less than £700, with subsidies starting before 26/10/27 and to be completed by then. The actual completion dates were 8/9/27 for sites 121/122, 127/128, 181/182, 123-126. The completion date for sites 1113/114, 99/100, 91/92 was 15/9/27. The prices varied from £663.17.0 to £699.7.2. Some of the corner sites including sites 91/92 had been drawn as early as 15/10/22 and eventually approved 3/11/26. Sites 91/92 were never built and became sites 233/234 and again not built.

On the 3rd November 1926 a further 16 houses were mentioned and an agreement was made that a Council subsidy of £1 would be paid under the 1923 Housing Act. The plan for 16 houses was approved (Plan 2540). The subsidies were subject to dispute by the 2nd February 1927. Also by this time the dispute between the Residents of Woodlea Gardens and the Council regarding the maintenance of the road had started.

On the 4th May 1927 Plan 2713 was approved for 2 houses on Hollywood Avenue, 35 on Fernwood Avenue, and 11 on Rosewood Avenue. On the 16th November 1927 the amended plans for sites 231-232 on Fernwood Avenue were approved. On the 7th December 1927, the Council subsidies for the last 34 houses on the estate would be paid.

Contract five

The next plan, for the fifth contract, was the most intriguing, as the majority of it was never built due to the Government reducing house subsidies in 1927. Plan 2713 included the bungalow sites 93-98, which were built on the south side of Fernwood Avenue, between 7/5/27 and 27/9/27. Also sites 215-232, on the north side of Fernwood Avenue were built from 14/5/27 to 30/9/27. The houses were now being built to type 11a and 19a. Both were 1 reception and 3 bed, with different bathroom arrangements.

Included in the plan were sites 187-214, and 233/234. These ran along Rosewood from Beechwood, down Fernwood to Hollywood and back up Fernwood, and included (still) the double site on the northeastern corner of Fernwood and Rosewood Avenues. All were to the designs 11a and 19a. These were never built, and house building in the village ceased until 1935. 

The new street layout on the estate was approved by the Gosforth Roads and Lighting Committee. (UD/GO/18/5). These would be Beechwood, Rosewood, and Fernwood Avenues.

The site plan, included in this Paper, must have been drawn before the bowls pavilion had been built. The tennis courts were originally planned for north of Rosewood Avenue.

On the 1st of February 1928, at the Gosforth Building and Town Planning Committee (UD/GO/5/5), a site for a council estate was first mentioned to the east of the County rugby ground.

When the Garden Village estate was first constructed all builders traffic and supplies could only come in via Salters Bridge. This had ceased to be a main road bridge when the Brandlings diverted the Bedlington to Newcastle road via a new bridge called Haddricks Road Bridge in 1821. They had done this in order to sink their South Gosforth Colliery. The original pack horse bridge had most likely been built by the Bishop of Durham, as it lay on the route from Durham to his Estates in Bedlingtonshire. For further information on these estates see Boldon Book. At a later unidentified date the bridge had been widened to take cart traffic.

It was as a result of the difficulties of entering the estate by road that an application was made to Longbenton UDC to have an approach road built from the foot of Heathery Lane to Woodlea Gardens. This was turned down by Longbenton UDC on the 19th September 1928. The following month, on the 7th, the Council agreed to adopt the estate roads. However, not the carriage road from Dentmires Bridge to Salters Bridge.

The Planning Committee had before them Plan 2892 for a Bowls Pavilion for the Gosforth Garden Village Residents Association. This was approved on 7/11/28. This had been put in by Mr WC Layton of 58 Hollywood Avenue, and Mr WM McQueen of 60 Hollywood Avenue. On the 18th of October 1928, a proposal was made for an 18foot wide approach road to Salters Bridge prior to a 50 foot wide road being made. It was noted that Salters Bridge was not suitable for motor traffic. By 21st November 1928 various estimates were being drawn up for the making up of the estate roads. The Laycock Estate Company was asked on the 19th December 1928 to repair the Salters Bridge. This particular Company had bought, in 1852, various lands from the Brandling estate. These included the former Earl of Carlisle lands, the Low Gosforth Estate, and Three Mile Farm.

