Tynemouth in old picture postcards

Tynemouth in old picture postcards

:   Eric Hollerton
:   Tyne & Wear
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3496-5
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Tynemouth in old picture postcards'

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Perched high above the North Sea, its wide main street leading to the Castle gate, Tynemouth Village probably owes its existence to the Benedictine Priory and the later fortifications. The pilgrims of the Middle Ages, seeking the shrine of Saint Oswin, would eertainly have attracted people to settle near the monastery. The castIe, built to proteet the Tyne from the insurrections and Scottish wars which bedevilled the North, would have been a souree of comfort to many. As time passed, and the country became more settled, the castle's importance grew less immediate. By the end of the eighteenth century the bulk of the population in the area lived on the cramped banksides of the industrial town of North Shields. Wind-swept, open, and largely free of the manufacturing and poor sanitation ofthe Tyneside towns, the village began to attract those who could travel, as a health resort. The popularisation of sea-bathing, by the Prince Regent, and the discovery of a chalybeate spring, would eertainly have helped Tynemouth's growth. There was even a certain amount offeedback from the visitors. Harriet Martineau published her 'Letters from the Sick-Room' whilst staying at Tynemouth from 1839 to 1844. She contributed to the health of the village by draining the main street, and providing a well. In

another instanee, William Scott, a regular visitor , erected a fountain in 1861.

The villagers encouraged visitors by providing lodgings, bathing-machines, and a growing range of amusements. The Fry and Linkleter families being foremost in this for over a hundred years.

By the middle of the nineteenth century the railways were serving the village. It became possible to work in Newcastle and live at the coast. With this in mind, the local landowner, the Duke of Northumberland, laid out an estate on the edge of Tynemouth. Between 1871 and 1881 the population increased by almost one third.

The Aquarium and Winter Garden, which had been intended as a draw for tourists, was not the hoped-for success, but the early 1880s saw no fall in Tynemouth's popularity. The opening of a railway line connecting Newcastle with the coastal and colliery villages, and cheap fares, made Tynemouth attractive to the growing number of excursionists. The local Council were making efforts to provide amenities, including a policeman to enforce modesty on the beaches. About this time, Matthew Auty, a tobacconist and dabbier in photography, threw up his trade to open a studio in Front Streel. His views of the coast and surrounding

countryside quickly became popular. Auty Limited claimed to have been the first to introduce the Continental idea of picture postcards to the north of England.

Auty's views familiarised prospective visitors with the charms of the area. The Priory, of course, was a popular subject, pictured from manyangles. The Long Sands still attract thousands of visitors, despite the loss of the bathing-machines and sales booths he often recorded. The N orth Pier was already a popular promenade, with its views ofthe castle, the many ships trading in the Tyne, and even glimpses ofthe fishing fleet. Along the coast and river, today's ships pass without concern the rocks and shoals which once were a souree of exciting pictures. Lifeboats could be counted upon to stir the blood. The Tyne had seen the invention of the self-righting boat, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institutien's first motorised craft was stationed at Tynemouth. It was also the birthplace of the Volunteer Life Brigades, and still has one of the few remaining.

Many of the quaint old cottages have been cleared away. East Street no longer clings to the cliffs over King Edward's Bay, and Percy Square was replaced by the monumental bulk of the Sir James Knott Flats.

One church is a shopping arcade and the cinema has been demolished. Tynemouth, however, continues to attract visitors to its sands and historie buildings. The village has many eating and drinking places, made accessible over a wide area by the Tyneside Metro, but still retains a few quiet corners and a sense of elegant charm.

The pictures are from the stock of the Local Studies Centre in the Old Central Library, North Shields, and the text was compiled from books, periodicals and documents in its possession. The Centre exists to preserve the records of the area currently within the Borough of North Tyneside,and to make them available to the public.

Thanks are due to all those members of the public who allowed the Local Studies Centre to copy items from their collections, Pictures from the Auty collection, numbered 16, 22, 27, 35, 45, 46, 56, 61, 63, 64, 65, 75, 81,82,83,90,91,93,95,99,109,116,119,125,127, 128,129,133,134,136,137,138 and 140, are included courtesy of Newcastle City Libraries. Special thanks are due to Mrs. Shirley Ellis, for her help in buying original postcards.

