Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in old picture postcards volume 1

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in old picture postcards volume 1

:   William Harrison
:   Northumberland
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3000-4
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in old picture postcards volume 1'

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As we look at Newbiggin today, a village with very little industry, it is difficult to imagine that at least four previous villages were situated here, and that seven hundred years ago it was a place of some maritime importance. An artiele in the Morpeth Herald in 1911 said that 'Newbiggin formerly stood in importanee on somewhat the same footing as Newcastle'. In 1240 the village was held by John de Baliol who was Regent of Scotland, and a man of great learning. He founded Ballol College, Oxford. During the next five hundred years ownership of the village passed from Baliol hands to the Earl of Brittany and Richmond, John de Denton, and to Gerald de Widdrington, whose family held the estates untill715.

In the fourteenth century the village had a pier, part of which still remained in 1832. In 1310 'Newbygging' was asked by King Edward II to provide help in the war against the Scots, and six years later the King granted the village the right to collect tolls for loading and unloading goods upon the quays. In 1336 all ships in Newbiggin belonging to the King's service were told to join the Northem Fleet at Orwell in Suffolk. A year later 'Three or four of its most discreet and honest men' attended a Council at Warwick, in order to discuss matters of great importance. By the latter half of the fourteenth century the pier had become in bad condition. Thomas Hadfield, who as Bishop of Durham was responsible for the parish ofwhich Newbiggin was a part, assumed the responsibility of finding the money to repair it. Ta those who contributed towards the cost of the rep airs the priest granted F orty Days Indulgence.

Little is known of the village from the fourteenth century to the nineteenth century. One of the few records available mentions a Landlord receiving one hundred pounds per year for leasing a coal mine in 1663.

It seems that during this time the village was governed by Bailiffs appointed by the people themselves, or by Freeholders acting on behalf of the people. The Rights and Privileges of the Freeholders go back to 1235 and these have influenced the growth of Newbiggin, even to the present day. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the village consisted of one irregular street in which there were some substantial houses, public houses and good retail shops. At this time conditions in the village were not very good. As the thirteenth century church was in ruin, a suggestion was put forward that it be left to decay, and a new one built in its place. This however met with the disapproval of the fishermen, and it was rebuilt in 1846 by Public Subscription. From this time the village seems to have prospered, and in the latter half of the century churches and schools were built, a gas company formed, and the National Lifeboat Institution built a station. An institute which contained a library and billiard tables, several public houses, two golf clubs, and other sporting associations served the residents in their leisure time. At this time Newbiggin owed its prosperity to the fishing industry, but until the turn of the century most visitors preferred to regard it as a holiday resort. The development of the Colliery had a great influence on its growth. It resulted in

miners houses being built in what was to be known as 'The Colliery'. These colliery houses were separated from the original village, but a number of good quality houses were also built as an extension to the village street.

In the twenty years after 1891 the population rose from 1,388 to 3,466. At this time improvements were being made to the living conditions in the village. The Improvement Committee reported each month on the sewer and scavenging improvernents, regular maintenance of wells, roads, and footpaths, and better Iighting on the streets. A1terations to private houses were going ahead with a steady stream of plans being submitted to the Committee for approval. A strict control was kept on all kinds of developrnent, ranging from houses and shops, to small sheds, wash houses, and cow byers.

The 1920's saw the erection of Council Houses, and 328 state aided homes were built. With more private houses being built in other parts of the village. the population continued to rise, and by 1931 had reached 8,640. A1though these houses were built away from the original village the main shopping centre remained in the older part.

Although the village was so important seven hundred years ago, there are few buildings of historica! interest. St. Mary's Church at Woodhom, and St. Bartholomew's Church on the Point, are the only two buildings which are worthy of its great past. Delving into the past can, however, reveal much more than architectural gems. I have found a village which

for many years was an 'island' , in that poor roads made it self-supporting, and that it contained people who were hardy, courageous, and above all had a great sense ofhumour.


I would like to thank the many people who have allowed me to use their photographs in the past, some of them are reproduced in this book. Also the North Eastern Co-operative Society, for allowing me to use photographs which originally appeared in 'Newbiggin's Democracy'. Thanks also to Newcast1e upon Tyne City Libraries, for giving me permission to publish photographs from their fine collection in the Local Studies Department.


Ashington Advertiser. Copies of Docurnents relating to Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland County Library.

History of the Port of Blyth. C.E. Baldwin.

Ncwbiggin Golf Club Limited Centenary 1884-1984. T.

Chape and W. Ogilvie.

Newbiggin 's Democracy. Newbiggin District Industrial and Provident Society Limited.

The influence of the Coal Mining Industry on the Geography of the Ashington-Bedlington area. L.M. Dent.

Minutes - Newbiggin Local Board.

Minutes - Newbiggin Improvement Committee.

