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Tyne and Wear HER(4116): Elswick, Elswick Lead Works - Details

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Elswick Lead Works, Elswick



Elswick, Elswick Lead Works




Metal Smelting Site

Lead Works

Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The lead works started as a partnership 'Walker, Fishwick and Ward', which was set up in 1778 as a manufacturer of white lead, the first on Tyneside. Initially a 2 acre site was leased, which was split into two parts, one half for the manufactory, contained within a stone wall measuring 100 x 36-38 yards, the other for a partner's house and worker's accomodation. Other structures built on the site at this time included a stack house, a melting house, a wash house, a brewhouse and a windmill. Paint manufacture started in 1779. Expansion of the site began with the lease of a further two fields in 1785. Red lead and lead shot production both began by 1786 and sheet lead production (rolled rather than cast) was begun in 1788. The lead manufactory continued to expand during the 19th century, with further purchases of land around the site, and survives, through a number of name changes, to the present day. The Elswick shot tower (NZ 2420 6312) was begun in 1796, went into use in 1797 and remained in use until 1951. It was demolished in 1968-9 after becoming unsafe. The site appears to have been extensively rebuilt, expanded and redeveloped between 1802 and 1827, to the extent that the only structures to survive this rebuilding appear to have been the shot tower, office (HER ref. 4899) and the worker's cottages (HER ref. 4896). An annotated plan of the site, provisionally dated to 1850 (NCLLSS Bell/9/16), gives much detail of the site, including names for many of the structures on the site. These include white lead stacks and associated facilities for washing and packing white lead, as well as red lead houses, three engine houses, a rolling mill, a number of silver refineries and a pipe shed. There are two riveted iron or steel cylinders at NZ 2419 6315 and NZ 2423 6317 which are likely to be the remains of boilers from one of the 19th century steam engines used on the site. A pond, 9.5 metres in diameter, built between 1827 and 1844 and removed between 1859 and 1894 was situated at NZ 2428 6316. It appears to have been part of the water system for the industrial part of the site. The 1st & 2nd edition Ordnance Survey maps provide additional good evidence for the layout of the site.




<< HER 4116 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97 I.M. Ayris, & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p.52 Northern Archaeological Associates, 2000, Elswick Lead Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeological Assessment; Tyne and Wear Museums, 2004, Lead Works, Elswick - Archaeological Evaluation.

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