Tyne and Wear HER(1863): Benwell, Benwell Hall - Details
Benwell, Benwell Hall
Little trace of Benwell Hall, which was situated on the north side of Ferguson's Lane, west of the junction with Gretna Road, remains today. The only clues to its existence are a few mature trees which were retained as part of the sheltered housing development which occupies the Hall's former site. Benwell Hall was built of brick, probably during the second half of the 18th century for the Surtees family. Ian Farrier suggests that the date is likely to be in the 1770s. Later extensions were added during the C19, possibly to the designs of Dobson. The original house was symmetrical, two storeys in height and five bays wide with a double string course separating the ground and first floor; the later additions on either side of the original block are clearly discernable on photographs. The house stood in wooded grounds and was approached by a long winding drive. In front lay a large lawn with flower beds and a short flight of steps leading to second, lower lawn. William Surtees, son of the Newcastle banker Aubone Surtees and the brother of Bessie Surtees who eloped with John Scott, later Lord Eldon, was resident in the house in the 18th century. According to Mackenzie, by the 1820s it was occupied by the chemical manufacturer William Cuthbert, who was to commission Dobson to build Beaufront Castle in 1836. Some time afterwards, the Hall became the home of the merchant William Cookson and later of the Liddell family. Cuthbert Liddell, a merchant, passed the estate to his son John Liddell, a colliery owner who was resident in 1873. His son, another John, initially lived at Benwell but moved to Prudhoe Hall in 1897. Benwell Hall was then leased to John Burdon and sold in 1924 to William Bramble. Around this date some of the land was sold off to provide a sports field for Vickers Armstrong which eventually passed to Newcastle United for use as a training ground. William Bramble died in 1948 leaving six daughters, the last of whom died in 1980. Despite considerable public opposition, the house was demolished in 1982 after plans to convert it into executive apartments failed.
<< HER 1863 >> T. Faulkner & P. Lowery, 1996, Lost Houses of Newcastle and Northumberland, p 12-13; Notes from I Farrier, 2015, West Newcastle Picture History Collection; Robert Shafto's will, 1779, NRO 324/J8; Sale of Benwell Lodge land 1781, NRO 00324/J/14; Manorial Records MBE 1.122 & 126 (NRO)