1. Gibson Street with open fields between the Presbyterian Church and the Railway Station. Members of the church had problems in the dark winter nights. In 1876, an application was made for the gas lamp at the corner of Mr. Hugh Bolam's house to be moved to the opposite side of the road, so that people attending the church wou1d have some advantage from the light. With so many horses and carts using the road it was often in a bad state of repair, and it needed regular maintenance. Road stones co st two shillings and three pence per ton, railway carriage per ton was two shillings and eleven pence, and the cost of breaking each ton of stones amounted to two shillings and nine pence. In 1876 the co st of maintaining the roads and footpaths was !250.

2. Gibson Street in the 1890's. A peaceful scene, with visitors having a leisurely stroll, and children able to walk on the road with only the odd cart and bicycle to disturb them. Many of these better class houses had wells in their gardens, but those who didn't were able to get their water from a pump near the station. There were often outbreaks of measles, and in 1897 there were several cases of typhoid in the Gibson Street area. It was found that the drain in a back yard was in a very bad state. In Windsor Terrace the ashpit and privy of one house had an open conneetion with the kitchen, and of course the whole house was unsanitary. The owner was told that the premises must be put into a sanitary condition. and this he promised to do. In that year there were eighty-eight births and twenty-six deaths in the village.

fronr 5tree~. Newbiggin-by-Sea.

3. The new Wesleyan Chapel was opened on 28th October 1876 when the Reverend T. Overton of Newcastle preached to a large congregation. The designs for the chapel were supplied by architect MI. F.R.N. Haswell of North Shields. The church cost il ,400 to build, and had seating for three hundred people. The architect's fees amounted to f.60-l4s.-11d. A bazaar in aid of church funds was held in July 1878, the first of many in the last hundred years. It was opened by Robert Watson Esq. of North Seaton Hall, and realized ;(90. Even in those days the names of Dent, Downie, Brown, Dawson, Taylor, Storey and Gibson were prominent in the church as they worked on the various stalls.

4. Front Street in 1910 with some old established shops on the east side of the street, Robert Rutherford. chemist, and William Maddison, grocer, traded there for many years. Although the chemist's shop was always very busy, many people still used remedies which had been relied up on for many years. Older readers will still remember being given large doses of castor-oil, whieh seemed to be a eure for everything. For a bad cold a concoction of treac1e and brimstone seemed to do the trick. Many still remember with horror the doses of Gregory Powder which were given for an upset stomach. Agnes Renner who lived in Prospect Place made her own 'Piek-me-up'. She boiled eod liver and made cod liver oil, It was potent stuff, for it of ten had pieces of liver floating in it when it was sold,


5. The White House was built in 1704. It was originally a farm house and belonged to the Baker-Cresswells, The farm had several tenants during the nineteenth century, including several members of the Oram family. Behind the White House, where Allison's Yard now stands, were farm cottages, outbuildings and stables. The well opposite Woodhorn Lane sometimes failed in dry weather, but altogether the village had a sufficient supply of water though many people had to carry it a long way. The fact that the weU was only a few yards from the main sewer worried the Council, and eventually it was closed after a boy is reputed to have died after drinking from it.

6. The Quay Wall area in the early 1880's. The shop where the Post Office now stands was owned by William Brown who was a chemist and a grocer. A member of the Presbyterian Church, he took an active interest in their affairs. Thomas Wilkie who was standing in the doorway of his shop wouldn't have been looking after his boxes in the roadway. In those days shopkeepers could display their wares with little chance of them being stolen. A Freeholder, Thomas was their secretary and treasurer for over twenty-five years. The shopkeepers were having trouble with flooding in this low lying part of the village. It was recommended that a water channel be built by the side of the street opposite Mr. Wilkie's shop, in order to alleviate the situation.

7. The houses and shops leading towards Bridge End. Many of the street names have changed in the last hundred years, and few remember which streets were once named Wansbeck Terrace, Springfield Terrace, and Lome Terrace. The east side of the street has remained almost unaltered, but the west side had only two or three shops in those days. With only one gas lamp on each side of the street, it is little wonder that the locals went to bed early at that time. Although the pavements had been made up there was only a dirt road, and water carts used to go around laying the dust. The number of children on the street would have caused some concern. A report issued by the Church of England Infants School said that 'very few infants are being admitted while several of the older children attend very badly in fine weather owing to their parents finding something for them to do in the shape of sorting their lines or seeking worms'.

8. More children absent from school. Many of their parents couldn't afford to send their children to school, but an inspeetor said that they were the most ignorant and extravagant people I have come across. The Father can always find money to spend in the public house and the children can be indulged in coffee and bacon in a moming, besides a penny to come to school, and a promise that they may stay away from school on Friday, and yet they are constantly pleading poverty. Last winter several people made them dinners of soup, and some parties were actually known to go for it, carry it home, and then put it down the sink. Naturally he reported that work at the school was very unsatisfactory as there was such a bad attendance.

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