SALTWELL PARK - A REGISTERED GRADE II PARK
Saltwell Park was registered a Grade ll Park and Garden of Special Historic Interest by Historic England, formerly English Heritage in 1986. Within its grounds it has twelve Grade ll Listed Structures. The following gives a brief overview of the structures with descriptions from the National Heritage List for England (NHLE).
1872 reconstruction as a drinking fountain. Dated in shield in gable shaped back flanked by piers with pyramidal caps. Coursed square stone. Central alcove basin (tap removed) with pious text above.
At the base of the well a small archway has the text “ for ye goode of thirstie dogges”.
The well once formed part of the western perimeter to the Park.
Listed 23rd January 1973 (No. 1277873).
Early 1870’s, built as part of the landscaping to Saltwell Park Mansion for William Wailes. Two levels of rusticated stone walls with plinths and copings and octagonal corner towers with battlements, U- and L-shaped on plan and enclosing a small upper and larger lower belvedere. Associated flights of stairs. These buildings form appropriate southern and western approaches to the mansion.Belvedere (Italian for ‘fair view’) is an architectural structure sited to take advantage of a fine or scenic view.
Listed 23rd January 1973 (No. 1248550).
The style of the building is largely a mixture of Gothic and Elizabethan with some French influence. The general external appearance is dominated by asymmetrical towers, steeply pitched roofs, plain and crenelated parapets, tall chimney stacks and polychromatic brick work. Built in around 1871 for the stained glass manufacturer William Wailes, it would become amongst other things the home of Joseph Shipley in 1888, a First World War Hospital from 1916 until 1920 and a museum between 1933 and 1969.
4 CHARLTON MEMORIAL DRINKING FOUNTAIN
Listed 23rd January 1973 (No.1248553). Stone and granite in Gothic style. Square stepped base and battered shaft. Grey granite basins on each face supported on corbels with pink granite columns. Main shaft has inset corner columns of pink granite and high relief carvings, a gable on each face and a crocketed spire with angle pinnacles. Two portrait heads, [only one on memorial] a coat of arms and an inscription ‘ To George Charlton Esq, JP, Mayor of Gateshead 1874 and 1875 in recognition of his labours in the cause of social reform’.
George Charlton (1808-1885) was born near Hexham, Northumberland. He grew up on a farm and went into business with his brother as a butcher. He became a Methodist Preacher and a great advocate of the temperance principles, being an active member of the Teetotal Society. The memorial was unveiled by Robert Spence Watson on 9th September 1876.
5 SOUTH AFRICAN BOER WAR MEMORIAL
Listed 23rd January 1973 (No. 1248761).
.Stepped tapered granite plinth. Bayleaf pattern torus at step and fraped
cartouches below cornice. Inscribed with the names of the fallen on sides.
Scrolled step above with carved bay wreath on which stands bronze angel holding
aloft a laurel crown. The first part of the inscription reads: ‘South
African War 1899-1902, In grateful remembrance of the Gateshead men who lost
their lives in their countries service. This memorial was erected by their
fellow townsmen October 1905’.
The memorial was actually unveiled by Lieutenant General Sir
John French on November 11th 1905, a date that would become
synonymous with acts of war and remembrance in years to come.
Listed 23rd January 1973 (No.1248554).
c1800 [actually 1880]. Two octagonal buildings. Stone and wrought iron. Coursed squared stone bases, framed upper parts rising to pointed roofs.
Costing £74 the two aviaries were built with proceeds from a concert held by the local police band initiated by the then Chief Constable John Elliott “for the reception of singing and other birds”.
8 STABLE BLOCK
Listed 23rd January 1973. (No.1277773).
c1871 [actually 1881] built in similar style to Mansion House. Red brick with white brick quoins and dressings, polychromatic frieze, hipped slate roof with two gabled dormers, central spire, western bell shelter. One and half storeys, five bays. Central segmented arch, carriage doors at right.
Built at the request of Newcastle timber merchant Hugh Clayton Armstrong when became a tenant in Saltwell Towers after the death of William Wailes.
Listed 23rd January 1973 (North No.12455 South No. 1277742). 1887 removed from Town Moor, Newcastle. Timber and tiles. Octagonal with two front bays open, flanking bays half walled. Frame of rough rustic posts and braces to conical roof with octagonal drum and pointed cupola. Walls of half branches with applied in geometric patterns, open-work on the drum.
Designed by James Bower and modelled on those in Regents Park, London.
11 STATUE OF ALDERMAN JOHN LUCAS
Listed 23rd January 1973. (No. 1248769). 1903 by William Grant Stevenson. Lively and naturalistic life size bronze figure in aldermanic robes on rusticated sandstone inscribed ‘Alderman John Lucas 1837-1900, erected by public subscription in 1903’. Stands on a moulded granite plinth.
The only statue in Saltwell Park, it was unveiled on the 11th May 1903 by Alderman Richardson of Newcastle upon Tyne. Alderman Richardson who was the replacement for Earl Grey as was too ill to attend addressed the crowd saying “John Lucas was a man who walked in the humbler spheres of life and yet exhibited a devotion to duty worthy of recognition, imitation and praise.”
12 ENTRANCE GATES AND PIERS TO SALTWELL PARK
Listed 13th January 1983. (No. 1277843). Large chamfered square stone piers with plinth, moulded cornice and stepped blocking course. Double wrought iron gates with large pattern of spirals within feather shapes, of Art Nouveau character.
Produced by Bainbridge and Crimson of Gateshead the gates were awarded a bronze medal at the Paris International Exposition in 1878 and were offered to Saltwell Park in 1885 for £25.
"Hello there, my name is George Charlton and I would like to welcome you to Saltwell Park. The Park was opened in 1876 the same year that this memorial you are standing in front of was dedicated to my memory. I was born near Hexham in Northumberland in 1808 and grew up on my father’s farm. I left the farm when I was 16 and went into business with my brother as a butcher in Blaydon. I became a preacher and a great supporter of the temperance movement and an active member of the Newcastle Teetotal Society. Later in life I moved to Bensham in Gateshead and was elected mayor twice in row, 1874 and 1875. Following that I had the honour of becoming an Alderman and a Justice of the Peace.
In the 140 years that I’ve watched over Saltwell Towers I’ve seen a lot of changes. It was the family home of William Wailes, a hospital during the First World War and even a museum. The museum closed in 1969 due to the spread of dry rot and for the next 30 years the building was railed off and a debate continued for many years regarding its conservation or demolition. Thankfully in 1998 restoration of Saltwell Towers began with the successful application of a Heritage Lottery Grant.
Saltwell Towers is one of the twelve Grade ll Listed Structures within the Park and all have their unique story to tell. If you would like to read more about the heritage of Saltwell Park please go to the Friends of Saltwell Park website (whatever one of those is). To make your own mark in history, Historic England is running its ‘Enrich the List’ campaign at Historic England. It invites you to share your knowledge and pictures of listed structures so important facts and historic information can be updated and recorded to help protect them now and for the benefit of future generations.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your visit to our wonderful Park."