Tyne and Wear HER(11887): Wideopen, Sacred Heart Conservation Area - Details
Wideopen, Sacred Heart Conservation Area
Designated on 16th January 2007. The boundary is formed by the Great North Road, Sandy Lane and the Sandy Lane Bypass. The CA takes in the grounds of the Old School House and Cottages and the grounds of Sacred Heart School. Most of the Conservation Area forms part of North Tyneside's Green Belt. There is dense tree cover. The CA started life as a small corner of the vast Gosforth Park estate (HER 167). Reverand Ralph Brandling broke up the land and sold it after falling into debt. Much of the land was acquired by shipbuilder Thomas Smith in 1852. In 1856 the land passed to Smith's younger brother William, and then to his son Thomas Eustace Smith. Sacred Heart Church and the Old School House and Cottages were built around 1865. Thomas Eustace Smith responded to the wish of John Besley vicar of Longbenton, in providing a church for the growing population in the north of the parish. The new ecclesiastical parish of North Gosforth was established on 18th May 1865. The Old School House and Cottages were also funded by Thomas Eustace Smith for the education of the children of his estate workers. Sacred Heart Church (HER 9248) is listed grade 2. Around the church grounds is a simple tall sandstone wall. Around the entrance the wall is lower with railings (replacements) and there are two tall square sandstone gate piers, the gablets featuring blind tracery and a lantern. The parish hall was opened in 1999. It is one storey in height with a pitched roof of reconstituted slate. The walls are breezeblocked with a small band of dark brown bricks around the base of the building. A covered walkway between the hall and church compromises the quality of the church. The presbytery is also late C20 in date and is of little architectural quality. It is two storeys, with a pitched unhipped roof in dark tiles. To the north is a flat roofed single storey offshoot. The brickwork is dark cream. The windows are uPVC, one is a three-sided bay. The Old School House and Cottages (HER 9417) originally consisted of a master's house in the cross wing to the west and a schoolroom. R.J. Johnson may have been the architect. The building became one dwelling and two cottages in late Victorian times. Dormers were added and the interior altered. The building has been lost to arson and unlawful demolition. It was of two storeys, the first floor concealed under a steeply pitched unhipped roof. It was built of sandstone with a slate roof. There were multiple cylindrical chimneystacks. The dormers were large and attractive. Each had two pointed arched windows, quatrefoil decoration and bargeboards. The gables of the building also had bargeboards. The original ground floor windows were double chmafered mullions with carved shoulder arched lintels. The doorways had identical surrounds and lintels. There was a three light window in the west elevation and another in the projecting south wing. The doors were timber with ornamental brackets. Behind the former school are the remains of two enclosed yards, probably playgrounds. The boundary walls are high sandstone but that in front of the school house is lower with coping and the remains of iron railings. The CA is rich in mature native trees (sycamore, ash, horse chestnut etc).
North Tyneside Council, 2008, Sacred Heart Church, Wideopen Conservation Area Character Appraisal, draft November 2008; www.sacredheartng.org.uk; Pevsner et al, 2002, The Buildings of England: Northumberland