Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Burradon and Camperdown 1858

Burradon Colliery 1850s
By 1858 a colliery had been in existence at Burradon for thirty eight years. A small community, of about 450-500 mineworkers, lived in purpose-built cottages, about 90, in Camperdown. But the period from the date of the last detailed cartographic survey in 1828 sees only a small growth in population and housing, despite a new pit shaft being sunk in 1837 and new owners in 1848. The population in 1831 was around 500, only rising to 563, in 123 dwellings by 1851. The housing shown on the 1st edition OS map of 1858 was mostly the housing that was there in 1828.

By 1841 two public houses, two general dealers and a chapel had been established. By 1851 another pub, a blacksmith and another two further general dealers came into being. A further pub was established at some time before 1855. The settlement had not yet spread out from the main highway; the land surrounding it still being agricultural. Burradon Colliery occupied a small tract of land and the owners erected a row of nine dwellings within this. Pit Row, as it was known and probably dating from the 1820s, was mostly occupied by colliery workers who were occupied in a maintenance capacity of some sort, such as the coal-heap keeper. It is interesting to note that the colliery village was erected in a different township to the colliery itself. The reasons why land was not purchased within Burradon Township for mine worker's housing are unclear.

Ordnance Survey 6inch to mile c1858

1858 Ordnance Survey Mapping

Burradon Farm

The Farm - Two farmsteads are shown on the map. One is attached to the Tower House and has a courtyard. Both have round features at the rear which are almost certainly "gin-gans", which was an area for walking horses around attached to a mechanism which powered the threshing machines. The land of Burradon had throughout the 18th century been split into two farms. This was still the case in 1858 although only one farmer, John Moor, was the tenant farmer in the 1840s, working both farms himself.
Quarry - A large quarry has been opened up to the north-east of the farm buildings. Previous quarries are marked as "old" on the 25" edition map. Adam Tate was the quarry owner. The stone had been quarried since medieval times to provide the building material for the buildings around the farm and presumably in the 19th century for the buildings of the village. In the early part of the 19th century Lord Ridley, the landowner of Blyth, owned the quarry.
Burradon Terraces - First recording on this plan; sometimes known locally as The Far Rows.
Burradon Colliery
Wagonway - 1820; Running north to south. Privately owned by the colliery to take coals to the staiths on the Tyne at Willington.
Managers House - First recording of the building on this plan. The larger scale plan indicates a quite large formal garden attached to South of this house, which had disappeared in later times. The building still exists.
Pit Row - Definitely in existence by 1851, but possibly built for the pit sinkers c1820; 9 or 10 dwellings.
Brick Field - These are often found beside colliery sites to extract the heavy clay that pits are often sunk into. Brick was becoming commonly used as the building material in towns and cities such as Newcastle. Very little is known, however, of the clay extraction and brick manufacturing industry of Burradon. The Keys to the Past website describes a brickfield in their glossary: "A site where clays are extracted, crushed (and/or stirred), shaped (by hand or mould), dried and then fired to make bricks. These have their own kilns that may have run continuously for large amounts. Brickworks were often situated near collieries to use fireclays." John Craven is listed on the 1851 census as a brickmaker. He lived at Camperdown. Where the brick was being used is not known. At nearby Barrington colliery a mixture of brick, wood and stone was being used for their colliery housing but brick does not seem to have been used for building at Burradon until c1900, stone being the preferred material. Of course, a quarry existed within the township.

Hazlerigge NE-SW

Lane Row - In existence by 1828; back-to-back housing, opposite Collier Boy, of a one-room-and-a-garret type; 48 dwellings. The map also shows outbuildings next to the housing which are believed to be communal outdoor bread ovens, which were common in the early mining communities.
Wood Houses - First recording on this map, but possibly in existence 1841; to the back-to-back housing as Lane Row; 8 dwellings.
West Row - In existence by 1828; back-to-back housing as Lane Row, in fact probably identical; 32 dwellings.
Chapel Buildings - In existence by 1828?; 2 or 3 dwellings.
Weslyan Methodist Chapel - 1830.

