In 1914, a James Turton of Monkseaton purchased an area of land between Front Street and Bygate Road, which was formerly occupied by the grounds of Monkseaton Village Farm, and in 1916 he built a large house on part of the site, now evident as No. 12 Bygate Road.
Hidden away behind Monkseaton Methodist Church, one of the larger outbuildings of the farm became Monkseaton Garage, which Turton established soon after the end of World War 1.
Although minimally altered, many of the remaining stone farm outbuildings still stand and now have commercial and storage uses for nearby businesses.
Monkseaton Garage existed for a number of years, and was used as a service and repair centre, with the present DIY shop (built in the early 1930s) being used as a car showroom for a time. This building later became Reeves Timber & Hardware, which was established soon after the end of World War 2. It was sold in 1967 to an employee – Tom Kelly – and still retains his name. After continuously trading for over 65 years, the shop remains as one of the oldest and longest established businesses in the village.
The garage sold fuel which was dispensed from a pump which stood on the small ‘island’ next to the church (adjacent to Front Street), which now accommodates a community notice board.
The picture above shows Monkseaton Garage circa 1932, with James Turton in the centre of the picture wearing a trilby hat.
Eventually, the business and house at 12 Bygate Road was inherited by Mr Tom Shields, James’s grandson.
In 1946, Tom Shields expanded on his grandfather’s garage business and also established a small company within the garage premises which he named ‘Pioneer Mixers’. This company manufactured cement mixers for the construction industry and many thousands of them were bought by customers in the UK, with others being exported abroad, particularly to South Africa.
‘Pioneer Mixers’ ran successfully until 1971 when demand declined. Production at the premises eventually ceased and the garage business also closed.
The garage was later taken over and subsequent usage has included offices, motor servicing and storage facilities for a car hire company (Lisles).
by Charlie Steel © 2014
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village’ Vols 1 & 2, and ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ Parts 1 & 2, all of which are available from most local booksellers.