Plan 2917 was put in by the Secretary of the Gosforth Car Sheds Sports Club dated 6/2/29. He was Mr TW Lilley of 9 Rosewood Avenue. The plan was for a temporary wooded sports hut in the sports fields behind the isolation hospital.

The Gosforth Roads and Lighting Committee (UD/GO/18/6) were told by the Post Office, on the 9th March 1929, that the road from Salters Bridge in to the Estate was too dangerous for them to use. The Committee was later told on the 18th November 1929 that Salters Bridge was subject to the Bridges Act 1929. In December they were told that Northumberland County Council would take over the bridge on the 1st January 1930.

On the 19th of June 1929 the Planning Committee approved an extension to the Bowls Pavilion in Plan 2953.

Roads and Lighting were told, on the 23rd April 1930, of a proposal to extend Hollywood Avenue. It would be 50 feet wide.

On the 7th January 1931, plan 3111 for a shop and house on Hollywood Avenue (to the east of the middle alleyway through the proposed shops), was before the Planning Committee from Mrs Blanche Hooper. (Not built).

On the 21st January 1931 Roads and Lighting were told that Salters Bridge had been listed as an ancient monument. The Council was told that a new road and bridge was to be built linking Hollywood Avenue to the Killingworth Road. (This proposal was only abandoned in the 1970`s). On the 21st October 1931 the Council proposed that the road from Salters Bridge to the foot of Hollywood Avenue would be rebuilt at a width of 20 feet. This width was reduced to 10 feet 6 inches. It was at this same meeting that someone called Sanderson proposed a garage next to the Stadium at the top of the present Hollywood Avenue.

The Gosforth Planning Committee (UD/GO/5/6) had before them on the 1st June 1932 plan 3243 for alterations at the stadium to enable a greyhound track to be built. At this same meeting the Town Planning Scheme of 1919 was declared “De Novo”, ie abandoned. It was this scheme that had proposed a huge circle from which the Garden Village could have been accessed via Briarwood Avenue, hence its width.

The Gosforth Roads Committee (UD/GO/18/7) was told on the 21st September 1932 that work had started on the Hollywood Avenue extension to Salters Bridge. It took one month at a cost of £508.

The Planning Committee was told on the 7th June 1933 that the Hollywood Avenue extension to the North Road would run across the two best holes of the Gosforth Golf Club.

On the 7th February 1934 the garage at the top of Hollywood Avenue was subject to plan 3483 for Mr. Sunley, of Alwinton Avenue. This was approved a week later on the 14th. It had to be set back to a new building line east of North Road, to accommodate the widening of North Road. The builder of the garage seemed to be the Lambhill Ironworks. Adjacent to the garage was shown the footpath next to the railway from the Garden Village, and the private road to the villas.

Summerfields “We Never Closed” garage was approved on appeal. This plan (3721) had been rejected because of the existence of Sunleys garage at the top of Hollywood Avenue. It was built mainly of wood. I believe the slogan “We Never Closed” came about during the Second World War years. Its successor is the current BP outlet.

The Planning Committee was told that that part of the Three Mile Bridge Farm consisting of 37.241 acres still owned by the Laycock estate would be subject to an offer from the Council of £10,315.

This land would be used for housing and a cemetery. On the 18th of September 1935 the layout of the new estate, not including the area of the Halls estate already under construction, was as follows:

  • Site 1. Hollywood Avenue – 100 houses – 6.556 acres.
  • Site 2. Harewood Road – 18 houses – 1.163 acres.
  • Site 3. Broadway East – 110 houses – 7.774 acres
  • Cemetery (5 acres immediately) – 9.885 acres
  • Allotments – 4.333 acres.
  • Recreation 1. Hartford/Harewood – 4.865 acres.
  • Recreation 2. Between GGV Estate & Cemetery – 1.446 acres.
  • Shops – 1.122 acres.

Only parts of the above became reality.

