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Tyne and Wear HER(8270): Low Fell, Kells Lane, No. 99, Underhill - Details

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Low Fell, Kells Lane, No. 99, Underhill

Low Fell





Early Modern


Extant Building

Substantial house of the 1860's. Two storeys and attic. Three parallel ridges (slated roofs and fancy ridge tiles) with gable ends to road, stepped back from North to South. Snecked sandstone rubble with white brick quoins and dressings. Sash windows, varying sizes, central canted bay and another on right return. Conservatory at South-east corner. Entrance lobby on North return has engraved glass with monogram of Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, FRS. Sir Joseph lived at Underhill from 1869 until 1883, in the conservatory his most important experiments were conducted those to do with dry plate photography and engraving and in particular the making of filaments for the first practical incandescent electric lamp. The house is therefore of more than ordinary historical importance. It is also relatively unspoilt, retaining its staircase, most of the interior woodwork, fireplaces and the original bathroom, complete with bath. Underhill was the first house in England to be wired for domestic electric lighting and some of the early fittings remain. Sources: "A Memoir of Sir Joseph Swan" by M E and R K Swan, 1929. Everyman's Encyclopaedia {1}. Pevsner calls it a large unlovely polychrome villa. LISTED GRADE 2*




Department of National Heritage, List of Buildings of Special architectural or Historic Interest, 11/39

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