Jesmond Dene

It is probable that the steep sided valley we know as Jesmond Dene has always been wooded, but gradually, industries crept in and by the 19th century the Dene was home to watermills, various quarries and pits and an iron foundry. Prior to the mid 1800s the woodland was probably more straggly than today and interspersed with a heavy undergrowth of gorse, brambles and the like.

In the 1850s William George Armstrong (later Lord Armstrong) the armament manufacturer, (later Lord Armstrong of Cragside, Northumberland) bought up large areas of the valley. With his wife, he enclosed the land and transformed it into the landscaped parkland that we know today. With his fascination for water it is no surprise that he altered the river. A large waterfall, weirs and rock islands were created near to the mill, along with several bridges including the one from which to view the waterfall, and a network of footpaths. The waterfall is the biggest alteration to the river and was a result of blasting out the river bed downstream, while building up the area upstream. He also had a bridge installed to enable viewing of the waterfall. They additionally introduced exotic non-native species of trees and shrubs such as cedars, junipers, Californian Redwoods and the rhododendron.

In the 1850s, William George Armstrong (later Lord Armstrong) the armament manufacturer, acquired at various times the land which now forms Jesmond Dene. He enclosed the land and planted it with exotic trees and shrubs, laid paths and built bridges. Lord Armstrong used the Dene as his own private parkland but allowed access to it by the public twice weekly, on payment of a small entrance fee which went to the local hospital.

In 1883 Lord Armstrong presented the main area of Jesmond Dene to the Corporation of Newcastle upon Tyne for the benefit of its citizens and in 1884, the park was formally opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales. To commemorate the occasion, the Princess planted a turkey Oak near the Banqueting Hall. This tree, now mature, can still be seen adjacent to the South end of the Banqueting Hall, near to a second tree planted by Alderman H Benson in 1933 to mark the 50th anniversary of the occasion. Since then, the Dene has remained a popular resort for the citizens of Newcastle and, despite heavy pressures put upon it, still retains a particular charm of its own.

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

More history of Jesmond Dene and a history walking trail can be found on the following link:

History of The Dene

4 Comments CherryPie on Oct 16th 2021

4 Responses to “Jesmond Dene”

  1. I love places like this! Beautiful :)

  2. This is like Ironbridge of the North? ;)

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