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11 &12 Westbrook Villas
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Westbrook's New Victorian Lights
West brook Interior Architectural Features
Heritage Open Day September 2011
Westbrook Heritage Open Day September 2012
8 & 8a Westbrook Villas
Unique and very striking middle Victorian Gothic villa. Originally built in 1873 as a double fronted detached dwelling and extended and split into 2 in 1899. Unusual door entrance decoration. The bunch of grapes possibly depicts the original owners calling: a wealthy brewer and spirits merchant. Notable are the high quality white bricks from the Pease's own brick yard.
The architect of this house is thought to be the noted Victorian architect Robert Borrodale, whose striking and sometimes eccentric buildings featuring victorian heads, have largely been destroyed in other parts of Darlngton by developers.
9 & 10 Westbrook Villas
Superb quality semi-detached houses built of Pease's white bricks. No 9 was built for Mr Grieveson, wealthy coal merchant and No 10 as a girls school for Miss Jackson. Miss Jackson's brother ran a boy's school at no 18. These represent two important aspects of Darlington history: coal and its links with the S&D Railway and one of the many small schools encouraged by the Quakers because of which Darlington was known as the Athens of the North even up to the 1950s. Hayden Foster, WWI hero awarded the Military Cross for gallantry, sent many letters home from France and Belgium to his parents at no 9.
11 & 12 Westbrook Villas
|Two elegant examples of middle Victorian villas with unusual transverse brick construction (Flemish bonding) and an impressive flight of stone steps up to the front doors. Originally they had first floor cast iron balconies across both houses. No 11 has two special distinctions. Firstly it was built for William Hobson, S&D Railway's Head of Passenger Services who worked directly under George Stevenson. Secondly, William's son, Victor William Garribaldi Hobson, an artist, was acclaimed as a genius by his contemporaries. He won many distinctions and his work is represented in Manchester City Art Gallery, Bowes Museum and Darlington Art Centre.
No 12 was designed, built and occupied by locally well known builders and architects Thomas Hodgson and his son William. In 1873 they built on an off-shoot which included an indoor WC and bath, surely very advanced for the times. William Hodgson designed Pease's Mill Chimney (listed but still subsequently destroyed !!),The theatre in Northgate, Westbrook buildings etc.
13 & 14 Westbrook Villas
Built for Henry Pease in 1872, this pair of semi-detached villas have been used as examples for their fine architectural features to groups of students for field studies. A particularly notable feature being the tiles beneath the eaves.
15 & 16 Westbrook Villas
Built for Henry Pease and Partners in 1865, this splendid example of Victorian Gothic Architecture was built by the locally famous architect G.G. Hoskins. Probably his first domestic commission after he set up in the town in 1864, it incorporates many of the features which were to become his trademarks: 5 or more different colours of bricks, stone and terracotta and coloured decorative tiles. The black bricks are high quality engineering bricks. Residents have included top officials of the S&D Railway. Local folklore has it that this was also a school but I have found no evidence for this.
For more on architect GG Hoskins see Biographies
17 &18 Westbrook Villas
18 Westbrook Villas was built in 1864 as a home and boy's school for the Reverend Christopher Jackson, graduate of London University and one of the first headmasters of the national school from 1857 till he became rector of Middleton St George. The boys were boarders and a separate schoolroom was built in the back lane of Westbrook Villas in 1866. In the 1871 Census there were 18 boys resident aged from 8 to 19.
17 Westbrook Villas was owned and occupied by Robert Laidler, secretary of the historic South Durham Iron Co. Architect: J(Joseph?)Woodward.
19 & 20 Westbrook Villas
These were built in 1875 and are similar in style to nos 13 and 14. Builders Ward and Airey were early owners.
21 Westbrook Villas
Unusual double-fronted detached house built in 1864 (using Peases white bricks) for Samuel Elton, first head of Darlington's first School of Art, whose paintings are represented in national and regional art collections. He founded a dynasty of prominent artists. His favourite pupil was Victor Hobson from No 11 whom he helped and encouraged.
22 Westbrook Villas
|Unique high quality detached middle Victorian home. Built in 1866 with the quality white bricks from the Pease family own brickyard.
