Barnard Castle in old picture postcards volume 3

Barnard Castle in old picture postcards volume 3

Auteur
:   Alan Wilkinson
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Durham
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-6685-0
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2-3 weken (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.

   


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Barnard Castle in old picture postcards volume 3'

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Introducti.on

Ta walk through the streets ofBarnard Castle is to take a walk through history. This is true to some extent of all towns, but in Barnard Castle it is particularly sa. The town and the castle from which it takes its name are over eight hundred years old, and the pattern of its ancient streets follows exactly the same lines as those along which the tewn's first inhabitants walked. The only difTerence is that more side streets have been added in the centuries that followed. One street, Galgate, existed even earlter than the town ltself for it was a Roman road long befare the town was founded, and it was still there when the castle was built beside it. In medieval times the tewn's gallows stood at the head of it, [ust outside the town, and the street was known as Gallowsgate, now abbreviated to Galgate.

At the lower end of this long straight raad the castle was built on a high rocky cltff above the fast-flowing RiverTees, and near that point Barnard Castle's main street suddenly turns away from Galgate and runs parallel to the curving line of the outer wall of the castle itself The names of the next two sections of the main street explain themselves: the first is the Horse Market followed by the Market Place. The street then continues to curve, but descends much more steeply as it follows the edge of the castle cliff and goes down towards an ancient river crossing. Pedestrians walking down this raad could cross the river by stepping stones, leading from Barnard Castle, on the north bank, to Startforth, the village on the south bank.

The steep street is still called The Bank; the prickly nature of the bushes

that grew beside the stepping stones gave the last part of The Bank the name of Thorngate; and the whole street was, therefore, at first called Thorngate Bank.

In the fourteenth century a bridge was built over the Tees near the castle, sa a new raad was constructed to link the bridge with Thorngate Bank. The new raad was, of course, called Bridgegate.

At this point it is worth explaining that though the names of all the main entries to the town end in 'gate', Barnard Castle was never a town surrounded by a wall with gates in it like, for example, York or Chester. The word 'gate' comes from an Old Norse word ('gata') and means simply a way or raad, sa Bridgegate means 'the road to or from the bridge' .The street of Newgate, which enters the town from the east, was presumably constructed later than some other roads, but it is still ancient, for there was at least one building on it in the thirteenth century.

Barnard Castle has four streets with narnes ending in' gate' and one other that ends in' gates' , and it seems odd that this narrow one is called Broadgates. Only in this one case does the word 'gates' mean just what it does today. There was a broad gate across each end of the entry to prevent cattle from straying from the Demesnes (the field of the lord of the castle) and then wandering along the narrow street called Braadgates and into the main street of the town. The house that stood at the corner of Broadgates and Thorngate Bank was called 'The Gatehouse'.

The Demesnes has always been a feature of life in Barnard Castle. It was once a vast area of farmland to which the lord of the castle had sole agricultural rights. Various lanes led to it frorn The Bank and two led from it to the north of the town, where the lesser inhabitants were allotted areas ofland on which to graze their animals or to plough their strips ofland. The two northerly lanes united and formed the Back Lane of the town, which ran parallel to the main streets of Galgate, Horse Market and Market Place. This route, like all the medieval roads in the town, still exists, though different sections of it now have separate narnes such as Birch Raad, Queen Street, and Victoria Raad.

The Demesnes is still a large open space, used mainly for leisure t1lough with same grazing, but it is smaller t1lan it once was, having been reduced by some runeteenth-century buildings, including schools, as well as some of it having been enclosed into separate fields and allotrnents.

Of'the really ancient buildings ofBamard Castle, almast all disappeared befare the invention of photography. However, by walking the streets one may still see some houses and inns of the seventeenth century and the town is particu1arly rich in houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Same have been converted to shops, with Victorian frontages at ground level, but a few have survived with their original appearance intact.

Two particular buildings have survived, in varying degrees, all the years that have passed since the town was first established in the twelfth century. One is the castle, which is in ruins but is still substantial enough to show the magnificence that [usnfied the remark made in the seventeenth century that it was 'fit for a king and his whole train'. The castle was added to and altered in various ways since building

began in the twelfi:h century. At first there was a smaller wooden castle on the site, but a stone replacement was begun by Bernard Baliol, one of the French farnily to whom William TI had given the right to build a castle there, and also given the responsibility of administering a large area of the surrounding countryside. The castle became known as Bernard's Castle and the town that grew beside it acquired the same name in a slightly altered form.

The other building, which survives frorn medieval times, is St. Mary's Parish Church; it has been considerably altered and enlarged over eight hundred years, but some impressive features of'the original building remain. The church was provided for me town by the Baliol family they had their own chapel within me castle walls - and was enlarged and given additional features by many benefactors since then, including Richard Ill, a later lord of the castle, when he was Duke of Gloucester; more recently in the nineteenth and twentieth century benefactors have included members of the Watson Iarnily, formerly of Spring Lodge in Newgate.

Apart from buildings mentioned in this introduetion. other examples of the historie nature of Barnard Castle can be seen tlrroughout this baak. Same features that are recorded in these pages na langer exist, but they were once significant aspects of the town; the railway is only one example, We are fortunate mat sa many photographers have exercised their skiil and artistry in this particular market town.

