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Dene Park


Joe Ridley
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Can anyone tell me if there actually was a steel works at the bottom of Furnace Bank in the Dene Park area. I noticed a lot of stone work and it's near to the river and when the bridge was built?

Joe.

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@Sloopy .Dog - there was. 

This is the front cover of a book by Evan Martin  :- 

2071587964_EvanMartin5.thumb.jpg.42200bd8d495a7ef4032d376416f05de.jpg

Evan Martin, and his father, Stephen B. Martin, have published many booklets on Bedlington. The majority of the booklets contain old photos, with some info, of the town and a couple, like the one on the Iron Works (46 pages - including a few photos/images) deal with the one specific topic.

These are some of their booklets :-

 

Evan Martin.jpg

Evan Martin2.jpg

Evan Martin3.jpg

Evan Martin4.jpg

Evan Martin6.jpg

Evan Martin and Steven Martin.jpg

If you use the Search bar at the top right of the page and input "Evan Martin"  you will be returned loads of postings that include extracts from the Martin books. Without the quotes you would get everything that had the single words Evan and Martin included in the posting.

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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Bedlington  Iron (and locomotive) Works occupied that site. It was later taken over as housing for the increasing population of miners in Bebside and became known as Bebside Furnace. You can read a short history here:

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Bedlington_Ironworks

and there are some photos in the gallery of the bridge, Dene House and Clock House.

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I have done a bit of research today in to Bedlington Ironworks and downloaded several good photo's  I always wondered what hade been there when I saw the stone rubble.  The bridge is beautiful and must have been a great site to see when it was first built.

Joe                

FURNACE BRIDGE, BEDLINGTON.jpg

Dene House3.jpg

Bedlington Ironworks 1910.webp

Bebside Furnace 3.jpg

Blyth Dene, Ironworks..pdf

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Nice picture from 1910! I haven't seen that one before. Looking at the last photo, you can see some of the housing of Bebside Furnace at the top of the hill. My parents started their married life there in the 1920s. By 1934 they had moved down the hill and were living in the house to the right of the bridge in the picture. That is Clock House, part of the old Iron Works.

I've childhood memories of hurtling down that hill from Bebside in the upstairs front seat of a double decker bus which took the bend onto the bridge at what i thought was break-neck speed. It's a wonder we ever made it to Bedlington.

Edited by Canny lass
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I am surprisedthat the ran buses over that bridge.  If you look at it closely it's had a fair bashing over the years.  There doesn't seem to be any signs showing that it was once a working ironworks.  It's an important piece of Bedlingtons history.

Joe.

Bedlington Ironworks 01.webp

Furnace Bank 1930s Evan Martin.jpg

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2 hours ago, Canny lass said:

 That is Clock House, part of the old Iron Works.

 

And with the clock :- 

1166897284_ClockHouse1899.thumb.jpg.76723f9cbadba23c5fb73c9846d1c873.jpg

Joe - I haven't been to see the Iron Works sculpture and Google Street view of the area near the Furnace Bridge is still 2009. There was a sculpture near the bridge and I thought there was a plaque giving details of what the sculpture was for. @Malcolm Robinson was involved (I'm sure :)

GloBedRailSculpture_2013.thumb.jpg.bdca2fe35606052fa8ccc968069a0009.jpg

NE22_SD_S006-005.thumb.jpg.94db77a0fc26f58b8422337bba66939f.jpg

Further into the Free Woods there is another sculpture linked to the Iron Works :-

NE22_SD_S007-006.thumb.jpg.71e3e8c0c33eab85f0ddc83fd107dced.jpg

NE22_SD_S007-010.jpg

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That first photo of 1902 is interesting, James! You can clearly see the bridge as it was before the new parapet was added and I think I can just about make out the clock tower on the back of Clock House. I've often wondered when that disappeared. I've found it on maps from 1866 and 1922 but it doesn't appear on the 1938 map.

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1 hour ago, Canny lass said:

That first photo of 1902 is interesting, James! You can clearly see the bridge as it was before the new parapet was added and I think I can just about make out the clock tower on the back of Clock House. I've often wondered when that disappeared. I've found it on maps from 1866 and 1922 but it doesn't appear on the 1938 map.

@Canny lassOn the Blyth FB group Bob Simmons posted this photo of the bridge  and the Clock House is still there but he didn't have a date for the photo. I posted the photo on the Bygone Bedlington FB group hoping some car geek would recognise the vehicles on the Hairpin Bend and come up with an approximate date but it didn't happen:(.

1912833216_FurnaceBridge.thumb.png.a6b571c01e2c8c9656feebab15c1ca56.png

@John Fox (foxy) - four years ago posted the following photo of the Clock House and I was able to add a couple of comments. On the Bedlington remembered FB group (I am no longer a member of that group) one member said his mam had some of the engraved stone plague, that was above the door of the Clock House, in her garden. and would like it to be passed on to anyone that was interested - that was probably 4 or 5 years ago.

