Records indicate that early in the thirteenth century, when the present Tynemouth Priory was under construction, the monks had gardens where they grew herbs to make medicine for the poor. They also had a nearby brew-house where various ales were produced, and the younger monks had to learn the secret of brewing the herbs and extracting the virtue to make it ready for use.
It is suggested that the sign of the inn belonging to Tynemouth Priory would have been ‘The Salutation’, bearing witness to the days when the monasteries were actively concerned in the ownership and control of many English inns, the sign of which was an illustration of the Angel Gabriel saluting the Virgin Mary.
Wayfarers, pilgrims and knights travelling the coast would drink at the inn, which may have helped pay for the building of the priory.
The present ‘Salutation’, however, standing on the south side of Front Street, dates back to 1790 and it is highly probable that its name was taken from those times. Originally the building was a hotel and coaching inn, which had been converted from two separate houses and allowed for an interior which consisted of a front bar area, and four small sitting rooms. Towards the rear of the building, an outside yard incorporated an area to allow sufficient stabling for up to 24 horses. In later years, this stabling area was also used as a motor garage and was accessed through a narrow passage to the right of the inn.
Although the interior of the building has undergone several bouts of alterations and modernisation over the years, the first major work took place in 1964 when the pub was completely refurbished and upgraded. In more recent years however, further interior alterations and extensions have taken place, but much of the exterior of the building still retains its original format.
Perhaps one alteration which has quite innocently passed unnoticed is the change of name from the ‘Salutation Hotel’ to the ‘Salutation Inn’. It probably doesn’t matter too much anyway, because to most locals and regulars the pub is known simply as ‘The Sal’.
by Charlie Steel © 2011
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, local historian Charlie Steel has lived almost all of his life in Monkseaton. His books “Monkseaton and Hillheads” and “Inns and Taverns of North Shields” are published by Tempus and are available in all good book shops.
All Charlie’s articles which are featured in Roundabout Monkseaton can also be found on his website www.monkseaton.info. Charlie also writes articles for Roundabout Tynemouth.
If you have any old pictures or photographs of Monkseaton that you would like to share then please e-mail Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.