No 22 Westbrook Villas Bulmer family
No 22 was built in 1866 for the Bulmer family when the John Bulmer and his wife Ann Bulmer who was also his cousin moved in. In the 1871 census the residents were John Bulmer, 45, Ann Bulmer 39, Margaret 14, Maria 7, Ann 6, Ann 84 and servant Jane Robinson 17. Mary Ann was the eldest child and wrote a detailed booklet about her family. She was called after the sister of her father. John Bulmer was educated at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar school in Darlington and was fair haired and 6ft 2 inches in height. The Bulmers were Norwegian in origin. He became an architect and joined his father in construction work on railways, bridge building and other engineering enterprises. Mary Ann’s 2 sisters died and 2 others, Maria Florence and Annetta were born. Her father registered Annetta’s name as Ann but Annetta is on her tombstone.The family were Quakers and both John and wife Ann are buried in Darlington’s Quaker grave yard.
Bulmer’s Stone is a very well known landmark in Darlington and Mary Ann described their links with it. It was originally located close to one of the Bulmer’s residences and one of the family would stand on it and read out news from a news sheet. The Bulmers were quite an illustrious family and their crest was a bull passant (a bull looking to the right its right foot raised). There used to be the Bull’s Head Inn opposite to Bull Wynd and on the wall in Bull Wynd is a bull and the names of Anthony Bulmer and Marie Lazenby. They were related to the Nevills who carry the Bulls Head on their crest in recognition of their ancestry.
At 9 o’clock on 9th November 1874 John Bulmer was killed on a level crossing in Grimsby leaving his family still living in Westbrook Villas. Mrs Bulmer stayed in Westbrook Villas until the end of the century.
A photograph of Bulmer’s stone shows Joe Waites, an old milkman standing by the stone with milk cans. Waites reported that in the senior Bulmers office he had seen milk cans filled with sovereigns, half sovereigns, crowns etc down to coppers to give to his gangers (foremen) to pay his gang.
23 Westbrook Villas
1875 mid 19th century double fronted detached villa. Iron decoration on roof ridge. Particularly fine interiors with carving of the original owners’ initials above doors etc. It gentrifies and incorporates the original Westbrook Cottage which was a cottage in Henry Pease's Westbrook Gardens and appears in the first maps of Darlington and in the first census. Belonged to Henry Pease first mayor of Darlington? Said to have been originally a coaching Inn.
Summerhouse dating either from 1875 when the large house was built or when Westbrook Villas was Westbrook Gardens belonging to Henry Pease. Rotatable and still capable of working.
No 2 Upper Westbrook
Unique terrace of four houses built 1873 for employees of the Victorian railways on land originally belonging to the S&D Railway. Examples of the high quality houses available in this prosperous period. The remains of a pumping station lies beneath the foundations and originally there were baths in this area. for the workers in the coal drops etc. The pumping station was rediscovered when strange noises were heard in the house, leading people to think there were ghosts. The pump mechanism was disabled and the ghosts departed!
This was the home of Flora Dyson Nee Sutherland and her family moved there in the early part of the 20th century. Her father had been head Gamekeeper in the Zetland Estate with their own house. Lord Zetland seemed to have looked after his staff very well and the children were taken to school in a bucket cart. Flora wanted to train as a nurse but Mr Sutherland would not allow his daughter to work as he said her job was to stay at home and help her mother look after him and his sons. So “out of spite” as she said, she volunteered for the St John’s ambulance, rising to a prominent position which lead to her becoming a dame of the order and also gained her an OBE. She was first offered an MBE which she refused and then was offered an OBE which she accepted.
Lady Rowena Mountbatten, wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s uncle, also visited no 2 as a patron of St John, and she was very informal sitting on the floor by the fire (I expect it was chilly!) and didn’t care that her knickers were showing, though George, Flora’s husband was a rather shocked.
Princess Margaret and other notables visited Dame Flora Dyson OBE at No 2 to work on St John's Ambulance business. Princess Margaret was not just a figure head but did real work for the order making a substantial contribution.
Coal Drop Walls
Stockton & Darlington Railway Coal Drop Walls. circa 1825.
Westbrook Villas Back Lane
|This shows the victorian railings at 12 Westbrook Villas. These were removed during WWII for scrap metal. Mrs King was paid 4/6d or 2/6d for them - I can't remember which!If I paid the Council 22 and 1/2p could I have some back?|
|This shows the victorian balcony which used to stretch across nos 11 and 12 Westbrook Villas.|
victorian balcony 2
Victorian Street Lights
|This is a photo of the victorian style street gas lamp as they were in the 1950s before the council replaced them with electric ones. this was in between house nos 12 and 13, at the top of the bottom gardens.|
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