I contacted east Bedlington Council, via email, and I did get a reply from a secretary who said that a councilor (can't remember the name) was given a budget to look into the history of the area and hopefully document the info found and possibly commission some feature to display the info/history uncovered.  Unfortunately after a few emails and many months the response from east Bedlington Council ceased so I assume the research was dropped. I had a good tidy out of my email inbox and i deleted the emails on this subject as I assumed no more would be heard.

This is the photo Foxy posted and you can see from my comment a bit of what was on the plaque above the door. The article, that my link to the newspaper article pointed to, no longer exists.

Perhaps I should have asked Tracey Gair, her family might have known something:)

2110153689_ClockHouseinscription.png.b056f475aa99986d544ccc65913bc425.png

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40 minutes ago, Sloopy .Dog said:

Was the Clock House a church? as it has that type of windows.

Joe.

 

@Sloopy .Dog - never sen it refered to as a church but according to a transcipt on the Iron Wporks by Christopher Bergen  the inscription above the door was :- 

.....................From Hawkes and Longridge the concern passed to Biddulph and Gordon, of

London. It is difficult to decide when their ownership began or ended. Wallace says

that they held them for 50 years. In that case they must have acquired them at the

sale just mentioned, but in the ‘New County History.’ Mr Forster, quoting ‘The

Industrial Resources of the Tyne, Tees and Wear,’ says they acquired them in 1809.

This, of course, makes Wallace’s statement impossible. They certainly did hold them

in 1829. The clock house appears to have been built by them, a stone over the door

being carved with the date 1829, the initials of ‘G & B’ and a Latin inscription

VIVITUR IGNE ET AQUA ET FERRO DEO FAVENTE,’ of which a rough rendering

would be: ‘We live by fire and water and iron and God’s favour’...............

 

Bedlington Ironworks- Christopher Bergen.docx

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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50 minutes ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

Perhaps I should have asked Tracey Gair, her family might have known something

I'm afraid you've been mislead there, Eggy. Tracey Gair's mother-in-law, Margaret (Peggy Gair) was born in Back Stone Row, Bebside Furnace as were her following 3 siblings. The family didn't move to Clock House until 6 years after Peggy's birth and lived there only 2 years before moving into the Arcade on Glebe Road.

BTW Foxy's photo is dated 1899.

Edited by Canny lass
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51 minutes ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

On the Blyth FB group Bob Simmons posted this photo of the bridge  and the Clock House is still there but he didn't have a date for the photo.

Now it's me who might be doing the misleading! I was wondering when the clock tower disappeared - not Clock House. Clock House is still shown on maps dated 1938 but the clock tower (which appears to be attached to the rear of the building) last appears on the 11922 map.

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Joe, I don't know much about the history of the house, other than that when my parents lived there, 1933-35, it comprised two dwellings (and it's shown as such on earlier maps). I agree, it is a bit churchy in appearance and it does have an central door on the left gable end as can be seen in the photo which James posted. I haven't seen it marked as a church on any maps but I can have a look through some old census records and see if I can find any early information.

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I've had a quck look at Clock House, through the census records and a few older maps. I can find nothing in either the census records or on the maps to suggest a church on that site. In fact, the building itself doesn’t seem to be named in any census before 1871 when it appears as ”Clock House” comprising five separate occupied dwellings. It’s worth remembering that the Bedlington Iron Works had closed some four years earlier in 1867. The families living there in 1871 were exclusively mineworkers families – possibly part of the great influx that ocurred around that time to cope with the íncreased demand for coal. The enumerator’s district description for 1871 includes for the first time ”some houses at Bedlington Iron Works” and Clock House is one of them. (also included are Garden House, Barrack Row and Bridge House).

 

That’s not to say that people didn’t live at the Iron Works prior to 1871. The 1851 district descripton records ”houses in Cowpen Township at Bedlington Iron Works” and shows 35-40 dwellings recorded simply as ”Furnace” in the enumerator’s book. Judging by their recorded occupation, the residents were exclusively Iron Works employees. If Clock House was one of these dwellings is impossible to say as there were no individual addresses recorded at that time.

Interestingly, Clock House appears as ”Clock Tower” in the 1901 census, when it houses four families.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 06/01/2022 at 13:27, Canny lass said:

 The family didn't move to Clock House until 6 years after Peggy's birth and lived there only 2 years before moving into the Arcade on Glebe Road.

 

@Canny lass have yo ever seen any photos of The Arcade  or does it feature on any maps? I can't find it named anywhere.

There is a member, on the Bygone Bedlington FB group asking about it :-

 

MQ The Arcade.jpg

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19 hours ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

 have yo ever seen any photos of The Arcade  or does it feature on any maps? I can't find it named anywhere.

