Historically, the British pub has been rooted in working class communities, many of which have gradually diminished over the decades, whether in the town, the city or the countryside. It was once commonplace to see a pub on nearly every street corner in the days when ‘The Local’ was simply a place to relax or enjoy friendly banter, play a game of cards, dominoes or darts, or to simply chat with friends.
Often, the choice of beer in a pub was limited to mild or bitter and opening hours were ruthlessly observed. When the landlord called “Time gentlemen, please”, it meant exactly that, and stay-behinds or late bars were very much a rarity.
Originally, West Monkseaton was an area surrounded by fields with only the main road to Newcastle passing through it, until rapid housing development took place in the mid 1930s. As the area grew, the needs of the residents were met with a small shopping centre on nearby Seatonville Road, a modern cinema, and a new public house – the ‘Grange Hotel’, which opened on 16th July 1937.
It was built in Art Deco style typical of the period on the site of Monkseaton Grange Farm by Messrs Elliot Bros of Otterburn Terrace, Jesmond. The architect was a Mr. J.R. Wallace of North Shields. A press description of the day stated: “The ‘Grange Hotel’ is an impressive building situated on the Earsdon Road, only 200 yards south of West Monkseaton Station and will rank as one of the finest hotels in the country.”
Of all the managers over the years, perhaps the most popular and well known of these was Mr Alfie Tonks who ran the pub during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Although the pub has undergone no external alterations of significance, a major refurbishment in 1962 also brought with it a pointless change of name to ‘The Hunting Lodge’.
‘The Grange/Hunting Lodge’ is also featured in my new book, ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns and Taverns (Part 2)’, which follows up the recently published Part 1, and is an illustrated Gazetteer and Directory providing a fascinating insight to all the licensed premises which existed over the past 200 years in the North Shields area, including Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Whitley Bay and surrounding district.
The book is to be launched at 2pm on Friday 18th October at The Grand Hotel, Tynemouth and will be available for sale afterwards. All are welcome.
by Charlie Steel © 2013
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village’ Vols 1 & 2, and ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns Part 1’, all of which are available from most local booksellers.