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Tyne and Wear HER(5953): Western Way II (Derwent Way II) - Details

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Western Way II (Derwent Way II)






Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The second Western Way was an alliance between Clavering, Bowes, Simpson, Harding, Pitt and Ridley. It was the subject of much bitter dispute between rivals in the coal trade. It was allowed to cross the Derwent and reach new and more extensive staiths at Derwenthaugh and completed the move away from tidal limits. The way took a line directly from Crookgate into the Gibside estate, and necessitated a considerable embankment over Snipes Dene. From Gibside the line rejoined the old Hollinside Way in Axwell by running west of Bird Hill through Hollinside. Western Way II is effectively Western Way I with its trouble spots bypassed by two lengthy but technically superior diversions. Western Way II was built swiftly. It was designed by Axwell agent and viewer William Laidler and the engineer was William Sanderson of Ryton, grandson of the builder of the Stella Grand Lease Way. The Western Way II was much more seriously engineered than the first Western Way. The only run on the new way was in Axwell land, where a steep fall to the River Derwent once stood in the Whickham Morrisfield, although there is no trace of it today. Once the new way opened the old one was expendable, but it was judged in 1722 that it should remain open. In 1722 the Derwent Bridge was washed away, together with its approach embankments. It was replaced by another built at a safer height. The passage of both Western Way I and II through Axwell lands was closed in 1726 with the effect of closing all the western collieries – 40% of Tyne capacity. However, a new partnership was created at this time pooling all collieries, wayleaves and waggonways for 99 years, and was known as The Grand Allies and the Axwell interests were eventually leased to them.




<< HER 5953 >> G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal 1600-1800 E. Hughes, 1952, North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century, volume 1, Chapter V J.M. Ellis, 1981, A Study of the Business Fortunes of Williams Cotesworth, 81, passim Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL, G /CN 11 M.J.T. Lewis, 1970, Early Wooden Wagonways, p 154 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear; Turnbull, L, 2012, Railways Before George Stephenson (entry 61) 156, 171

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