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Tyne and Wear HER(16344): Sunniside, Old Sunniside Farm - Details

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Sunniside, Old Sunniside Farm



Agriculture and Subsistence



Post Medieval


Demolished Building

The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map map (1858) shows the farmhouse to be complete and the full range of farm buildings to be in situ, with the exception of the brick barn at the North West corner of the site and the obviously modern brick shed to the front of the site. Since the 1850s the gin-gan has been lost. However, this had disappeared by the end of the 19th century and had presumably been replaced by a steam engine. The earliest plan showing the house in its present form is 1820, although two earlier plans show the existence of the farmhouse. The plan of 1820 (BP/3/219) probably relates to the Division of Whickham Fell which took place in 1820/21. As part of the division of the land, the owner of Sunniside estate entered a claim for this land and property describing it as a farm and "mansion house". This suggests that the building was a substantial property at this stage. The farm buildings were separate from the house but obviously the nucleus of the later farm complex. An undated plan (BP/3/221) probably from 1815, shows a building of similar plan but does not show the extension to the North East gable. This may date the lean-to in the period 1815-1820 but this is not categorical. An earlier plan of Public Carriage Roads across Whickham Fell in 1811 (BP/3/223) shows a building in situ, but is not specific enough to evaluate details of the building. In the 1820s the land known as Sunniside Estate or "Gell's Fields" was in the ownership of Middleton Grainge Esquire, gentleman, who occupied the house until his death in c.1845 (NRO 530/20/205). Following Grainge's death, the property passed to relatives - firstly the sisters Fenwick and later to the Dand family. From 1845 it was leased by these owners to farmers, firstly Robert Shotton and later by Edward Shotton, who was the tenant when the estate was put up for auction in December 1897 (NRO 530/18/17). By this time the estate comprised the dwelling house, farm buildings and 14 cottages. The coal under the estate was leased to John Bowes and Partners. It would be reasonable to assume that the addition of the fine brick frontage took place while the building was still a gentleman's residence rather than when it was being leased to a farmer. This would date this feature to a time prior to the death of Middleton Grainge, ie. Before 1845. The ownership of the estate can be traced back to April 1742 when Buswell Grainge leased the estate from James Marley. Grainge died in 1781 and the estate passed to Middleton Grainge (presumably his son). The Grainge family must have occupied either an existing house in this mid to late 18th century period or possibly built a new house which may have come to form the nucleus of the existing building. This would support the idea that the earliest parts of the building are either mid or late 18th century {1}. By 1911 David Magnus Spence, Newcastle architect, owned Old Sunniside. The Spence family eventually sold the land as individual parcels. In 1940 Reuben Tate took over the tenancy of Old Sunniside. Only the farmhouse now survives (HER1678). The rest of Old Sunniside is now occupied by Nos. 39 to 51 Kingsway. In 1928 'The Square' comprised four flats. The only tap and two toilets were in the wash-house in the back yard. The wall that separated The Square from the farmhouse still stands. To the east of the farmhouse were two semi-detached stone houses. These had a kitchen, sitting room and two bedrooms. Further east was a row of 7 stone houses. In 1841, 45 people lived at Old Sunniside, mostly working in agriculture. By the late 1850s most were employed at Marley Hill Colliery. In 1861, 77 people lived here, around 7 people per house. In 1887, 68 lived here. The Pescod family lived here from 1840 to 1920. John Pescod was a colliery cartman in the 1870s. His son John was a gasman at the colliery. Joe Hope lived at Old Sunniside from the 1850s to the 1870s. He was a shoemaker. Ridley Bewick and his son John were colliery blacksmiths. They liv




I. Ayris, 1988, Old Sunniside Farm - Documentary Evidence; City of Newcastle Planning Department, 1988, Old Sunniside Farm letter to Gateshead MBC; The History of Old Sunniside by Sunniside Local History Society,

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