On the 2nd October 1935 FW Hindmarsh, of Lyndhurst, Fawdon, put in plan 3732 for 5 pairs of semi detached houses on Fernwood Avenue, 2 pairs of semi detached houses on the north side of Hollywood Avenue. One pair on the north side of Hollywood Avenue was later withdrawn. The remainder of the plan was approved 9/10/35. The houses were of 2 reception and 3 bed and scullery, with bays to front and rear and french door to rear room. This plan was approved 9/10/35. On the 20th May 1936, a shop and house (plan 3831) was approved, on the site of the withdrawn pair of semis, on the north side of Hollywood Avenue.

On the 1st April 1936 the Council put in four planning applications to itself for 96 houses on and off Hollywood Avenue. On the 6th May 1936 the Council sold 1¼ acres to the Aged Miners Association.

At the end of May, on the 20th, Hindmarsh put in Plan 3831 for a house and shop on the north side of Hollywood Avenue. Although passed 20/5/36, this was not built. All these applications by Hindmarsh brought forth a proposal from the LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd. This was plan 3840 for houses on Fernwood and Rosewood Avenues. The Rosewood/Fernwood junction had now been removed, and replaced by a 6foot pathway, with a very small turning circle at the end of Rosewood. This was on the 1st of June. A second plan in the same envelope showed a 15foot pathway.

On the same date plan 3832 was put in by Hindmarsh for 7 semis on Fernwood and 3 semis on Rosewood. This was rejected, following a petition from residents on Hollywood Avenue. These residents, from numbers 41-45 and 49-55, where at least one resident is still living, were concerned that after heavy rain their back gardens flooded. Interestingly, since the concreting over of the road a few years later, the road has always flooded at the front of numbers 37-41. Despite new gulleys being put in in recent years, the drains have never coped with heavy rain. Thus the sandbags!

Although Brammell Booth’s price was lower I believe that Hindmarsh won the contract to build the council estate.

On the 7th October 1936 LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd. put in plan 3887 for 10 semis on Fernwood and 1 bungalow on Rosewood. On the plan this was actually 7 pairs on the east side of Fernwood, with 3 pairs set back on Rosewood and the bungalow on Rosewood Avenue. Approved 7/10/36. However the bungalow was not built to this plan, see 4011.

On the 4th November 1936, in plan 3900, 20 houses were approved for the Aged Miners Association. At the same meeting the Three Mile Bridge Hotel was approved for the site of the old farm, for Deuchars. Despite many alterations since, some of the steading walls still exist.

Hindmarsh put in plan 3904 for a bungalow on the east side of Fernwood, and plan 3905 for 7 semis on Fernwood and 3 semis on Rosewood. On Fernwood the area of land for which 6 pairs of semis had originally been planned now had 7 pairs with outhouses. These plans were approved on 11/11/36. Hindmarsh was putting in the planning applications based on drawings by the LNER. The Secretary of the LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd was Mr H Denton.

The Gosforth Roads Committee (UD/GO/18/8) proposed on the 19th June 1935 that they should concrete over Hollywood Avenue and Briarwood Avenue. The old stone from Hollywood Avenue to be laid on that part of the Bridle Path that lay within Gosforth, it was decided on the 20th November 1935.

The Roads Committee was told on the 15th  January 1936 that the trees being planted on Hollywood Avenue would cost 14/3 each. (about 72 pence each). I shall refrain from comment on the current status of these trees. On the 21st October there was an another proposal to adopt the roads in the Garden Village. Dorin was the contractor laying the concrete roads.

On the 15th September, a Mr Russell Henderson of 8 Briarwood Avenue, requested a bus service in to the Garden Village. Although United passed the top of the street, minimum fares were in operation. The nearest Newcastle Corporation Blue Bus Service was a commuter express from Henry Street, withdrawn during the War.

A number of people were now putting bay windows on to their properties such as 114/116 Hollywood Avenue. On the 5th of May 1937 there was a rash of plans from Hindmarsh.

Plan 3983 – 6 semi detached houses on south side of Hollywood Avenue. Approved 11/5/37

Plan 3984 – 6 semi detached houses on south side of Hollywood Avenue, on shops site. One pair to the east of the alleyway was not actually built. Approved 11/5/37.

