Newburn has a long history as a village, being a Royal Borough betweeen 1332 to 1974.
The manor of Newburn was in the inheritance of the Percy family who latterly became Dukes of Northumberland. The earliest ‘civic buildings’ were provided by the Percy’s and their staff and include the Duke’s Bailiff’s House (1822) and the Newburn Almshouses (1870), all on the High Street. The village’s growing independence was confirmed in 1893 when Newburn Urban District Council (UDC) was formed and, until April 1974 when it was absorbed into an enlarged Newcastle, the UDC acquired a reputation for its high standard of civic building. The largest public building on the High Street is still the Mechanic’s Club and Institute, built late in the 19th century.
The picture shows the Institute when it was being used as the “Dole Office” c1925, unemployed “signed on” for relief benefit and included miners from as far off as North Walbottle. (Pic - BYGONE Newburn, A.D. Walton)
In 1910, the UDC equipped themselves with a handsome Council Chamber and Offices, followed by a fine Police Station and Cottage Hospital 10 years later. The World War I ‘Conquering Hero’ Memorial was then placed at the western end of the High Street, whilst a neat, well-appointed Fire Station was placed at the opposite end in 1922. Although many of these quality public buildings have since changed their ownership and use, they still display the civic pride and far-sighted interests of, first, the Percy family and then the UDC, in their combined desire to make Newburn’s civic status and townscape something special.