Lending a hand path tidying along Lodore Road

The Lending a Hand group of volunteers have been busy tidying up the path along Lodore Road, High West Jesmond.

Here is a photograph taken by Chris Morgan who was visiting High West Jesmond at the time and spotted the work party busy with their work.

Chris commented on our Facebook page:

“What a team spirited group. Think they may have persuaded me to do another history walk first Sunday in June 2019. Will have to check diary to confirm in the New Year.”

That’s certainly something to look forward to – last year’s Walking the Bounds of High West Jesmond was a well attended and interesting event.

UPDATE: The Walking the Bounds 2019 will take place on Sunday 2 June 2019. Details will be posted to this website nearer the time.

FOVALD caring for our green spaces

FOVALD (Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park) is a small voluntary organisation based in High West Jesmond.

They have adopted the Valley from the City Council and  Little Dene Park from the City’s Freemen (it is part of the Town Moor).

FOVALD also look after the original Little Dene as a nature resource.

On Tuesday mornings, FOVALD organise’s a group called Lending a Hand that does the maintenance & improvement work on the green spaces in this part of High West Jesmond, as well as keeping all the other verges and paths in the area tidy.

Many thanks to FOVALD and to the Lending a Hand group for their ongoing work to enhance our community green spaces.

Streets for People – HWJRA submits views from residents’ meeting

During the consultation period of proposed changes to streets in High West Jesmond as part of the Streets for People initiative HWJRA held a residents meeting on Monday 13 November 2017.

The meeting was held at Jesmond Library and was well attended.

HWJRA organised the event so that residents had the opportunity to find out more about the proposals for Moorfield and Ilford Road, ask questions and hear others views.

Following the meeting HWJRA submitted the views from the residents to Streets for People so that these could be taken into account before the consultation period closes on 30 November 2017.

A copy of the HWJRA submission is shown below.

The Moorfield and Ilford Road proposal from Streets for People

Read a summary of the proposal in the Moorfield Information Sheet:

Your feedback is wanted

The Streets for People initiative want to hear from you and you can provide feedback via their website. You have until 30 November 2017 to submit your feedback.

Residents’ views as submitted by HWJRA

The following in a summary of the HWJRA Meeting which was held to discuss the Streets for People Proposal – 13/11/2017:


Ilford Rd/Moorfield (15 residents)
Lodore/Treherne/Albemarle/Kingswood/Newlands (13 residents)
Albury/Honister/Woodthorne (4 residents)
Councillor Henry Gallagher
Total (32 residents plus 1 councillor)

The S4P proposal was explained in detail and then the group were invited to discuss and express their views, looking at each of the main aspects of the proposal separately.

1. Ilford Road/Moorfield Junction

All agreed that there was an issue of safety at this junction and welcomed the proposal to improve this.

The group was split 1/3 in favour, 1/3 against, 1/3 not sure about the roundabout design. The group wasn’t against a roundabout “per-se” but was concerned about some of the details.

Residents’ principal concern at this junction is pedestrian and cyclist safety – in particular it is difficult for pedestrians (particularly those with pushchairs or in wheelchairs) to cross over Ilford Road on the northern side of the junction.

The previous redesign of Ilford Road has led to poor visibility on Ilford Road on the northern side of the junction as traffic heading north waits for traffic heading south in the approximate location of the proposed roundabout. This should be tackled as part of any redesign of the junction.

Suggestions from the group

– Getting cars to slow down in all 4 directions is felt to be a good approach.

– Group would strongly support a raised platform at this junction (similar to the one at the junction of Moor Road South and the Grove). This could include a roundabout, but if it did then visibility and accessibility would need to be improved.

– Double yellow lines should be added around all 4 corners of the junction as cars currently park too close to the junction.

– A well located pedestrian crossing on the north side, going across Ilford Road, would be very beneficial for pedestrians and further slow traffic on Ilford Road.

– Dropped kerbs should be added at crossing points (except where there is a raised platform).

– Junction should be re-aligned east to west to improve safety.

2. Re-laid pavement and crossing points along Moorfield

Group was 100% in favour of this, subject to the width and location of the crossing points coinciding with existing points and the materials used being sympathetic to the area.