Add caption

Camperdown NE-SW

Railway Cottage.
Grey Horse Public House. In existence 1828.
Norah Place, site of what would become known as - In existence 1841?; 2 or 3 dwellings.
Collier Boy Public House, On the site of the later Camperdown Hotel -in existence by 1855.
Carr's Buildings, site of - In existence by 1841.
Travellers Rest Public House - In existence by 1841.
Wood's Houses - In existence by 1841; 4 dwellings in 2 separate blocks.
Roughs House - First recording, but probably x1841; 25" Ordnance Survey shows an enclosure around the house with a formal garden layout. John Copeman, a West Indian shoemaker, was listed as living here in 1861.
Station Road, although not yet known by this name, N-S
Purvis Buildings - x1828?; shop and house.
Halfway House Pub - x1851.
Palmer's Buildings - First recording, although possibly x1851; house and shop?
Atkin Street, site of - x1841; grocer shop and house

Noteable Dates

1830 - A Weslyan Methodist chapel was erected in Hazlerigge (the previous name for Camperdown) near the site of the Halfway House pub. The Methodist movement had been started by John Wesley (d1791) who was famous for his open-air preaching. Methodism stressed that both working class and upper class were equal in the eyes of God. It was widely adopted in the industrial, urban centres.

1831 - Population (Burradon Township only) 67.

1837 - A new pit shaft is sunk close to the 1820 shaft after problems winning the coal from this original pit. It is known as the Engine Pit.

1840 Aug 06 - A baptism recorded in the register of Longbenton, St. Bartholomew gives the first recorded reference to the name Camperdown as a settlement. "William to John and Mary Cockburne of Camperdown, pitman."

1840 March - Christopher Wanless lists his occupation as a publican on his child's birth certificate. He lived in the Grey Horse public house, but on the 1841 census and later baptism records he is recorded as a coal miner. Being a landlord was often a part-time occupation in the early days of these mining villages. The pubs were often family-run affairs and it is often a female name listed as the proprietor on trade directories of the time.

1841 Census (no addresses given)


Population 97; Dwellings 18; Heads of Household 28.

Farmer, John Moor, age 80, Burradon Farm, employer of 5 servants
Agricultural Labourers 12
Stone Quarrymen 8
Dressmaker 1 (a cottage industry employing wives and young women)
Milliner 1
Blacksmith 1

Weetslade Township

Population 345.

Mostly Coal Miners, but...
Stone Masons 2
Blacksmith 3
School Master, Anderson Stoker, Weetslade Terrace?
Quarryman 1
Joiner 2
Engineman 1
Wagon Rider 4

Killingworth Township

Population 112; Dwellings 14.

Grey Horse Public House mentioned by name, but not the publican
Flour Dealer, Thomas Purvis in what would later be known as Purvis Buildings (behind Halfway House)
Publican of Travellers Rest, Alice Patterson
Coal Miner 7
Quarrymen 2
Railway Layer 4, indicating railway laying nearby?
Joiner 1
House Carpenter
Grocer's Shop, Swinton, on site of  what is now Station Road.
Farmer, William Brown, Hillhead, age 40

1842 Oct 22 - The Reverend Ralph Brandling is listed on a tithe map of Weetslade as being the main landowner for the Weetslade area.

1847 Mar 24 -  Fatal Boiler Explosion At Burradon Colliery
The Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury reported on what seemed to be a frequent event occurring with boilers at this period, both with stationary engines a locomotives:

"On Saturday morning, about nine o'clock, a fatal accident occurred at the above colliery, by the bursting of one of the boilers used in working the engine of the pit, by which three persons were, killed, viz., a man, a woman, and a boy. The colliery is situated about six miles north of Newcastle, and belongs to Lord Ravensworth and partners. The engine attached to the pit is of 90-horse power, and three boilers of large dimensions and of an oval shape are used to work it ; but on the morning of the accident only two were in operation. A few minutes previous to the occurrence, the engineman, on examining the float, found the water more than a foot above the working mark, but as the steam was low he gave directions to the stoker, Robert Thompson, to raise the fires ; soon after which the boiler suddenly burst with a tremendous noise, carrying away part of the engine house and chimney, killing three persons, and injuring, more or less, several of the workmen at the shaft. The boiler was torn into three pieces, and parts of it were blown a considerable distance into an adjoining field. On examining the place, the stoker was found almost buried in the ruins, dreadfully scalded and bruised, but quite dead; and a female, named Margaret Proctor, wife of one of the miners, who was at the place getting water, was lying a few yards from him. The other sufferer was a boy, about eleven years of age, named James Gordon, employed at the bank. The engineman escaped, though much scalded in the face, and injured in the head. Several of the workmen were also seriously injured by the flying bricks, &c. but are all expected to recover.