I believe Arcade (no definite article) features on maps from as early as 1860 but not by name - only the buildings. Comparing the enumerators route along Glebe Row in the 1901 and 1911 census together with the 1939 register, I pinpoint it here (map from 1922):

 

1922 Arcade.jpg

My parents lived there 1935-39. The name "Arcade" doesn't appear on the 1901 census where everything on the east side of the road, with the exception of the Alma Inn and the Tankerville Arms, has the address "Glebe Row".

First in 1911 can we see that the six resident families are calling it "Arcade" - the majority without a number (only 2 and 6 give a number). The district enumerator, however, does not use the address "Arcade". He is still calling it Glebe Row. From this I draw the conclusion that Arcade is the familiar name used by the residents but not yet officially accepted.

As the residents are calling it "Arcade" I can only assume that the place has some features of an arcade and I believe that the 'alleyway' I've pointed out above was covered (hence the elongated x which appears on this and all other maps way back to 1860.

This position is also consistent with the 1939 register. 

Edited by Canny lass
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6 minutes ago, Canny lass said:

I believe Arcade (no definite article) features on maps from as early as 1860 but not by name - only the buildings. Comparing the enumerators route along Glebe Row in the 1901 and 1911 census together with the 1939 register, I pinpoint it here (map from 1922):

 

1922 Arcade.jpg

@Canny lass - Thank you - info passed on to Maureen Quait (nee Halloran - ex Westridge pupil).

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18 minutes ago, Canny lass said:

The name "Arcade" doesn't appear on the 1901 census where everything on the east side of the road, with the exception of the Alma Inn and the Tankerville Arms, has the address "Glebe Row".

I should point out that the buldings were there even if the name was not. The end of the 1800s and the introducton of a postal service created a need for more specific addresses and many 'familiar names' became official.

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5 hours ago, Canny lass said:

I believe Arcade (no definite article) features on maps from as early as 1860 but not by name - only the buildings. Comparing the enumerators route along Glebe Row in the 1901 and 1911 census together with the 1939 register, I pinpoint it here (map from 1922):

 

1922 Arcade.jpg

My parents lived there 1935-39. The name "Arcade" doesn't appear on the 1901 census where everything on the east side of the road, with the exception of the Alma Inn and the Tankerville Arms, has the address "Glebe Row".

First in 1911 can we see that the six resident families are calling it "Arcade" - the majority without a number (only 2 and 6 give a number). The district enumerator, however, does not use the address "Arcade". He is still calling it Glebe Row. From this I draw the conclusion that Arcade is the familiar name used by the residents but not yet officially accepted.

As the residents are calling it "Arcade" I can only assume that the place has some features of an arcade and I believe that the 'alleyway' I've pointed out above was covered (hence the elongated x which appears on this and all other maps way back to 1860.

This position is also consistent with the 1939 register. 

@Canny lass - Maureen & Kath say thankyou

Thanks.png

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On 06/01/2022 at 14:59, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

@Sloopy .Dog - never sen it refered to as a church but according to a transcipt on the Iron Wporks by Christopher Bergen  the inscription above the door was :- 

.....................From Hawkes and Longridge the concern passed to Biddulph and Gordon, of

London. It is difficult to decide when their ownership began or ended. Wallace says

that they held them for 50 years. In that case they must have acquired them at the

sale just mentioned, but in the ‘New County History.’ Mr Forster, quoting ‘The

Industrial Resources of the Tyne, Tees and Wear,’ says they acquired them in 1809.

This, of course, makes Wallace’s statement impossible. They certainly did hold them

in 1829. The clock house appears to have been built by them, a stone over the door

being carved with the date 1829, the initials of ‘G & B’ and a Latin inscription

VIVITUR IGNE ET AQUA ET FERRO DEO FAVENTE,’ of which a rough rendering

would be: ‘We live by fire and water and iron and God’s favour’...............

 

Bedlington Ironworks- Christopher Bergen.docx 39.57 kB · 6 downloads

In Evan Martin’s book ‘Bedlington Iron and Engine Works’, he states that in 1829 a workmen’s institute was built where books and newspapers could be read and courses were run for the employees. He goes on to say that inscribed on a stone in the institute was the company’s motto ‘Vivitur Igne et Aqua er Ferro Deo Favente’ (We live by fire, water, iron and the grace of God) Although he doesn’t say that this was the clock house, after reading the document written by Christopher Bergen posted by Canny Lass, it must have been. Bergen’s document says the Clock House had a stone above the door with the same motto mentioned by Evan Martin with the date 1829. He also states the Annual Meetings of the Relief Fund was held here followed by a dinner provided by management. It would appear that the clock house was the workmen’s institute converted to housing after the works closed. I have attached an old photo of the bandstand taken from the hairpin bend behind the 7 poplars we used to call the ‘Seven Sisters’.

1678930772_TheSevenSisters2.thumb.jpg.43962153a825dc4a5b070c75e078340b.jpg

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