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Here are some biographical details of well-known people associated with the Westbrook area
Samuel Averill Elton 1827 - 1886
Samuel Averill Elton, ARCA 1827-1886
Landscape and coastal painter in oil and water colour; art teacher. He was born in Newnham, Gloucestershire. While living in Darlington he exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Suffolk St Gallery and also at the Arts Association and Bewick Club Exhibitions in Newcastle from their foundation. His Royal Academy exhibits were Mousehold Heath, Norwich (1874), and Purple Iris (1884). Suffolk St Gallery exhibits: A study near Rokeby (1860); Whitby Sands (1880).
After the opening of the Mechanic’s Institute in Skinnergate in 1854, a number of local gentlemen decided to form an art class with Mr J Morse Sparkes as tutor. In 1857 Samuel Averill Elton was appointed art master, the school received grants and became known as the Government School of Art. In 1865 he moved with his wife and family to a specially built house in Westbrook Villas, now No 21 where the family remained until the 20th Century. Samuel was art master for 28 years till his death on June 15 1886. He is buried in the West Cemetery. Represented in Victoria & Albert Museum, Bowes Museum and Darlington Art Gallery.
Edgar Averill Elton 1859-1923
Edgar Averill Elton, ARCA 1859-1923
Landscape painter in watercolour; art teacher. He was born in Darlington in 1859 soon after his parents and elder sister, Emily, had moved there. In 1865, they moved to their new house in Westbrook Villas. After many years in no 21 he moved to present day no 15 while the others remained in no 21. He was an assistant in the School and when his father died at the age of 58 took over the running of it. He organized morning and evening classes and by 1889 had 130 adult pupils. When the School was taken over by the education authorities and became the School of Art in the Technical College in Northgate, he was appointed Principal. After 40 years of service to art in Darlington he retired due to ill health shortly after the 1914-18 war and died on June 9 1923 aged 63 years. He is buried in the West Cemetery
source: "Durham at the opening of the Twentieth Century" by James Jamieson
WILLIAM HOBSON, J.P., Victoria Place, Darlington ; born at the village of Kaber, Westmoreland, January 12th, 1829 ; when a few years old his parents moved to Heighington, near Darlington, where he received such education as an ordinary village school afforded in those days. After four years' clerkship, 1845-49. in a solicitor's office in Darlington he, in March, 1850 entered the service of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company, now forming the " Central Division " of the North-Eastern Railway Company, retiring into private life in 1894 after forty-four years' service ; has been a frequent contributor to the local Press on various topics, literary, political, social and theological ; for more than half a century he has been a total abstainer and active helper in the Temperance Movement; was for several years closely connected with the School of Art as Hon. Secretary ; member of Committee, and held the office of President when the school was taken over by the Technical College ; has sat on the Board of Guardians and for several years served as a co-opted member of the Free Library Committee ; is an Evangelical Churchman, and in politics a Liberal ; was made a justice of the Peace in 1892. Married, April 30th, 1864; only issue, one son, Victor William, born May 20th, 1865 ; was a silver medallist at the Roval Academy, and died January 8th, 1888, while resident in the Canary Islands.
William Hobson moved into what is now no 11 Westbrook Villas, specially built for him in 1865 with his wife and new-born son Victor. While working in the Stockton and Darlington Railway he was Head of Passenger Services under the great George Stephenson.
See also Architectural Gems and Art in Westbrook
George Hoskins 1837-1911
Source: "Durham at the Opening of the Twentieth Century" by James Jamieson. 1906
GEORGE GORDON HOSKINS, J.P., Harewood Hill, Darlington (Thornbeck Hill on Carmel Rd North was another of his homes in Darlington); eldest son of the late Captain Francis . Hoskins, 1st Royals, who died in 1859, and grandson of the late Abraham Hoskins, of Newton Park, near Burton-on-Trent; his mother, who died in 1886, was Julia, second daughter of the late William Hill, of Temple House, near Portsmouth; born at Birmingham ; educated in private schools in London, and Paris ; pupil of the late W. D. Haskoll, of Great George Street, Westminster : Justice of the Peace for Darlington ; Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects ; twice President of the Northern Architectural Association, 1886-87, and for two years in succession President of the Darlington School of Art ; for some years a member of the Darlington Town Council ; his works comprise many large and important buildings, including mansions, banks, hotels, hospitals, libraries, schools, both elementary and higher grade, including the Technical College, and Oueen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Darlington; his chef d'oevre, however, is unquestionably the Middlesbrough Town Hall and Municipal Buildings (cost £30,000), won in open competition in 1882, Alfred Waterhouse, R.A., acting as assessor, and opened by their present Majesties when Prince and Princess of Wales in 1889. Married, firstly, Isabel, second daughter of the late Joseph Robinson, of Southend ; she died in 1862, leaving issue one son and one daughter; secondly, Annie, only child of the late William Hudson, of Brough, Yorkshire, and has issue one son and four daughters.
Nos 15 and 16 Westbrook Villas were probably the first domestic commission of "Gee-Gee" Hoskins after he set up in Darlington in 1864.See also Architectural Gems.
Victor William Garribaldi Hobson 1865-1888
Victor Hobson,acclaimed by his contemporaries as a genius was born in one of three S&D Railway houses in Brookside in Northgate. Soon after his birth, he moved with his father and mother to what is now no 11 Westbrook Villas. His father, William Hobson was George Stevenson's Head of Passenger Services on the S&D Railway. The following is his obituary.