Plan 3985 – 4 semi detached houses on Briarwood Avenue. Approved 11/5/37.

Plan 3987 – Dutch bungalow on site of current transformer station, Rosewood Av.-rejected.

Plan 4011 – bungalow on Rosewood Avenue. Approved 21/7/37. This was drawn by F Westgarth of Denton Burn in July 1936.

Garages were now being planned for construction with some of the properties.

 By September 1937 hedges were being planted on Hollywood Avenue. (Opposite the cemetery?) These came from Lawrensons Nurseries. It was at this time (1/9/37) that the electricity sub station on Rosewood Avenue was applied for in plan 4027. I have not been able to trace how the estate was supplied by the utilities prior to this. The bay windows were now being applied for thick and fast, with a number of familiar names appearing on the applications, ie Rothwell at 43 Hollywood Avenue along with many others in the same road. On the 3rd of November 1937, the name Shields Grove was approved for the Aged Miners Homes.

By the 8th of January 1938, the council estate was being occupied.

In June 1938, the back lane from Fernwood Avenue to Rosewood Avenue was causing unidentified problems. On the 15th June 1938 the Gosforth roads and Lighting Committee recommended that a bus service should be introduced to the Garden Village. This followed a petition from the Garden Village. With 194 houses called on, 171 yes, 22 no, 4 neutral, 12 not in. (Not my mathematics!).

On the 20th September 1938 an improvement to the junction of Hollywood Avenue with the North Road was proposed. Work on this was delayed due to the construction of air raid shelters.

On the 1st of February 1939 plans for the Drill Hall on the North Road were approved. This was demolished in 2002. Meanwhile, a lease of the recreation ground behind Harewood was granted to the War Office for use as an anti aircraft gun site.

On the 17th May 1939 the Garden Village roads were finally and eventually adopted. Was it about this time, according to a surviving resident, that some of the hedges in the village were replaced by the concrete block walls? The cost of the walls, where railwaymen were concerned, was added to their mortgages. Non railwaymen wanting walls built their own in brick. Many people did not have their hedges replaced, thus the hedges that remain.

The Gosforth Garden Village Residents Association was told that when Woodlea had been made up the Council would then adopt it. On the 19th July 1939 Longbenton UDC was advised of the dangerous condition of the lane leading to Salters Bridge on their side of the bridge.

On the 7th June 1939 plan 4327, for two houses and shop, was before the Planning Committee for Hindmarsh. This was on the south side of Hollywood Avenue. This was approved by the full Council on the 14th. Under wartime regulations, introduced in September 1939, any house that had its roof on could be completed. Building on any others was abandoned for the duration. Some houses on Hollywood Avenue were only occupied in 1940. The shop, number 172 was completed in 1940, and seems to have been occupied by a relative of the Christophers, who were at number 90. According to the street directories, which had not featured Hollywood Avenue prior to 1950, the occupiers or 72 were. Layton in 1950, Hogarth in 1962, and Walker in 1968. The daughter of Mr Christopher, Norah, seems to have inherited number 72 before her tragic death in New Zealand in the 1970s.

Two acres of land were allocated for the proposed cemetery, on Hollywood Avenue, by the Council on the 11th October 1939. By the 14th January 1940, this had been increased to 3.10 acres. On the same date the Gosforth Council said that all its trees would be subject to preservation. (A policy not carried on by its successor, the City of Newcastle).

By March 1941 the disused isolation hospital (constructed in 1901) was being used as an ARP School. On the 2nd July 1941 the Council adopted the top section of Hollywood Avenue. The construction of the cemetery started on the 9th April 1942. This had been deemed necessary as the cemetery at St Nicholas churchyard was now full. By May 1943 Mr Turner (of Hollywood Avenue) was being allowed to graze goats opposite Woodlea Gardens. Whilst interments started on the 19th July 1943, the cemetery site continued to be used for emergency food production. In 1943 potatoes had been grown. In 1944 cereals and grass were planned.

On the 3rd November 1943 arrangements were started to adopt the footpath from Briarwood Avenue to Woodlea Gardens. The Council was told on the 10th January 1944 that the footpath was only meant to be used as an access to the land on the south side of the Ouseburn. It was during 1943 that the brick walls fronting the council houses were built, replacing iron railings that had been removed for the War effort.

