Newcastle-upon-Tyne Council Homes

In 1930, the Boards of Guardians, who had administered the poor relief system in England and Wales since 1834, were abolished and their responsibilities were taken over by county and county borough councils. Each council set up a Public Assistance Committee to oversee its new duties, which included the operation of the various children's establishments previously run by the poor law unions in each area. The Newcastle Upon Tyne Council's Public Assistance Committee took over the Newcastle Union's cottage homes site at Ponteland, where up to 320 children were accommodated, together with the 18-bed receiving home. Myrtle Cottage, at the corner of Bentinck Road and Clifton Road, Newcastle. A new receiving home was opened in about 1938 at Benwell View, on the east side of Bentinck Road, virtually opposite Myrtle Cottage. In 1945, the home was referred to as Elswick Grange, Bentinck Road, and in 1947 as Grindon, on Beech Grove Road.

Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authorities, the council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Public Assistance Committees. The Committee took over responsibility for the Ponteland, Myrtle Cottage and Beech Grove Road premises, although the use of Myrtle Cottage appears to have ended soon afterwards. By 1950, there was a residential nursery in operation on Armstrong Road, Newcastle.

The 1948 Act had recommended that where children needed to be in residential care, they should be in 'family group' homes, which ideally accommodated no more than eight children, or twelve at most. By 1950, the council made its first step in this direction with a mixed 'family group' home at 1 Tankerville Place, Jesmond. By 1953, they had been joined by 18 Birnham Place, Gosforth, and 21 Staithes Avenue, Longbenton, both located on new council housing estates. The Armstrong Road nursery had also by then been replaced by one at Clifton Mount on Grainger Park Road, Newcastle, with some of the cottage homes accommodation at Ponteland also being given over to residential nursery use. The whole of the Ponteland site was eventually closed in 1959.

Further estate-based family group homes were opened in the 1960s. The council's children's accommodation in 1972 is listed below:

LocationPlaces
Clifton Mount Residential Nursery, Grainger Park Road, Newcastle18
Fernwood House Reception Centre, Clayton Road, Newcastle30
Theresa Russell Hall Hostel, Adderstone Crescent, Newcastle16
Family Group Home, 1 Tqnkerville Place, Jesmond12
Family Group Home, 21 Staithes Avenue, Longbenton10
Family Group Home, 18 Birnham Place, Monatgue Estate, Newcastle10
Family Group Home, 221 Woodstock Road, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 14 Chalfont Road, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 17 Mead Walk, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 23 Wasdale Road, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 12 Slatyford Lane, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 12 Chevin Close, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 5 Hartburn Walk, Newcastle9
Family Group Home, 25 Gofton Walk, Newcastle11
Family Group Home, 17 St Oswald's Green, Newcastle11
Family Group Home, 8 Gloucester Way, Newcastle11
Family Group Home, 8 Iona Place, Newcastle11
Family Group Home, 17 Liddle Court, Newcastle11

From 1973, the council took on responsibility for the running of two former Approved Schools which were then being redesignated as Community Homes with Education. They were St Hilda's at Gosforth and Axwell Park at Blaydon.

In the 1970s, further family group homes were opened and a small number were closed. In 1979, Clavering House, in Axwell Park, Blaydon, was opened in the property's former walled garden as an observation and assessment centre for children with multiple problems. The council's establishments open in 1984 are shown below.

Fernwood House Reception Centre, Clayton Road, Newcastle
Clavering House Observation and Assessment Centre, Axwell Park, Blaydon
Hostel, 1 Gill Street, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 131 Birchvale Avenue Avenue, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 14 Chalfont Road, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 12 Earsdon Close, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 17 Mead Walk, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 23 Wasdale Road, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 12 Slatyford Lane, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 12 Chevin Close, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 221 Woodstock Road, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 5 Hartburn Walk, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 21 Staithes Avenue, Longbenton
Family Group Home, 18 Birnham Place, Montague Estate, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 25 Gofton Walk, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 17 St Oswald's Green, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 8 Iona Place, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 8 Gloucester Way, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 17 Liddle Court, Newcastle
Family Group Home, 1 Tankerville Place, Jesmond
St Hilda's School, 305 Salter's Road, Gosforth
Leaving Care Team, Rivendell, 1a Jubilee Road, Melbourne Street, Newcastle

Composite list of children's establishments run (at some time in their history) by Newcastle-upon-Tyne Council.

* indicates link to pages on www.workhouses.org.uk.

Records

The involvement of local authorities in the running of children's homes dates from 1930, when they took over the running of the poor relief system previously administered by Boards of Guardians. Surviving records for council-run children's homes may be held in each council's own internal archives. Prior to 1991, however, when a legal requirement was introduced for councils to retain records of children leaving their care, the survival of such records is very variable. Contact details for local authorities in the UK can be found on the website of the Care Leavers Association (CLA). The CLA also provides guidance on accessing childhood care files, which are normally only open to the individuals they relate to.

Locating local authority records has been complicated by the various local government reorganizations that have taken place in recent times, such as the abolition of the London County Council in 1965, and the major nationwide restructuring in 1974 in which many administrative areas were created, amended or eliminated.

Older records may sometimes be placed with the relevant county or borough record office. Many of these repositories have online catalogues of their holdings and also contribute to the National Archives' Discovery database. Note that records containing personal data usually have access closed for a period of fifty years or more.

Older material relating to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Council homes may exist at:

Some records relating to council-run homes, for example inspection reports (though not resident lists etc.), are held by The National Archives (TNA). A closure period may apply to these records.

Bibliography