html> Swalwell History





Various details of events throughout the recorded history of Swalwell with my own odd comment.



1186  The Swalwell area is first mentioned in The Boldon Book - the Northern equivalent of the Domesday Book, where its (rateable) value is listed as 16 Shillings (80p). And then  we slept for 400 years.........!

1629  William Smith of Durham alienates the land of Swalwell to John Clavering, Alderman of Newcastle and his son James. (and we have remained aliens ever since).

1640  A coaching house is built on Hexham Road. Later it becomes the village post office and of late, the Angel B & B. It is the oldest remaining structure in Swalwell and was built without foundations.

1707  Sir Ambrose Crowley establishes his metal works in Swalwell.

17--  First school is opened. (with effects still to be seen!).

1715  The Great Fire of Swalwell (well not quite - the local wood yard caught fire!)

1717  Freemasons' lodge founded. (which explains why even today Swalwellers shake hands between their legs!).

1747  John Wesley first preached at Swalwell. He returned in 1757and 1759. (and still never found his wallet!).

1748  William Shield, musician and composer, born. Later appointed Master of the King's music.

1750  Presbyterian church built on Market Lane. (Ebenezer Chapel).

1758  Swalwell Hoppings which had been held on Whit Monday for several years had for this year an advertisement proclaiming sports such as; `Dancing for Ribands, Grinning for tobacco, women running for smocks, foot races for men, ass races (? I'm saying nothing!!) and a man who would eat a live cockerel, feathers entrails and all. (still done regularly after a good Saturday night session in the Highlander) What a shame the hoppings have ended!.
('Buckle-mouthed Jock' won Grinning for Tobacco and 'Slavering Nell'  won the race for the smock, well, at least one year!! - see Swalwell Hoppings song on the Swalwell Music page)

1759  On the 30th March , an unfortunate affair happened at Swalwell. A press-gang went thither in quest of men, but the inhabitants (Crowley's Crew) gave them a severe drubbing. The next night the gang returned, and another scuffle took place. One William MOFFAT, a barber, was seized, and Mr BELL, one of the chief inhabitants, received five stabs with a sword in different parts of his body in consequence of which he died. Some others, on both sides, were dangerously wounded, including the midshipman who headed the gang. MOFFAT made his escape, but a reward of 20 having been offered for his apprehension, he was arrested at Whitehaven by a man named OSBORN, alias Captain Death, so nick-named for his performance in singing a celebrated ditty relating to the captain of the Terrible privateer whose servant he had formerly been. MOFFAT was lodged in Carlisle gaol, and afterwards brought to Durham, where he was tried at the assizes in August 1759 but acquitted

1760  Clavering Bridge is constructed over the River Derwent at Selbey's Ford.

1771  Swalwell is devastated by a flood which also swept away a bridge in Newcastle.

1775  Charleton Nesbitt, wood engraver, born.

1780  Crowley's Workhouse built.

1782  Crowley's works bought by Milligan & Co. (Later closed and re-opened by Ridley & Co).

1810  Crucible steel manufacturing is introduced into Swalwell - but too late - Sheffield had already stolen the lead.

1815  Wesleyan Methodist Chapel built.

1817 The artist Turner visits Swalwell and paints a picture of the Dam Head for the Earl of Strathmore (Gibside Estate). Held by the Tate Gallery in London (Turner's sketchbook).

1822  Keelmen's strike.

1829  Death of William Shield.

1830 'Snowball's' Brickworks established by G.H.Ramsay.

1831 Swalwell is flooded again!! - (now I know why they built all the new houses above Clavering Road instead of the Waterside).

1831  During the Reform campaign the men of Swalwell turned out in support of the reformers. At a demonstration at Durham in October, Charles Attwood heard of a plan to break up a reformist meeting organized a force of three hundred men from the Swalwell district. Armed with oak saplings from Gibside**, Crowley's Crew (employees of Sir Ambrose Crowley) dealt effectively with the agitators and the meeting was held without any hindrance.
(** I believe these are now referred to as Sunderland supporters.)

1838  Death of Charlton Nesbit in London.

1839  Axwell Park Colliery opened.

1875  Swalwell Board School opened on Market Lane, next to Presbyterian Church.

1876  Crowley's steelworks are sold to Ridley & Co after 170 years presence in Swalwell.

189-    Margaret Dryburgh (famous missionary and Japanese POW) resides in Swalwell and attends Swalwell school.

1893  The Holy Trinity Church opens its doors.

1898  New Presbyterian Hall of Worship built on site opposite Ebenezer Chapel Junction of Napier Road and Market Lane).

1902  Swalwell Social Club founded and is located in the White House at the foot of Whickham Bank..

1911  Metal works finally closed.

1923  Adamsez of Scotswood buy out Snowball's brickworks.

1926  Coke ovens built near Winlaton Mill.

1928  Shopping and Carnival week.

1940  Henry Pit closes down due to flooding.

195-   Due to flooding in 1831, buildings around the Waterside were demolished.

1954  Axwell Park Colliery closed.

1962  Fire Station constructed in the Greenfields area of Swalwell on Market Lane.

1962  Centenary celebration of Blaydon Races held at Blaydon Rugby Club.

1969  Ramsay's Brickworks closed down.

1986  Opening of Metro Centre.

1986  Swalwell school on Market Lane closes after 111 years and moves to new premises on Coalway Lane.

1999  Swalwell reaches the Internet courtesy of Michael Gallagher.

2002  Spencer's Buildings, Foundry Lane, previously 'listed' buildings, are demolished after a fire gutted their interior.

2005  The foundations of Sir Ambrose Crowley's iron works off Front Street were excavated, photographed and measured by an archaeological team prior to being demolished to provide the foundations for a new Lidl supermarket. Well there you go, commerce taking precedence over heritage and history....!!! (Pics HERE


2011  Swalwell Club is severely damaged by a fire.







2003  Swalwell life reaches a new level of depravity following the decision of a GERMAN lady (a certain Ms. Frauenau) to open a SEX DUNGEON in the village. The 'dungeon' will only be charging 100 pounds per 'disciplinary' session so it is unlikely that any of Swalwell's hostelry regulars will be taking her up on her services!
2004  Despite local opposition, the SEX DUNGEON is finally opened assisted apparently by the intervention of the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott. And there was little old me thinking this kind of thing was only of interest to Conservative MPs.......Bad Boy.!!

2006  The Sex Dungeon closes due to lack of customers. Now why does that not surprise me?




Copyright 2001-2013 David Newton