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Tyne and Wear HER(5680): Jesmond Dene, Busy Cottage Iron Works - Details

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Jesmond Dene, Busy Cottage Iron Works




Metal Smelting Site

Iron Works

Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

Site of an ironworks. The first evidence comes from a Plan of the Manor of Heaton 1785 and Whitehead's Directory of 1790 which lists Thomas Menham, Iron and Brass Foundry, Busy Cottage. In June 1790 Thomas Menham died so in June of that year the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle printed this advertisement - "Busy Cottage Forge and Foundry to be sold to the highest bidder…. There is a good dwelling house, brew house, cold bath, several houses for workmen and a garden well planted with fruit trees…". A second auction sold household furniture, 4 horses, a sow and pigs, sundry garden utensils and the use of the garden until November next. Mitchell's Directory of 1801 mentions Sorsbie at Busy Cottage (family from Sheffield with a background of working with iron). Pigot's Directory of 1811 lists Malin Sorsbie, ironfounder, Busy Cottage. The works were described by Baillie in his 'Impartial History of Newcastle' as "a large manufactory of cast and hammered iron, the property of Mr. Malin Sorsbie". Malin's grandson, Jonathan Sorsbie took over the lease in 1819 but died in 1821, when Frederick Malin Lubbren, the son of Malin's daughter, Mary, took over. He was shortly declared bankrupt. Between 1824 and 1842 it was run by Robert Rayne and David Burn. The partners lived on the site, one in what was probably part of Millfield House, the other in Heaton Dene House, now demolished. It is probable that Rayne and Burn had set up New Busy Cottage works nearer the Tyne in Ouse Street, and they seem to have progressed from making small articles of iron to that of wagons for the colliery lines. In 1832 Thomas Miles Richardson painted an attractive watercolour entitled "Busy Cottage Ironworks". In 1842 the lease was surrendered back to Sir Matthew White Ridley who owned the land. By 1855 the ironwork buildings were converted to a corn mill (see HER 4137). In 1858 two workers' cottages were built, which are probably the Busy Cottages (NZ 2612 6640) we see today.




<< HER 5680 >> 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.58 I.M. Ayris, & D. Bolland, Ouseburn Heritage, p.31 The Friends of Jesmond Dene, 1990, Busy Cottage Ironworks, Jesmond Dene, Newsletter No. 27, September 1990; Turnbull, L, 2015, A Celebration of our Mining Heritage

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