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Amélie's Newcastle Town Moor Trail

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

By Amélie

I like to start my heritage trail at the vast town moor, which gives a feel of the countryside in the middle of the busy town

From the Town Moor I notice an interesting fountain standing alone at the edge of the street, presented to the City by a Miss Caroline Russel Coalville in memory of her late brother.

Right by that fountain I see a horse trough, excitingly this seemingly inconspicuous trough is a significant local heritage feature. The nearby A1, once known as the great north road, was the main road linking Edinburgh to London. People at the time would travel by horse and carriage and would need horse troughs to relieve and replenish their horses after a long voyage.

As I make my way down the street I come to the house my grand parents owned and my mother and uncles grew up in. I like to imagine how their lives would have been growing up in this house and I still remember some key features as I was lucky enough to stay here when I was little.

Interestingly, the famous photographer Henri Cartier Bresson also stayed here with his family in the summer of 1978.

Cartier-Bresson stayed here in Newcastle at the invitation of the Side Gallery, an incredible coup for a local photographic gallery, but it was never much publicised as Henri was such a private man. He had an exhibition in Edinburgh however at the Fruit market Gallery.

He loved these houses with the wrought iron balconies that he would compare them to a wedding cake. He sketched the trees in Forsyth Road and took photographs of the

allotments and one in the nearby cemetery- our next stop.

While walking in the cemetery, I notice an intriguing tombstone. This tombstone depicts the death of a policeman called Donald Bain killed by an explosion of nitro glycerine on the town moor in 1867.

I feel like there's an interesting story that needs to be told and makes me want to learn more about Newcastle at that time.

I keep making my way down the street, passing by the school my mother went to as a young girl, and come to Brandling park. Here I find a tree with a faded cross on its bark.

SOC’EM 👊🏼 “ Save Our City From Environmental Mess “ kicked off the fight to stop one of the central Motorways being built that would destroy this area of special historic and architectural importance. Protestors stood in front of diggers to stop the destruction and even put crosses on the trees to confuse them as to which were destined for the chop. Here is the last one that still has its’ cross visible.

On leaving Brandling I go under the Central Motorway (built before Soc’em I think) to the bandstand in Exhibition Park You have to imagine the band playing in Edwardian times with people all dressed up on a Sunday enjoying a walk in the park enjoying the music. Wouldn’t  it be great if brass bands played here again ? 

I stroll past the lake and across the moor back to where I started this trail. It’s been a great lockdown walk, full of interest and memories.

Map made using ViewRanger app

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anne daniels
anne daniels
Nov 23, 2020

Gosh What a story ! I do vaguely remember reading something about Mr Mawson of Mawson Swan and Morgan and an incident in the Town Moor..

Thank you !


Pat Lowery
Pat Lowery
Nov 23, 2020

Here is some information about the explosion on the town Moor.

Town Moor Explosion - 17th December 1867 From: Historical Register of Remarkable Events, Vol IV by T.Fordyce (Newcastle, 1876) Transcribed by Chris Morgan.

December 17.-A frightful and lamentable accident took place on the Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne, whereby eight persons lost their lives, viz. Mr. John Mawson, Sheriff of the town; Mr Thomas Bryson, Town Surveyor; P.C. Donald Pain; James Shotton, employed by Mr. Turnbull, White Swan Yard; Thomas Appleby, son of Mr. Appleby, Carliol Street, employed at Mr. Mr. George Hudson's, provision merchant, Cloth Market; George Smith Stonehouse, a youth, son of Mr. Christopher Stonehouse, clock maker, Bath Row; Samuel Bell Wadley, son of Mr. Charles Wadley, hat manufacturer, …

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