(The Jewel in the Town 1801-1919)
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
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.
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)
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..........