Hollywood Avenue and the Garden Village - planning and development. By JOHN YARHAM
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 lamcy 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. The three mile post was 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 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 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 NER 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 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.
According to an account of the Garden Village on www.ggva.org.uk, (McQueen), 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. 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. 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.
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 be 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.
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