Gateshead Pubs & Clubs
Thomas Wilson was of lowly birth, worked as a trapper down the pits as a bairn, studied, became a teacher
and then, in partnership with two others, became rich. He lived in a mansion on the land that is now Low
Fell's main car park. He built, on what used to be called Wilson Terrace, named in his honour, what is now the pub
called The Bank, though it was, in his time, a Community Reading Room. And, of course, he has the Thomas
Wilson Club named after him, as well as the street named Wilson's Lane.
I've taken over the running of this website from my brother Rob Bratton who, having retired, in 2003/2004, decided to have a pint in every pub in the Borough of Gateshead . Oh yes, it took him a while but he felt somebody should do it....have a pint, record the date, make a comment, give it a score and take a photograph. The basis of this website is the record of his dedicated quest. In each pub entry he made, the first photograph is his and the first entry is the date of his visit and his comment/score.
Subsequently, I have added many more pubs that weren't around when Rob was on his quest, as well as Working Mens' Clubs which were very popular when I was in my twenties. I'm seeking to include every pub & club that was in, what is now, the extended Gateshead Local Government area though any pub now included that existed, and ceased to exist, prior to 1974 were in the original areas of Blaydon Urban District, Whickham Urban District, Felling Urban District and so on. I have also added updated photographs of the pubs that were around during Rob's quest.
The header to this website is not what Rob saw while carrying out this task but is from Andy Williamson's magnificent collection of pictures of gateshead .
Rob had a guestbook on his website, which, remarkably, did not get infested by Russian advertisers. See above for the links to all the many comments he received. Guestbooks are a rarity now and I suppose a Facebook page is the modern equivalent. If there is a demand for posting comments about pubs I will create a Facebook page. In the meantime, I'm happy to receive comments about this, and on anything else, by way of my email address which is:-
There are currently 143 operational pubs in Gateshead and about half of them ie 74 have a 'The' in their name. What determines whether or not there is a 'The'? No particular reason. Some pubs have a 'The' and at the next sign renewal the 'The' is dropped, it seems, on the whim of the current landlord
23 pubs with a 'The' have now gone forever..starting with The Beacon and ending with The Wrekendyke. Indeed here's the full list
Beacon, Crown, British Lion, British Queen, Beeswing, Bugle, Deckham, Five Wand Mill Inn, Half Moon, Half Moon, Honeysuckle, Magpie, Mulberry, New Collingwood, Nine Pins, Perseverance, Ship, Swan, Trafalgar, Vigo, William IV Hotel, Willows, Wrekendyke
It may be presumed that a similar number of the non 'The' pubs have also gone forever
eg Bourgognes and Gamekeeper at Swalwell
Main Reasons for the Decline of the Pub
UK homes became more comfortable in the 1970s when central heating started to become more commonplace
In the 1990's supermarkets started pushing alcohol sales and the drinking of wine and beer at home became widespread
The 2003 Licensing Act's implementation was in November 2005
Since July 2007 smoking has been prohibited by law in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed work
and public places throughout the United Kingdom
Black Horse, Low Fell
The following images are related to the Black Horse on Kells Lane, Low Fell which has a special connection to our family, as according to our father, the BH, his local was 39 steps from our house. We've all (Four sons and several grandsons) treated the BH as our local from time to time but none more so than Rob who used to hold court there any day you cared to call. Some of the following BH related images were on Rob's original website, some have been added by me, subsequently
How come the Black Horse had this shirt draped over its roof?
Why the Black Horse? Because that's where this wheeze was plotted...allegedly
Here, the keeper of the sign, as was the expression back then, was James Wardle. If you think this sign is elaborate, given that publicans come and go, let me tell you James Wardle was here for 35 years (1879-1914). I recall seeing another Wardle, his son, on another old pic. In my Dad's day it was Bill Coxon and the current one is Tim Robinson
Back in Thomas Wilson's day when he wrote his poem The Pitman's Pay he makes a reference to Geordy and the notes explain that the keeper of the sign of the Black Horse, one of the first houses on the Low Fell was Geordy Grundy for organised "cock fightin', cuddy racin' and all other pitman's amusements on pay night
Remember, the garage/car saleroom next door, before it morphed into a restaurant
This Book by John Boothroyd is highly recommended
These are paintings by Jim Harker hung in the lounge of the Black Horse, Low Fell
A sign of a defunct Felling pub