In 1965 me Council for BritishArchaeology produced a list of historie towns, which were 'so splendid and special that the ultimate responsibility for mem should be a national concern'. Fifty-one towns tlrroughout Britain were listed under that description. Barnard Castle was one of them,

1 On this aerial photograph of Barnard Castle the two most prominent buildings, facing each other aeross the RiverTees, are the eastle and Ullathorne's flax mill. The eastle was the first reason for the existenee of the town, and the mill, with others Iike it, gave employment to hundreds of towuspeople from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Bath are in deeay in this picture but the castle still survives. The mill was demolished in 1976 and its site is now a pleasant picnic area providing a dramatic view of the eastle. Another riverside building, on the far left, is the gasworks, which dosed in

the 1970s though the last gasholder was not demolished

until 1992. On part ofthe land formerly occupied by the gasworks there is a sheltered area provided with seat-

ing and a group of pieces of seulpture representing aspeets of the river.

2 The eastle takes pride of plaee in this picture though portions of Ullathorne's Mill ean be glimpsed thraugh the trees on the right. In the foreground are the braken remains of the weir -loeally known as the Warrens which formerly diverted the flow of the Tees towards the mill-raee, which powered the maehinery of the flax mill. Later the mill was largely eonverted to steam, though water was still also used. The braken dam was replaeed by a simtlar strueture, which was part of a system by which the Water Board gauged the flow of the river. The cast was shared by the Water Board and Barnard Castle Urban District Coun-

eil, who wanted to retain the scenic attraction of the old castle refleeted in the still water above the dam.

3 Ullathorne's mill consisted of an irnpressive group of buildings of various heights and sizes. Unfortunately most photographs on which it appears in any detail show it in the days of its decline. Once it was part of a worldwide chain of mills and the Barnard Castle mill exported its products as far afleld as Turkey as well as supplying Britain and its own irnmediate locality. It was built in 1760 andclosedin 1932, after struggling for same time against foreign compention, putting 100 employees out of work. One of their last tasks was to break up the cast-iron machinery at which they had worked. After being used for several other pur-

poses, including billeting soldiers in the Second World War, the buildings became

dangerous and had to be demolished.

4 Though Ullathorne's mill was the only industrial building on the south bank of the river in the nineteenth century, the opposite bank was lined with factories and other buildings dependant on them. The factories manufactured carpets and other woollen goods, and carpenters and metalworkers supplied maintenance services for the factories. Tanning was also carried out in this area and one of the carpet factories had facilities for dyeing woollen goods. This area became the centre of industry because the river supplied power for the machinery and also because the water was an excellent medium for dyes.

In the left foreground are the remains of the downstream

side of the weir which diverted the current through the sluice-gate (just visible)

and bebind the bushes along the mill-race to power the machinery of Thorngate Mill.

5 The concentration of sa many industrial buildings in one area was followed by over-crowded housing for the workers and their families. It suited bath the workforce and the employers that workers lived near the factories, but the space between the river and the cliff on which the castle stands was so limited that the dwellings were extremely unhygienic. In 1849 the area was the centre of an appalling cholera epidemie. In the search for space and air some houses were built high on the cliff itself and were reached by sloping paths and stone steps. In some cases the rocky face of the cliffformed the back wall of the house and in other cases the castle wall was used. The picture also shows three of the five

towers which helped to make the castle such a magnificent building in medieval times.

The right-hand tower is the remains of the house of the constable of the castle; in this

picture it supplies the back wall of the house beneath it.

6 Demolition of unhealthy properties in the riverside area began in the 1930s, but was halted by the Seeond World War. It began again in the 1950s when this photograph was taken. These large eighteenth-eentury houses in Bridgegate, onee the property of quite wealthy people, had beeome tenements for the workers in the industrial pertod. ├╝nly the one on the left of the row and the indistinet one beyond survived demolition. The large house on the right mayonee have been the Police Station with its eellar used as eells. The arms of a Stonemasons' Guild can be seen above the door; the stone is now in the Bowes Museum. The raad was sur-

prisingly narrow; bath pavements are visible to the right of the pile of bricks. The

street is now mueh wider, lawns with flowering eherry trees overlook the river, and

houses with front and back gardens have been built by the local housing authority.

7 At the junction of Thorngate, The Bank and Bridgegate this house originally stood in an ideal position to be converted into a shop. Then, when nearby factories fell into disuse and the area became less densely populated, the building was again used as housing but retained its two shop windows. Eventually it deteriorated, was pronounced unsafe and was scheduled for demolition.

On inspeetion it was found to be so insecure that a sitting room ceiling was being supported by a metal post, possiblyan old lamp-post. (The previous occupant had been the tewn's lamplighter.) The building was rescued from destruction, however, by the Teesdale Buildings Preservation Trust, a voluntary non-

profit-making body that saved and restored buildings which would otherwise have been demolished. This building was restored by the Trust to its original appearance.

8 Surely no one now remembers Thomgate when it looked like this. Thomgate and The Bank once formed onecontinuousstreetknovn as Thomgate Bank, which was the tewn's main shopping street. This shop, downhill from the junction with Bridgegate, displays large patterned plates, brass candiesticks and even, it seems, decanters and wine glasses. Even if they were all secondhand this is a surprising choice of goods for what was not a prosperous area of the town. The line of small windows below the eaves of the right-hand shop shows that the top floor was used by weavers. The workers needed as much light as possible to

illuminate their Iooms on which they wove multi-coloured textiles by machines worked by hand and foot. The house has cellars, and the

doorway between the two properties is typtcal of the entrances to the overcrowded yards round which the weavers lived.

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