William Armstrong and his wife, Margaret, made their home just up the road from here in 1835. They were given land in the Dene as a wedding gift and extended the grounds as their fortunes grew.
Over the next 30 years William Armstrong became one of the most important engineers in the world. He built his wealth on developing hydraulic cranes, bridges, field artillery and guns for battleships. He test his earliest guns by firing across the valley from a field near here.
The Armstrong’s transformed the Dene by planting hundreds of trees and shrubs, creating waterfalls, a grotto and miles of footpaths. It is now a public path for everyone to enjoy.
Today you can see a variety of flora and fauna such as rhododendrons, woodland birds and flowers. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of at the striking kingfisher.
The old village of Jesmond Vale used to sit amongst fields in the bottom of the Ouseburn Valley, a tranquil haven away from the bustle of the city. The village had three pubs, a farm and a mill beside the river. The remains of the mill can still be seen, and the leat which fed it can be traced back to the mill dam at Greenwater Pool.
Originally a corn mill, it was later adapted to grind flint for use as glaze in the pottery industry. Flint was brought into the Tyne as ballast on cargo ships and was then carted up to the mills on the Ouseburn, hence Ballast Hills. The bulk of the old village was demolished in the 1960’s when the Vale was earmarked for redevelopment. Of the three pubs only the Bluebell Inn survived.
A smaller version of the Hoppings was held at Jesmond Vale for the four years 1915 to 1918. This was, of course, because of WW1, and it was held during the June ‘Race Week’ in each of those years. Many of the showmen were away fighting, and (it was said) at least 50 of their traction engines were also in use over in France. The Town moor was used during this period as a military airfield.
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Lord Armstrong created many water features throughout Jesmond Dene as part of his landscaping. He added new ponds and built rapids, weirs and waterfalls to bring movement to the river.
His biggest project was the creation of this waterfall and the deep gorge you can see downstream. Explosives were used to blast out rock and the stone was used to build up the sides of the waterfall.
There is a sluice gate behind it which could open and close to change the flow of water.
Armstrong aimed to sculpt the river, creating dramatic features that looked natural. However if you look closely at the stone below the mill you might spot the joins where the rocks were cemented together.
After heavy rains torrents of water rush down the falls filling the valley with sound.
Tucked away near the waterfall Armstrong made a grotto from an old quarry. The grotto was designed to give the visitor an experience of underground mystery.
Ouseburn Parks | See Newcastlehttp://www.seenewcastle.com/ouseburn/parks/ouseburn-parksOfficially there are five parks that make up the Ouseburn Parks; Paddy Freeman Park, Jesmond Dene, Jesmond Vale, Heaton Park and Armstrong Park. To access the Lower Ouseburn Valley, it is necessary to walk up out of Heaton Park, by the Ouseburn Culvert, cross the City Stadium Park, a sixth park, and walk down into …
Turn left out of the grounds of the hall and continue along until you see the street signs for The Grove on the right. Just up this road and hidden in the trees on the right, you’ll discover the ruins of St. Mary’s Chapel (it can be reached through a wooden gate).
These ruins are all that remain of St Mary’s Chapel, the oldest church building in Newcastle. Much of the original church is now gone and what you see today was once part of the 15th century side chapel.
St Mary’s has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. A holy relic, perhaps linked to the Virgin Mary, was once housed at the chapel and pilgrims can from across the land to worship here. Relics were sacred remains such as saints’ bones or fragments of the True Cross brought back from the Holy Land.
Miracles are reputed to have take place among the sick who attended the chapel and the nearby holy well. It is said that Pilgrim Street, in the centre of Newcastle, was where pilgrims lodged on their way to this holy shrine.
In 1479 a rector from Yorkshire left money in his will for pilgrims to travel to the four most holy places in the kingdom. His list ranked St Mary’s Chapel in Jesmond alongside the great cathedrals of Canterbury and St Paul’s in London.
Exit the cemetery by the way you came in and turn right, just before the lights, further along Jesmond Road from Jesmond Old Cemetery is All Saints. It was designed by Benjamin Green, who also designed the Theatre Royal, and opened in 1857. There are two chapels in the cemetery.
Among the headstones and memorials can be found the final resting place of Antonio Marcantonio, the founder of Mark Toney Ice Cream Parlours, Samuel Smith who together with William Titterington started Ringtons Tea Company, and Thomas Harrison Hair, an artist whose work is displayed at the Hatton Gallery and the Laing Art Gallery.
If you keep following the road along you’ll pass the Punch Bowl pub. It was built in the 1870s in the Scottish Baronial style, which was very popular in the 19t century. Continue down this way (heading for the church spire in front of you), passing the Cradlewell pub and several shops and restaurants. Turning right, just past the church, and head past the stone pillars leading into Armstrong Bridge.
Continue down Fernwood Road and turn right into Akenside Terrace. Follow the street down and cross over (taking extreme care, its a busy one), to the imposing looking gateway to the Jesmond Old Cemetery.
The man responsible for designing the imposing looking entrance is John Dobson, who had such a hand in the reshaping of Newcastle during the mind-19th century. The cemetery was constructed to accept all religious denominations with one half of the ground consecrated and the other half reserved as unconsecrated for non-conformists and it provides the final resting place for many of Newcastle’s famous residents of the nineteenth century including engineers, artists, industrialists and inventors. Fittingly John Dobson himself is buried here, in the south west corner.
Friends Of Jesmond Old Cemeteryhttp://www.jesmondoldcemetery.co.ukThis little known gem is home to many of the Victorian men and women whom made the City of Newcastle what it is today. Fenwick, Bainbridge, Dobson, Armstrong,…
Bear left out of the station onto Jesmond Road and turn left again up Osborne Road. A little way along, cross over onto Fernwood Road. You’ll pass Fernwood House on your left before you see the grandiose looking Mansion House.
This is where the Lord Mayor of Newcastle entertains sundry royals and other dignitaries when they visit the region.
Built in Jesmond in 1887, the Mansion House is now a venue for private events, such as business meetings or larger wedding celebrations.