New York: It is not unusual for villages to take their names from other parts of the world. This kind of naming gained prominence in the North East as topical names for nineteenth century coal mining or ironstone villages. New York falls into this category, along with the nearby hamlet of Philadelphia. These types of names are also evident in County Durham where such places as Quebec, Toronto, Philadelphia and Canada, along with California in North Yorkshire, can be found.
North Shields: The Prior of Tynemouth decided in 1225 to create a fishing port to provide fish for the Priory. He also wished to victual ships anchored near the Priory. As a result, a number of rudimentary houses or ‘shiels’ were erected at the mouth of the Pow Burn where the stream enters the river on the north side of the Tyne, hence the later adaptation to North Shields.
Old Hartley village sits on a slight rise to the north of Whitley Bay, though Hartley itself once encompassed the entire area between the Brier Dene at Whitley and the Seaton Burn stream on the Blyth coastal road, to incorporate the present day Seaton Sluice.
Panama Dip is an area of Whitley Links, situated on the site of the former ‘Panama Café’, occupied by a Mr Stephen Fry in the late 1800s. The café may have derived its name from the time that Mr Fry worked as a diver during the construction of the Panama Canal.
Peggy’s Hole: During the 1700s, North Shields was prone to press gang raids and in 1796, 250 mechanics and seamen were pressed into service during a raid in which the town was cordoned off by troops. One of the naval vessels involved was ‘The Peggy’, remembered in the name of Peggy’s Hole, situated on the River Tyne close to North Shields Fish Quay.
Percy Main (or Percy as it was originally known) was a village and chapelry in Tynemouth parish which was constituted in 1860. It lies 1½ miles from North Shields. The name of Percy, long associated with the Duke of Northumberland, may be the source of the name of the chapelry. The suffix of ‘Main’ is a later addition and may have a connection with the original waggonways and railway which once dominated the area.
Philadelphia was a tiny colliery hamlet built on an allotment within the boundary of Shire Moor and was not assigned to any township. It was situated a short distance to the south west of Murton Village and it no longer exists as such. The name’s origins are unknown.
Pow Burn / Pow Dene: Whilst a burn is generally regarded as a small stream, and a dene is a small valley with a stream running through it, it is likely that the name Pow Burn was also derived from the Celtic word for a stream, ‘pwl’. Old maps indicate that the Pow Burn originated close to Marden and Preston Grange Estates (an area formerly referred to as ‘The Mosses’) before winding its way to the River Tyne, through Spital Dene and Northumberland Park, with its outlet at ‘The Gut’ close to the Fish Quay.
by Charlie Steel © 2015
Further reading for many of Charlie’s articles can be found in his books: ‘Monkseaton Village’ (Vol. 1 & 2), North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns’ (Part 1 & 2) and ‘Tynemouth Remembered’ all published by Summerhill Books.