Monkseaton, Whitley and Hill Heads were once three separate and distinct places. Virtually all the fields which once separated the areas have since been built over to accommodate housing, and although the core pattern of both Monkseaton and Whitley Village still exist, the remaining streets which form the basis of the present day layout of today’s main roads are remarkably evident.
As can be seen on the 1856 map, the limestone quarry (typically referred to as Marden Quarry), originally embraced a large area from Whitley Hill Heads to Marden, between what is now Hillheads Road and the Broadway.
Around 1875 the section closest to Hill Heads Road incorporated kilns and was set up by a Richard Heckels Nesbitt as steam brickworks. By 1889 the brickworks had been exhausted and were landscaped to become ‘West Park’. The remaining land near to the Broadway later came into the possession of the North Shields Waterworks and in more recent years was landscaped to become a countryside park.
Early maps indicate that an old waggonway once ran from Marden Limestone Quarry, roughly shadowing the route of the present Broadway to the south. The track then crossed Spital Dene at Tynemouth and terminated at the Low Light Staithes, North Shields.
The line of the original Broadway runs to the south of Whitley Village, past Marden Tower which was once a powder store for the quarry.
Coal was mined to the north of Monkseaton, and a pit was sunk at Hillheads. Whitley Colliery stood on the area between Marden Road South and Plessey Crescent to the west of Whitley Station and the present railway line.
Various wells and springs were dotted throughout many of the fields and were once an important source for the supply of fresh water. Perhaps the most notable of these were the ‘Fancy Well’ which stood in fields now built over as Osborne Gardens, and the ‘Cold Well’ which was situated by Cauldwell (Coldwell) Lane near to Pykerley (Lane) Road.
Other smaller wells and springs stood on the lands of Burnt House Farm, Seatonville Farm and the fields now built up as Marden Estate. There was also ‘Whitley Well’ which stood close to the present junction of Park Road and Park Avenue.
Typically, many of the field paths later formed the basis of many of the streets in the area, including Bromley Avenue, Pykerley Road, Relton Terrace, Beverley Road, The Gardens and St Ronan’s Road.
It is from these early beginnings that the area we know best today developed.
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.