Suggestions from the group

Also renew pavement on north Moorfield between Treherne Road and Great North Road (using same materials as above) as it is in a similarly poor condition and a large puddle now appears where the old pavement meets the new pavement at the west end of Moorfield.

3. Narrowing of Moorfield

Residents strongly support reducing speeding traffic on Moorfield however they are strongly against doing this by narrowing the road.

The reasons for this were:

The visual amenity of a wide road is much appreciated by local residents and they would be very reluctant to see this changed.

Residents on Ilford Road feel that this road has become more dangerous since it was narrowed. There has been no noticeable decrease in speeding traffic, a notable increase in damage to cars (clipped wing mirrors etc) and overall the road feels more dangerous.

There was some concern that, particularly at night when there are less vehicles parked on Moorfield, it might look like a few cars have parked in the middle of the road and this could be disorientating and unsafe.

Concerns were also raised (via letter to the meeting) that Moorfield would become more dangerous to cross for pedestrians including many dog walkers who use the Little Moor.

Suggestions from the group

Residents were very much in favour of using an alternative approach to reduce the problem of speeding on Moorfield. A number of ideas were suggested and the following received strong support (in order of popularity).

– Introduce raised platforms at junctions of Moorfield and all or some of its side roads (Newlands Road, Kingswood Avenue, Albemarle Avenue, Treherne Road and Lodore Road). These would be similar to the junction of Moor Road South and the Grove

– Introduce nicely designed signage on the road or side of the road (maybe done by West Jesmond school) to make it clear that these are 20mph residential streets

– Introduce a “continuous pathway” along the northern side of Moorfield to reduce the speed at which cars enter and exit the side streets

– Introduce a pedestrian crossing on Ilford Road and possibly Moorfield

– Introduce an advisory “speed checker” sign halfway along Moorfield

4. Cycle Path along Moorfield

The group was split 2/3 “against” and 1/3 “unsure” about a cycle path. Nobody was in favour.

The reasons given for the opposition were:

Residents (including a number of cyclists) feel that cycling is already safe on Moorfield because of its width, and that there are other areas of Jesmond/Newcastle where the addition of a cycle path would be far more beneficial.

The cyclists in the group felt that they would be unlikely to use the cycle path as it was fairly narrow for two way cycle traffic and right next to parked cars. They would prefer to cycle on the wider roadway, particularly if speed of traffic is reduced.

Cyclists who live on the side streets off Moorfield also said that they would not want to have to cross the road between parked cars to get to a cycle lane on the south side of the road.

All felt that focus should be on reducing speed of traffic and improving the Ilford Road/Moorfield junction. Doing this would automatically improve safety for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Suggestions from the group

Remove the cycle lane from the proposal and focus on speed reduction and junction safety to enhance the cyclist and pedestrian experience.

5. Pavement widening at Moorfield/Treherne

The group was opposed to this as it was not felt to be a dangerous junction and there would be a net loss of parking space if the proposal went ahead.

That said, the group were concerned about the impact of dangerous and inconsiderate parking at all the junctions of Moorfield and its side streets (particularly where dropped kerbs are being blocked).

Suggestions from group.

Leave pavement at current width but introduce yellow lines on corners of Moorfield and its side streets to keep dropped kerbs fully accessible.

6. Removal of parking/redesign of junction at west end of Moorfield

The group was 100% in favour of this. Parked cars at this junction are making it dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Suggestions from the group

Extend the proposed “no parking” area up to where Moorfield meets Lodore Road.

The group then discussed some of the other suggestions that have already been made on the S4P consultation website as follows:

7. Closing the junction of Moorfield and Great North Road

The group was split 38% in favour, 50% against and 12% don’t know on this proposal (Moorfield residents were split 50%/50%).

It was suggested that the impact of any changes at Blue House Roundabout would need to be factored in to any decision and that, during the construction phase of any project at BHR, a temporary closure might be appropriate.

8. Residents’ parking

Opinion was split 47% in favour, 41% against, 12% don’t know on this issue.

People on Ilford Road and Moorfield have been most directly impacted by the increase in “park and ride” that is clearly happening in the area and, as a consequence, are more likely to favour residents’ parking.