On the 27th September 1944 temporary housing was recommended for Hollywood Avenue. These were eventually built on part of the allotments site at the top of Beaumont Terrace.

On the 20th of December the Council was told that the Laycock estates were attempting to sell their remaining land on the Low Gosforth Farm for the proposed  DHSS site. With sinking mine workings on the site the Welfare State might have sunk with them! However, Benton Park Road had already been chosen. When built it was designed as an emergency hospital in case of World War Three. As I write (spring 2003) some of the old pavilions can still be seen.

On the 5th December 1945 Gosforth Urban District Council asked the Corporation for a limited stop bus service to the foot of Hollywood Avenue. On the 6th March 1946 the old limited bus service to Henry Street was reinstated and extended to the top of Hollywood Avenue as route 7. On the 3rd of April United buses proposed a service from Marlborough Crescent to the foot of Hollywood Avenue. It would have linked with an existing service towards Ryton.

On the 3rd September 1946 Newcastle Corporation was proposing a trolley bus service to Gosforth, with one of the termini being the Garden village. They would have run in via Hollywood Avenue, Fernwood, Briarwood, and back up Hollywood. Mr Cummings was now Secretary of the GGVRA, and it was later in September that Blue Bus Service route 10 to the foot of Hollywood was approved.

On the 23rd October 1946 Mr FS Aitken of 71 Hollywood Avenue applied for a building licence for a Post Office. By April 1947 the TA was asking to take over the wartime AA site. This they did until Northumberland County Council took back the site for schools. On the 22nd October 1947 further extensions to the garage at the top of Hollywood Avenue were approved. Some had been done during the War.

The Council agreed on the 28th January 1948 that the foot of Hollywood Avenue should be widened to accommodate the turning of buses. They were told on the 30th June 1948 that Longbenton UDC were refusing to repair their part of the Bridle Path. This lay between Dents Mire Bridge northwards to Heathery Lane.

On the 17th of November 1948 the Gosforth planning Committee was told that the stones from the South Gosforth Farm byres, being demolished by J.Morpeth was being used in reforming the road in Hollywood Avenue. By the end of 1949 building regulations must have started to be relaxed as more people started to apply for bay windows, and a harbinger of the future, garages.

By the 19th of April 1950 George Embleton was reported to be secretary of the GGVRA.

On the 25th April 1951 the Gosforth Planning Committee was told that the Council was proposing a house and WCs at the cemetery. Only a small brick waiting room was eventually constructed. (Demolished 2003).

The Roads Committee was told on the 13th  June 1951 that Dentsmires Bridge was under repair. The arch stones were being refixed and a concrete reinforced saddle was to be put in place.  The total cost would be £240 split 50/50 between Gosforth and Longbenton UDCs. This was the route by which much of the Garden Village milk supplies came from Low Gosforth Moor Farm. The road between Salters Bridge and Dentsmires Bridge was designated a Bridle Path under the Countryside Act 1949.

At a Roads Committee meeting of 14th November 1951 there was a report of a boy drowning near to Woodlea Gardens. The council decided to erect fencing at the site. (The south west corner of the bridge, where the fencing has just been renewed, in 2003).

The Roads Committee was told on 18th February 1953 that Hollywood Avenue was subject to pressure grouting by Purdie Lumsden to repair the concrete slabs caused by settlement of the subsoil.

The Roads Committee was advised on 20th October 1954 that the Gosforth Garden Village Residents Association was to be `renewed`. The Council said that it had no objection other than provision should be made for the making up of Woodlea Gardens, and that they had no wish to become owners of the land at the north west end of Woodlea Gardens. Comments regarding LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd:-

  1. Woodlea Gardens, only the footpath made up. The Hawthorne hedge forms the old boundary.
  2. Path from Briarwood Avenue serves a garage at 26 Briarwood Avenue, not yet taken over by the Council.
  3. Vacant land adjacent to the Ouseburn behind 28-70 Briarwood Avenue and varying 100-22 feet in width. Access from Woodlea gardens. Fence erected in 1924 in disrepair. This was replaced after the child was drowned.

