Elswick

The township of Elswick had originally formed part of the Barony of Bolam and was owned by Tynemouth Priory from 1120-1539, with a fishery present on the site. One of the earliest references to the coal mining industry of the north east occurs in 1330, when it was recorded that the Prior of Tynemouth let a colliery, called Heygrove, at "Elstewyke" for a rent of £5 per year. Elswick Colliery had 3 pits working from 1860 onwards. Elswick was owned by the Crown from 1539 to 1628, until it was sold by Charles I.

The Priors held a mansion in the middle of Elswick which was later occupied by Elswick Hall. Having been rebuilt a number of times, the last rebuild took place in 1810. The grounds of Elswick Hall became Elswick Park in 1881. Elswick changed significantly in the late 19th Century with the extension of the railway from Carlisle to Newcastle in 1839 and the establishment of Armstrong's manufacturing works in 1847. Population increased rapidly during this period with the construction of Tyneside flats from Scotswood Road to accommodate the workforce.

The Elswick works was founded in 1847 by engineer William George Armstrong. It manufactured hydraulic machinery, cranes and bridges and, later, artillery. In 1882 the company merged with the shipbuilding firm of Charles Mitchell to form Armstrong, Mitchell & Company. Armstrong Mitchell merged again with the engineering firm of Joseph Whitworth in 1897, forming Armstrong, Whitworth & Co.

Elswick station was opened in 1889 to serve the area. It was located at the western end of the Elswick Works, whose workforce made up a significant proportion of travellers. The area suffered as a result of the inter-war and subsequent depressions, culminating in the demolition of the Elswick works. The station was closed and then demolished in 1967.

Elswick was hit hard by the decline of Tyneside's shipbuilding industry during the second half of the 20th century. According to a report by The Independent newspaper, unemployment stood at nearly 30%.


Description courtesy of Wikipedia

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