Beaconsfield House was built between 1882-1884 for John Henry Burn, a coal merchant and philanthropist with inherited wealth from his father David, who had made his fortune as an iron founder in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The building, a large villa residence, was for many years a prominent landmark on Tynemouth Seafront. The house and its grounds covered an area of 1 acre 3 roods and it was named in honour of Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli) who died in 1881.
The property comprised a basement, drawing room, dining room, billiard room, library, eight bedrooms, a feature staircase, two indoor WCs, two bathrooms and a further three rooms for servants.
John Burn died in 1898; however, his widow continued to live at the house until 1922.
Between 1924 and 1945 Beaconsfield House was owned by a Robert Thornton Bolt Esq., a Provisions Importer, and there is a suggestion that it was once used as a billet for an army anti-aircraft unit during the Second World War.
By 1946, the property had been sold and taken over by Dr. Barnardo’s, who had been looking for another home in the area to replace two of their properties which had been destroyed during wartime bombing raids.
Beaconsfield House was ideal and opened in January 1946 when some boys and staff arrived late one night in the back of a lorry. This was because the local council gave Barnardo’s just twenty four hours notice to either occupy the house or lose it, so time was paramount. Initially, Beaconsfield House catered for twelve boys; however it had accommodation for up to forty.
In 1953, Tynemouth Council bought the house under a compulsory purchase order, following plans to develop the sea front, as a result of which on 1st September 1953 the home closed and Barnardo’s vacated the property.
While the area’s future was being considered, Beaconsfield House was used by other organisations, including Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Rescue Society who provided holidays for disadvantaged children. In 1956 the council took the decision to demolish the house and this work was completed early in 1957.
Plans to build a multi-storey hotel and leisure complex were never carried forward and the site has never been developed, but still remains as a large open field, which retains the popular name of Beaconsfield.
by Charlie Steel © 2012
Local historian and writer Charlie Steel has lived in Monkseaton for most of his life.
His published books include; ‘Monkseaton Village Vol. 1’, ‘Monkseaton & Hillheads’ and ‘Inns and Taverns of North Shields’ all of which are available from most local booksellers.