It was agreed that this issue should be looked at once the Streets for People (and possibly Blue House Roundabout) projects have been completed.

It was also suggested that Nexus should be encouraged to get the Regent Centre park and ride facility better used – possibly by bringing Regent Centre into Zone 1.

9. Ilford Road

Whilst the S4P project only directly impacts on Ilford Road at its junction with Moorfield, concern was expressed about this road and the continued high speed of traffic, damage to vehicles and difficulty at junctions – particularly at Lodore Road.

Residents were asked what their opinion would be on closing Ilford Road to through traffic by blocking the road at (for example) the point where Ilford Road becomes Rectory Road. T

he group was strongly opposed to this suggestion as they felt it would simply shift the problem of rat running elsewhere.

It was agreed that a submission on behalf of residents would be made by HWJRA to the S4P group.

Streets for People information

You can read more of the background to the Streets for People initative on our Streets for People page.

2017 – history of the Little Moor paths

Maintenance of Little Moor paths by resident volunteers.

FOVALD’s Lending a Hand group recently undertook maintenance work on the paths across Little Moor which you can read about elsewhere on this website.

Here is some history of those Little Moor paths from Chris Morgan

This is the older of the two paths across the Little Moor, possibly constructed about the time the estate was being laid out around 1900-10.

Until at least the 1970s there was a dark blue vitreous enamel sign facing town beside the gate at the Great North Road end to announce arrival at High West Jesmond.

In those days Moorfield did not run through to the Great North Road beyond the Lodore Road junction. There used to be cows on the Little Moor so gates were essential.

The trees planted alongside the paths were probably planted about the 1920/30s when the second, longer, path was constructed. Most of them haven’t survived!

1950 – Kingswood Avenue

Parking was not a problem in High West Jesmond in 1950.

A heritage post by Chris Morgan

Visting High West Jesmond this weekend I couldn’t help noticing how difficult it is to park. Not like when this picture was taken in early spring 1950 in Kingswood Avenue.

Gas lamps. Wooden lock up garages on Lodore Road.

One poplar tree, the last remaining in the road from the time when the estate was laid out with each house supposed to have 2 trees!

One parked car, probably outside the bottom house of Charles Nichol, photographer.

In those days there may have been only 4 or 5 cars in the entire road, but we were troubled by learner drivers practising 3 point turns outside.

In those days, certainly until at least the late 1960s, many of the cars weren’t left on the street overnight. Those lock up garages (shown in the distance in the photograph) housed Jesmond Farm Dairies milk delivery vans and some cars.

Several houses in Kingswood were using backyards to park cars – many of those spaces now used for house extensions.

Jones’ Garage, now North Jesmond Garage, must have kept at least a dozen cars tightly squeezed in each night. In 1967 I paid 10/- (50p) a week to park my Morris Minor in there. That would probably equate to about £10 a week today.

1962 – The Valley and Little Dene, or Blackies Valley, Newcastle being filled in

Little Dene, aka Blackies Valley, or what was left of it before they finally filled it in, around 1962

A heritage post by Chris Morgan

This small stream flows east from high on the Newcastle Town Moor near Kenton Bar, and formed the boundary between the City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gosforth, which was then in Northumberland. Ultimately it joins the Ouse Burn just beyond the foot of Matthew Bank where it is known as Craghall Dene.

It flowed below the Great North Road roughly where Moor Road now joins Moorfield, that point being known as Little Bridge. By the time the large house Little Dene was built on Lodore Road the stream was in a culvert, probably beside the south side of Moor Road. It emerged to the north-east side of the old house through an ornamental angelic water feature in the garden, then flowed at the north side of Lodore Road until the bottom of Newlands Road.

An open culvert (no gating of any kind to prevent entry) then took the stream to the bottom of Mathew Bank. Braver boys than I said they’d worked their way all the way through! The wooden structure at the base of this picture is immediately above that entry.

The Blyth and Tyne railway was built on an embankment across the dene, but that small culvert was extended when material from the clearance of the Forth goods depot was used to broaden the embankment, sufficiently for the building of houses on Ilford Road and Newlands Avenue – and possibly parts of Lodore road itself. The Craghall Dene side of the railway has also been filled at various dates almost up to Matthew Bank.