Mr Thompson was now Secretary of the GGVRA.

On the 16th February the Roads Committee was told that the cost of making up would be for the path £253.19.0, and for Woodlea Gardens £2384.14.9. Following payment Woodlea Gardens was eventually adopted.

Records of the LNER (Gosforth) Garden Village Ltd no longer exist at York. A few annual reports have survived from the Central Station offices consisting of the 2nd to 7th, and 11th reports. These are mainly of interest to accountants, each consisting of a four sided folded document. (Reference DT/NER 2/40/1-7 at the Tyne and Wear Archives).

The second report, to 31/12/1925 said that the LNER had advanced £50,000 and the LNER Housing Trust £35,000 and £60,000. By 31/12/25 161 houses had been, or were in course of, built. running sands etc were causing problems, and recreation facilities were receiving attention. Shareholders in the company seemed to have bought shares of £1 each, although a few had 5, and one had 200. The architect was CHE Bridgen, and the secretary H Denton.

By the end of 1926, 199 houses were built.

By the end of 1927, 238 houses were built.

By the end of 1928, 266 houses were built*, of which 190 were in the Garden Village. The questions of roads and paths were being taken up with the local authorities

The 6th annual report to 31/12/29 said that the LNER Housing Trust would lend at 4% £6000 for 10 years to flag the paths. At the 11th AGM, members were advised of a circular that had gone out advising of a method of paying off the mortgages more quickly.

*Did this total include other houses built on other sites such as Haddricks Mill Road (10), in Gosforth, and Davidson Cottages (18), in Jesmond? Where were the remaining 48?

And finally…

In the 1960`s two more houses were built, one in Briarwood Avenue at the end, and one in Woodlea Gardens. These were to be the last of the developments in the Garden Village until British Rail started to sell off its land holdings in the area. This resulted in the demolition of numbers 94-96 Hollywood Avenue. Gosforth Council had in the meanwhile completely reconstructed Hollywood Avenue from the bottom up, and surfaced the remaining concrete roads with tar macadam. In the early 1970`s Salters Bridge was closed for a year so that a mason from Durham Cathedral could repair the stonework. Northumberland Council then resurfaced it, enabling Hollywood Avenue to become the South Gosforth Bypass. This followed the dropping of the long term plans to extend Hollywood Avenue over a new bridge. One of the shops on Hollywood Avenue is now a house, while a bus service of sorts still runs to the foot of Hollywood Avenue.  A small area of land, to the east of the Ouseburn, that had been in Longbenton UDC (subsequently North Tyneside) was transferred to Newcastle in recent years. With the sale of the last of the Laycock Estate to Gosforth Golf Course this has enabled the improvement to the Bridle Path.

At the top of Hollywood Avenue one pair of the villas was demolished to make way for the current garage. This is in turn to make way for a furniture shop in 2003. The Northumberland County Rugby Club sold their site to Asda, who then, and since, have paid for a variety of “road improvements” and, what is laughingly described as, “traffic calming”. The remaining pair of villas are about to be pulled down to make way for a small housing estate.

 House numbering. Due to the estate being built from the bottom up, the postal house numbers are numbered from the bottom of Hollywood Avenue. There is no indication in the various plans seen as to why they start at 6. However, the Post Office may have considered Salters Lodge as number 2, and the building in between, later the Air Training Corps, as number 4.

LNER records. So far as housing is concerned, these records no longer exist at York, the National Railway Museum, or the Public Record Office. However the NRM do have a few staff magazines with articles concerning railway housing.

 

References and sources

Gosforth and its Parish Church/George Harbottle/1974

A History of the Parish of Gosforth/Richard Welford/1879

The North Eastern Railway: Its Rise and Development/WW Tomlinson/1915

Tyne and Wear Archives Service, Blandford House, Newcastle

City of Newcastle Libraries.

Boldon Book/Editor David Austin/Phillimore/1982

The site plan reproduced from house deeds, and overlaid by myself with the contract boundaries.

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