On Monday, an inquest was held on the bodies, before Stephen Reed, Esq., coroner, when the following witness was examined :—

Anthony Scorer said he had been engineman at Burradon Colliery for twenty-six years. Last Saturday morning, about nine o'clock, the boiler belonging to the colliery burst, by which Robert Thompson, Margaret Proctor, and James Gordon were killed. There were several others more or less injured by the explosion. The boiler had two safely valves, but only one was used, which was three inches in diameter. The other could have been used if necessary. The working valve was regulated with the steel-yard weight. About twenty minutes previous to the accident taking place, he examined the boiler, and found, at that time, about four and a half feet of water in it. The working mark was about three feet two inches. He ascertained that by the float inside of the boiler. It was possible for the float to stick, but on that occasion it was free and loose. The safety valve was also free and loose. About a fortnight ago they had a little caulking of the boiler. There were no rivets then put in. He considered, after these repairs, that the boiler was strong and sufficient to work. The plate at the boiler itself was three-eighths of an inch in thickness in every part, and he (the witness) considered it a very good one. The fact of the destruction of the engine-house, and other buildings, showed that the boiler was a strong one. About twenty minutes before the explosion, he perceived the engine going slower, and went to the safety valve, and worked it up and down, and, considered the steam to be low, he desired the stoker to raise the fire by putting more coals to it. From all is experience he could not give any opinion as to the cause of the explosion. The engine was about ninety horse power, and they worked at 50lbs to the inch. He thought the boiler plates were not heated more than usual, but believed otherwise, on account of the steam being lower than usual. It was stated to the witness after the explosion that the appearance of the field adjoining the engine house to 100 yards, exhibited sufficient proofs of a quantity of water having been in the boiler, so that he might be satisfied that the accident did not occur from the want of water. He was much scalded at the time on the face, and received a wound on the head. He could not tell how he escaped, and before the explosion he had not the slightest apprehension of any accident. There was always plenty of water at hand, and the man who lost his life would not have worked if there had not been plenty of water. The deceased was a timid man, and on that account he (the witness) worked the boiler always with a foot more water in it than he considered necessary. There was little possibility for the boiler being surcharged with steam while the engine was at work. The boiler was ten years old. One safety valve was quite sufficient to work with. The weight on the lever was calculated at 50lbs the square inch. The length of the lever was two feet.

The jury, at the conclusion of this evidence, signified to the coroner that as they were satisfied that the explosion was the result of an accident, their minds were made up, upon which they returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

1848 - The Carr family took over ownership of the Colliery from the founding owners the Grand Allies. By 1858 the Low Main seam had been won. The Carr brothers, John and Charles, were originally from Ford in Northumberland. Their father and had been the manager of the Ford Castle estates, which included a colliery. The family had skilfully built up a large fortune from their original humble beginnings. They owned the nearby Seghill, Cowpen and Hartley collieries, as well as having interests in a Newcastle bank and later the Blyth and Tyne railway. John Carr the elder of the brothers lived at Bath Terrace in Blyth. Charles Carr acted as the Chief Viewer to these collieries.

1851 Mar 31 Sunday - The ecclesiastical census give the following information for the Weslyan Methodist Chapel at Hazlerigge on Sunday School attendance: 56 in the morning; 30 in the afternoon; 20 in the evening. The chapel is enumerated as being a "separate and entire building used exclusively as a place of worship, except for a Sunday school". It had 80 free sittings and 50 other sittings. Edward Davidson is the steward of the chapel, but lists his occupation as a schoolmaster on the 1851 census. A schoolmaster, Anderson Stoker, is also listed on the 1841 census. When a purpose built school was being planned in 1861 the major funders spoke of visiting the schools in Burradon to "examine" the children in the "different" schools. Journals kept by children from mining communities often mention attending schools voluntarily when they were afforded the opportunity, the schools often being associated with a Methodist church. This was before the introduction of compulsory state education and the schools would have charged a fee.

1851 Census

Burradon Farm

Population 65; Households 9.

Farmer, John Younger, age 60, born Boldon, farmer of 254 acres, 3 labourers living in the house
Farmer, William Younger, age 30 unmarried, born Gosforth, farmer of 260 acres, 2 farm servants living in. [the two farmsteads were clearly being once again occupied as in the 18th century]
Quarrymen 4
Husbandman 1
Farm Labourers 6
Miner 1
Cartman 1

Burradon Pit

Pit Row
Population 39?; Dwellings 9 or 10.

Overman 1
Enginewright 2
Loco Fireman 1
Enginemen 2
Engine Fireman 1

[This would have been Pit Row (pictured above) which was close to the colliery. It could be inferred that the people with occupations mentioned above needed to be close to the colliery for maintenance etc.]