Death of a Darlington Artist. D&S Times 12 Jan 1889 p5
The death of Mr Victor Hobson, which was reported in Darlington on Wednesday, would be received by many in Darlington with surprise and pain. This rising young artists career has been watched with intense interest by art connoisseurs in Darlington from the time when as a student at the Darlington Art school he executed work of such brilliant promise. His studies in Darlington were so fruitful and bared to such a degree the genius for art which the student really possessed that it was decided that Victor Hobson should become a painter. There were other walks in life into which he might with equal confidence have ventured, for he was a most soulful and accomplished musician, while his scholastic career was exceedingly brilliant. At the Grammar School he was a Queen’s prizeman in the examinations of the South Kensington Science and Art Department, he won a great many certificates, and also was awarded the chief school prize for mathematics. But it was towards art that he leaned, and he commenced his studies in art under Mr. Samuel Elton, whose favourite and most successful pupil he was. In successive years he won prizes and certificates, the chief of which was the bronze medal which was given him in 1882. In 1883 he gained the studentship of the Royal Academy where he continued his art studies with increased ardour and success, and in 1884 he was given the silver medal for drawing. In the beginning of last year his heath began to give way, and notwithstanding foreign travel became more and more delicate, until on the 9th inst, he died at Laguna, in the Island of Tenerife. Words cannot convey the deep sympathy which is felt in the Town with the relatives and friends of this young artist, who in the dawn of manhood with the harvest of his youthful studies and genius ungathered, has been drawn to his rest
William Bell Architect
William Bell, FRIBA submitted plans for 5-7 Westbrook Villas in 1876. The original plans show a terrace of 7 houses but only 3 were built. William Bell was born in Darlington in 1846 and with wife Fanny and son Robert(born in 1879) lived in Elton Terrace. His office was in West End Buildings Skinnergate. As with most middle class families at that time the household included a cook and housemaid. He attended the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Darlington.He started as architect in the North East Railway Company in 1857 and became Chief Architect in 1877. He was the architect of railway buildings in Darlington and throughout the country. In 1887 he built Darlington Bank Top Station notable for its majestic high arched roof with twin spans and the pyramid-topped Italianate Clock Tower set in a well-proportioned arcaded frontage with Dutch gables. Besides the prize-winning Head Office in York he also designed the stations at Alnwick, Stockton, Hull, West Hartlepool, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, Thornaby and many others. A piece de resistance was the first class refreshment room at Newcastle Central Station, designed in 1892. In 1893 he persuaded the NER directors to clad the refreshment room in faience from Burmantofts in Leeds which provided a durable washable surface. Sadly British Rail vandalised the room in the 1960s when the tiles were painted over in pillar box red and a false ceiling installed. This has now been removed, the tiles restored and the room returned as far as possible to its original state as the Centurion restaurant and bar. In 1887 William Bell sold up his premises in Darlington. The contents, auctioned off at Watsons were impressive and included several paintings by the Westbrook Villas artist Samuel Elton. William Bell died in Whitby in 1919.
|Robert Borrowdale (sometimes written Borrodale)
Robert Borrowdale was born in Barnard Castle in 1833. He was the son of a stonemason and monumental sculptor, and learned his trade from his father. One of his first introductions to building was helping his father to rebuild Startforth Church. This all happened in 1863 when Robert was 30 years old. He had a propensity for carving peoples heads and gargoyles and many of his buildings were stamped with this peculiar Borrowdale feature. He married Martha Ann, his beloved wife when she was 18 years old and he was 23, five years older in 1856. As this was the year his first child Mary Hannah was born it was assumed to be a marriage of necessity through love as he adored his wife.
Between 1863 and 1867 he moved from Barnard Castle to Darlington where he had decided to build himself a business and home. Rise Carr in Darlington was just beginning to take off with new foundries and steel works so he proceeded to build a new hotel that would become the Rise Carr Hotel. This was perhaps where he let his artistic skills come to the fore and he decorated the outside walls. This was evident in the Rise Carr pub which had a variety of coloured heads, male and female. It has been said that they represented a likeness to some of his personal friends. It was the only pub in Darlington that portrayed figureheads of this type. He built the Rise Carr Hotel in 1868 but only remained there for one year, perhaps the rough and tumble of pub life, especially with the hard men of Rise Carr was more than he could handle.
In the late 1860s the Rise Carr Rolling Mills and North Rd locomotive works were opened and Borrowdale built houses in Whessoe Rd, Chesnut St and Northgate. Leadenhall St’s terrace houses had carved heads on the keystones of the windows and doors. The old police station in Northgate, another of Borrowdale’. s works opened in July 20 1868. In July 1870 Borrowdale built Westbrook Buildings opposite Leadenhall St, using William Hodgson, of 12 Westbrook Villas as architect. It was finished in 1878. It had a tower facing south down Northgate, topped by an angel of the nativity and had 25 grotesque gargoyles, carvings of eagles, animals and human faces. It had a hall which could seat 400 people. Westbrook buildings was demolished in 1962. Borrowdale built chapels and lodges in the North Cemetry. The five sons of Joseph Pease gave the 14 acre site to the town in 1872 together with £3000. Borrodales tender of £4375 was accepted in Dec 1873 but costs mounted and the Pease family gave a further £5000.
Borrowdale had 14 children. His wife died in 1878 and was buried in the family grave in Startforth. He married again and moved to Enfield. He was employed in the decoration of the Albert Hall. He died at bush Hill Park, Enfield on 19 March 1908 aged 75 and was buried in Lavender hill cemetery , Enfield
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