Bensham Grove
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Gateshead Town Fields

There was what was known as 'common land' near each town and village, which was for the benefit of the inhabitants in that they could graze their livestock there. These lands, of medieval origin, in Gateshead covered the area bounded by Coatsworth Road; Claremont Road; from there west to Saltwell Road; to Bensham; west to the river Team; downstream to Low Team Bridge; up Derwentwater Road to Dixon Street; then east to Bensham Road taking in Ross Terrace and Fourth Street, and then up Bensham Road to its junction with Coatsworth Road. Windmill Hills and Gateshead Fell were also included.



Bensham Grove

(The Jewel in the Town 1801-1919)

In the early 1800’s Joshua Watson, a cheesemonger living over his shop in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, purchased Bensham Grove, together with three allotments on Gateshead Town Fields. He planned to use the house as a country cottage for his family.

The River Tyne, although not as polluted as it easy to become in later years, was already showing the signs of being a hive of industry and commerce of the future. It is no surprise, therefore, that Joshua was attracted to the golden cornfields, bluebell woods and windmills of Bensham. It was near enough to continue his business on the Quayside, but rural and healthy for the children.

More Pictures (Click here)

And so began the lifelong involvement that three successive generations of the same family had with the house called Bensham Grove. All belonging to a well respected Quaker family, Joshua, Joseph and Robert lived with their families almost continually at Bensham Grove until the early 1920’s. Each generation enlarged and improved the house, resulting in an eclectic mix of Georgian and Victorian features.

In later years, when the house was donated to the Bensham Grove community as centre for learning, it became known as the Bensham Settlement. Although suffering some inevitable changes, the essence of the house remains. It is easy to picture the children playing in the garden, or to visualise the formal dinners where distinguished guests from all walks of life sat down with the three ‘fine specimens of good North Country Englishmen, Quakers….with strong solid intellect…’

Bensham Grove to this day still follows their principles and beliefs in promoting and improving life in the Bensham community……….

To be continued…..

Esto quod esse videris

Be what you seem to be (Fireplace in the dining room)

The Intelligentia

Was a group of learned, well off people who believed that the poor should also have a right to be educated. They set out to provide those facilities..........

More to come......








February 14, 2016

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A Victorian Welcome.




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