Camperdown (Killingworth Township

Population 72; Dwellings 14.

Farmer, John Brown, Hill Head; his brother William, a vet, also resided here
Grey Horse Publican, Christopher Wanless
Grocer, Mr Stoves, now a bookies shop on Front Street
Travellers Rest Publican, Elizabeth Blakey
Hill Head Engineman, John Nichol, 5 in family

Morrison Butcher's in 1920s. Front St Camperdown

Hazlerigge (Weetslade Township)

Population 459; Houses 105, uninhabited 5.

Schoolmaster, Edward Davidson
Halfway House Innkeeper, Richard Carr
Grocer, Robert Palmer, site of Station Road
Grocer, Thomas Purvis, x1841, behind Halfway House
Brickmaker, John Craven
Grocer, William Swinton, x1841, site of Station Road
Blacksmith, Abraham Boston and Son

1854 - Whellan's trade directory names Adam Tate as the sole owner of Burradon Quarry. Previously, in 1828, it was owned by the company of Tate and Brown.

1854 Jul 22  - Another boiler explosion
Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury
Local and District News

"An inquest was held on the 17th instant, at Camperdown, before Stephen Reed, Esq., coroner, on the body of Henry Stewart, aged 18, who was killed by the explosion of one of the boilers at Burradon Colliery. One of the jurymen was fined by the coroner for non-attendance."

1854 - The land of Burradon was in chancery. It was sold by order of the Court of Chancery, on June 9th 1857, for £29,800 at a public auction held at the Queens' Head, Newcastle. The land of 520 acres was jointly purchased by Mr. Joseph Straker of Benwell and his son, Mr. John Straker of Tynemouth and consisted of Burradon Farm, the Colliery, Hill Head Farm and a large portion of Burradon/Camperdown lands. The Strakers were to build up a considerable list of business interests including shipowning and mining. They purchased a large country estate at High Warden, near Hexham. The blurb to the sale mentions the farm yielding a yearly income of £700 from the "highly respectable tenants-at-will Messrs Younger who's practical husbandry offers a model of excellence" even though they did not seem to have a security of tenure at this time. The mine was let to Lord Ravensworth [Grand Allies] for an unexpired term of fourteen years at a minimum of £1000 per annum and a quarry of freestone being wrought for a reasonable profit.

1855 - Whellan Trade Directory, Camperdown (Hazlerigg)

Bell, Mary Ann; Grocer [Probably where Bookies is now on Front Street and occupied by Mr Stoves in 1851]

Blakey, Elizabeth; Beer Retailer [Travellers Rest x1851]
Carr, George; Vict. Collier Lad
Carr, Richard; Vict. Halfway House [Also present 1851]
Marshall, George; Joiner and Cartwright
Purvis, Thomas; Grocer [Also present 1841]
Wanless, Christopher; Vict. Grey Horse [Also present 1851]
Weetslade Part
Davidson, Edward; Schoolmaster [Also present 1851]
Palmer, George; Grocer [Robert Palmer in 1851]

1856 Jul 12 - Reduction in Wages
Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury
Local And District News

"The owners of Seghill and Burradon collieries have intimated to their workmen that the position of the trade unavoidably compels them to make some reduction in the present rate of wages."

1858 Kelly's Trade Directory

Carr, John and Co; Colliery Owners
Tate, Adam; Quarry Owner [Also trading 1854]
Younger, John and William; Farmers [Also present 1851]
Blakey, Elizabeth; Grey Horse [in 1855 victualler of Travellers Rest]
Carr, Elizabeth; Halfway House [in 1855 Richard Carr]
Carr, George; Beer Retailer [Travellers Rest; in 1855 had been licensee of the Collier Lad]
Laverick, Eleanor; Shopkeeper [Probably site of Dixons Buildings just south of the Grey Horse]
Marshall, George; Joiner and Wheelwright [Also present 1855]
Palmer, Robert; Shopkeeper [Also present 1855]
Rutherford, John; Collier Lad
Short, Edward; Shopkeeper [shop between Travellers Rest and Collier Lad]

1858 - Joshua Bower of Leeds purchases the colliery at Burradon, but retains the services of Charles Carr as manager. Messrs Carr and Co sold all four their collieries by public auction in this year due to what is described in the Mining and Smelting Magazine Vol 1:"the disastrous effects the commercial panic of 1857 had upon their property". The purchase price was £50,000.

Related Articles...