This picture was taken from the bottom of Newlands Avenue, looking towards Lodore Road and the bottom of Albemarle Avenue. By this time the trees, mostly willow, had been cleared off and the line of the new culvert had been excavated. I think the rubble subsequently used to fill this area came from demolished slum housing in Shieldfield, where tower blocks were built. This site is now a gently sloping grassy area.

Before this it had been a more natural dene, with willow trees, and some sloping allotments on the Gosforth northern side. The south side next to Lodore Road was steeper, comprising building rubble that must have been dumped to make the High West Jesmond site more level when Lodore Road was formed.

Note the line of wooden garages on Lodore Road. These could be hired, 2 or 3 storing small Ford vans for the delivery of milk by Jesmond Farm Dairies on Newlands Avenue (where the convenience store is now). Others were used by local residents. In 1962 very few cars were kept overnight on the roads.

North Jesmond Garge on Lodore Road, just to the left of this picture, was then Jones Garage with 3 petrol pumps – hand operated. At night it also stored residents cars. In 1968 I paid 10/- a week to keep my 1952 Morris Minor there.

Incidentally, North Jesmond originally referred to the part further to the east of the railway, towards Matthew Bank – the garage should really be called High West Jesmond Garage!

1964 – The original Little Dene house on Lodore Road

The original house known as Little Dene Lodore Road, High West Jesmond, Newcastle, 1964

A heritage post by Chris Morgan

The largest property in High West Jesmond by a very substantial margin was Little Dene. Named after the small dene that ran from the Little Bridge on the A1, also known as Craghall Dene nearer it’s confluence with the Ouseburn at the top of Jesmond Dene.

The stream, the Craghall Burn, formed the boundary between the city and county of Newcastle upon Tyne and the county of Northumberland. It joins the Ouse Burn at the bottom of Matthew Bank. The greater part was filled in by spoil from the construction of the railway yards in the Manors area, allowing the railway to run on the level between Jesmond Dene Road and South Gosforth. The High West Jesmond and North Jesmond estates were partially built on this land.

The stream used to run at the bottom of the Little park, beside Moor Road South, at the end of Moorfield until it was reclaimed from moorland in time for the Coronation in 1953. The stream by then had been culvetted from the west side of the Great North Road, emerging in the garden of Little Dene.

By 1964 Little Dene was badly run down, occupied by an old witch – or so we kids were led to believe! In 1950 it was still occupied by the son of it’s builder, bachelor Alexander Pringle, a brother and a spinster sister. In the 1920’s and 1930’s it had been a very smart house, painted white each year and known locally as the White House. Garden parties were held in aid of charities.

By the 1950’s the garden was badly overgrown, the covered stream emerging from beneath the house into an angelic fountain feature that was almost hidden from view – except to small boys trespassing!

Sadly, renovation seemed to be out of the question and demolition soon followed this picture being taken. By 1970 the site had been redeveloped into Little Dene flats.

This autumn picture illustates how well hidden such a large house was, even at that time of year.

Information from WorldInfoZone:

“Alexander Pringle of Cranmer Dykes, Gateshead built St George’s Church in Gateshead; the Rutherford Memorial College, Bath Lane; King Edward School of Art and the School of Bacteriology at Armstrong College; the Commercial Union Insurance Building in Pilgrim Street; Collingwood Buildings in Collingwood Street and Tilley’s Rooms and the YMCA in Blackett Street as well as the Gateshead Cenotaph in Shipcote. Alexander Pringle was also responsible for the reconstruction of The Palace Theatre and the Empire Palace Theatre (Empire Theatre) in Newgate Street.

Further information has confirmed that Alexander Pringle was the builder of the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary) which opened in 1901. His name is on the original entrance hall of the hospital. Other buildings included a police station, co-operative stores, breweries and schools. He also built Little Dene in Gosforth where he lived with his family.”

Not completely right. The house itself was in Newcastle, although the garden was partially in Gosforth.

The park in the foreground had been part of the Little Moor when my mother used to play in the rough ground beside it’s northern stone wall. At that time Moorfield did not run out onto the Great North Road, stopping at it’s junction with Lodore Road. I recall the park being laid out in time for the Coronation in 1953, when it was known as the Little Park.