1. The Long Sands beach has always been one of Tynemouth's main tourist attractions. Donkeys and ponies were provided for the trippers to ride; this small herd seems to be wandering free on the rough grass banks above the beach. In the background is the neighbouring fishing village of Cullercoats, marked by the steeple of Saint George's Church. The building was erected between 1880 and 1884 at the expense of the Duke of Northumberland, in memory of his father. The large house in the centre of the picture was known as Beaconsfield.

2. Alocal coal-owner and philanthropist, John Henry Burn, began the building of Beaconsfield House in about 1882. He died at the turn of the century, but his widow continued in occupation for many years. One of Mister Burn's charities was the Diocesan Home for Friendless Girls, in Cullercoats, to which he contributed heavily. Given his interest in the welfare of children, he would probably have approved of the use of his house as a children's home. Doctor Barnardo's Homes bought it in 1945. Tynemouth Council purchased Beaconsfield House, and demolished it in 1957. Now only a square of earth banks marks the site.

3. In Victorian times it was the custom for tourists to bring tents and small canvas shelters to the beach. In the 1910s, however, a number of small bungalows began to appear. The local Councillaid down the basic size, and the owners built their own. The differing designs, and occasionallack of maintenance in the 1920s, led the Council to worry about the effect the motley appearance would have on the attractiveness of the Long Sands. There was a plan to erect a lower promenade with purpose built chalets, but nothing came ofit. In the summer of 1940, the Army took over the beach, and demolished all the old bungalows.

4. One of the earliest of the bungalows on Tynemouth Long Sands belonged to John Thomas Porter, a grocer in North Shields and an Alderman on Tynemouth Borough Council from 1916. He is seated below the verandah, holding out his golf club, and around him are his friends and family. The photograph was taken in 1914 or earlier, and Mister Porter continued to enjoy the use of the bungalow until his death in 1937. Many of the chalets were owned by people in the nearby industrial towns, and it was the custom for such parties to spend days at the beach, bringing with them their food, and anything else necessary for their pleasure.

5. South-east Northumberland is relatively flat, and before the coastal villages became dormitory towns, it was possible to see for considerable distances from Tynemouth Long Sands. From Sharpness Point the photographer looked northwards towards Whitley Village and Monkseaton. On the horizon is a steeple, which may be that of Saint Paul's Church, Whitley; it was opened in 1864. Various tourist attractions are laid out on the beach, including boats for hire, bathing-machines, and refreshment rooms.

6. In the 1860s, when most of Tynemouth was still clustered around Front Street, there was a row of wooden cottages on the Long Sands, catering to the needs of the growing tourist industry. The building to the left was Mary Ann McIntyre's; she offered lodgings. In the centre are Mrs. Frances Scott's refreshment rooms. Next is John Nicholson's cottage. Ajoiner and cabinet-maker, he lived there with his extensive family, and also took lodgers. At the right is an establishment which was a beerhouse run by William Coverdale, and at anothertime by the Rollfamily. Later, as a temperanee café, itwasoccupied by a Mister Appleby. The whole row was cleared in the building of the Plaza.

7. From early in the nineteenth century people had been attracted to Tynemouth for the sea-bathing. In the interests of modesty and easy access to the water, fleets of bathing-machines began to appear. A number are parked in the foreground, at least one of which belonged to Joseph Coats, of Tynemouth, who operated in the 1880s and 1890s. At the top of the Bank is the building which came to be known as the Plaza. A gleam of glass shows that at this time it still had its original roof. The building in the background was part of the same development. When planned, it was intended to be a skating-rink, which could be flooded for use as a swimming-pool.


8. Late in the 1870s a ninety-year lease was obtained from the Duke of Northumberland, and the old beach cottages were cleared away. It was intended to build a new Crystal Palace as the centrepieee of a hoped-for 'Brighton ofthe North'. As planned, there was to be a winter garden at Promenade level, under a glass roof. Below, it would have a large aquarium, with refreshment rooms beneath, and a promenade at be ach level. Tynemouth Aquarium and Winter Garden opened to the public in 1878, to short-lived success. The cost of sinking the foundations into the sand forced the sale of the building in 1880.

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