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Interested in exploring Lemington and Newburn a bit more?

Want to know a bit more about their histories?

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Key locations along the Lemington Newburn Route

Key locations:

  1. Look across the river towards Blaydon - note how the terraces go up the hill rather than following the contours.
  2. Sugley Dene.
  3. Evidence of the railway still exists - look for the old Station House here.
  4. The Holy Saviour Church.
  5. One of the many crossing points that allowed the workforce to cross the railway to their place of work on the Tyne.
  6. The Lemington Community Centre provides a useful and valuable resource to the local community. Refreshments and toilets are available here.
  7. Note the last of the remaining kilns.
  8. Education and the church was closely linked.
  9. Site of the Percy Pit.
  10. Culverted stone bridge carrying the waggonway.
  11. The once Royal Borough of Newburn.

About Lemington

Lemington, Bellís Close and Sugley were adjacent villages which developed in the nineteenth century around the new industries which took advantage of the coal and clay deposits as well as the nearby water transport.

They were all part of the parish of Sugley. In the sixteenth century there was a Lamedon Mill and a Lamedon House and in 1638 the staithes at Lemendon are recorded. There was also a brickyard, tileshed, blacking factory and boatyard at Bellís Close at this time.

1787 the Northumberland Glass Company obtained a lease on some land at Lemington from the Duke of Northumberland and set up four glasshouses. Glass manufacture continued on the site until 1882 when it stopped and the land was leased to Spencerís Iron Works. Glass making moved to a different site in Lemington.

In 1797 the Tyne Iron Works was established in Lemington 'for the cast iron extracting by the action of fire in large furnaces from ironstoneÖÖ to produce everything from an anchor to a needle' but in 1869 it was taken over by John Spencer & Sons and restarted as the Tyne Haematite Iron Company in 1871 using Spanish ore. The furnaces finally closed in 1886 and in 1903 the Newcastle & district Lighting Company erected a power station on the site.

Lemington Staithes and Lemington Point were the termination of many coal wagonways including the Wylam and Wallbottle wagonways. The coal was delivered to the staithes and then dropped into the many waiting Keel boats to take it out to the collier ships anchored in the River Tyne.

In 1876 with the coming of the railways a 'new' Lemington developed 'up the bank' north of the railway line. In the same year the Tyne Commissioners cut a new channel in the river near Blaydon and the entrance to Lemington Loop was cut off and silted up. This area is now called 'The Gut'. Continuous dredging was needed to keep the staithes clear.

By mid nineteenth century Lemington Point was the finishing line for skiff races starting at either the Tyne or Scotswood Bridges. The famous oarsman, Harry Clasper, frequently entered these races.

There was an island at Lemington Point which was locally known as 'Canary Island' during World War I because of the effect cordite had on the skins of the munitions workers. The land was reclaimed after World War II and in 1958 the Anglo Great Lakes Corporation Ltd. Built a plant for the conversion of carbon into graphite for use in the nuclear industry. This was the beginning of the Lemington Industrial Estate.

Holy Saviour Church was originally called Sugley Parish Church when it was built in 1837. It was designed by Benjamin Green and is unusual because it is oriented north-south, rather than east-west, to avoid an unused pit shaft underneath it. The Parish Day School was attached until 1937 when it closed. There were three churches in the area. 1838 a Weslyan Chapel was built by the Keelmen who ferried the stone form Heworth in Gateshead and in 1868 St. Georgeís Roman Catholic Church was built with an attached school, which is still in use.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Lemington was a hive of industry which gradually dwindled until by the late twentieth century there was very little left. However, the people of Lemington would not be beaten and today there is a general regeneration going on.

About Newburn

Newburn has its origins in Saxon time when it was a Royal Burgh, originally called New Burgh.

In 1067 the Earl of Northumberland, Copsi, was burned alive in St Michaelís Church.

The Percy family of Northumberland acquired 1367 Newburn. It comprised a Dovecote, two watermills, a brewery, a salmon fishery, a coalmine and a stone quarry for stone slates. By 1613 all the local woods had been used for pit props in the local mines. From the twelfth century the Manor of Newburn contained Newburn, Newburn Hall, Throckley, Wallbottle, Butterley and Whorlton. Newburn Haven was still used in the seventeenth century to send goods by water to Newcastle.

The 1828 Directory reported that Newburn had many extensive iron works, coal staithes, brick and tile yards, chemical works, a crown glass house, two corn mills, a paper mill and a coalmine.

1640 was the date of the famous Battle of Newburn when the Scottish army, under General Leslie, defeated the English army and laid siege to Newcastle which he later occupied for a whole year.

Newburn was always an important crossing point on the River Tyne because itsí fords provided river crossings at the tidal limit. There were three fords: Newburn Ford to the west; Kelshaw Ford to the east and the Riding Ford in the middle. Romans, Saxons, Scots and English used these fords.

In 1723 horse racing took place on Newburn Sands for a four guinea Plate.

In 1894 Newburn Urban District Council was formed and the new iron bridge was erected in time for that years Blaydon races. This was a Toll Bridge until 1947.

George Stephenson lived in Newburn and both his marriages are recorded in the Church registers. Newburn was a great mining and railway area with Duke Pit, Blucher Pit, king Pit plus North Wallbottle and Coronation Pits nearby.

The remains of Newburn Hall, a fifteenth century Pele Tower to which a sixteenth century dwelling was added, are embedded in what was Spencerís Steel Works immediately north of the railway line.

The inventor of 'Puffing Billy' one of the first locomotives, William Hedley, was born in Newburn in 1779. 'Puffing' Billy' was used on the Wylam wagonway, from 1813, to transport coal from the mines to the staithes at Lemington. This wagonway eventually became the Scotswood, Newburn, Wylam railway in 1872 as a branch line for the North East Railway Company. This railway line closed in 1968.

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