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Ouseburn, Newcastle

36 Lime Street, Newcastle

1848

Mill

Extant

Site is now used for various purposes, including The Cluny bar

Last Updated:

27 Jun 2020

36 Lime Street, Ouseburn

Founded in 

This is a

Current status is

Support The Cluny during the pandemic: https://thecluny.com/shop/

'Built as a flax mill in 1848 on the site of an earlier corn mill, to the design of John Dobson for the firm of Plummer and Cooke, who previously owned the flax mill on the adjacent site which became Northumberland Lead Works. Flax was used to make linen and sail cloth. Originally steam powered the adjacent freestanding, recently restored chimney (HER 1840) forms part of the original Dobson complex.

Its use as a flax mill was short. In 1866 it was bought by Proctor and Sons and converted to a flour mill. The building was extended in the mid 1870s when two brick warehouses were constructed - one for flour, the other (HER 5149) for grain. The complex is shown on Ordnance Survey second edition as "Northumberland Mills". Then taken over by Henry Leetham & Sons in 1900.

A Miss Carr apparently lived in the garden house next to the big chimney and was employed by Leethams to test each batch of flour by baking small loaves of bread in her oven. The flour mill stood empty for many years until it was taken over by McPhersons Wine and Spirit Merchants in the 1920s, who stored bonded whiskey under the brand name of Cluny. Now internally divided, it has a variety of users, mainly craftspersons or artists and a café bar. Sandstone ashlar, later brick additions and attic storey date to 1870s, Welsh slate roof.

The road between mill and chimney is at a much higher level than the internal cobbled yard into which the former coal shoots opened. One of the shoots retains its original metal shutter.'

- Sitelines

The editions above illustrate the mill during the 19th century. In the first edition further above, the mill was brand new being built in the 1860s. It isn't labelled but is likely the large building along the curve of the Ouse. Previous to the construction of the Flax Mill, it was a corn mill serving the community around it.

The second edition shows the expansive complex along the dene. Ouseburn was a winding industrial valley, reminiscent of the mill towns of West Yorkshire. Dozens of different industries lined the Ouse burn, taking advantage of the waterway for power, waste and transport.

The 1921 edition illustrates a growing metropolitan area, with the Ouseburn flax mill being the centrepiece of a densely populated and industrious community. Above, the Ouse burn was filled in and is now the City Stadium area. Also notable is the inclusion of the new Byker Bridge, the second of the towering structures dominating the area.

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Illustration of the Ouse Burn, 1846. Though not specifically showing 36 Lime Street as it wasn't built by this point, it does show an earlier mill which would not be situated on the banks close to Ouseburn Viaduct, can be seen on the 1st edition OS map. The image provides a fascinating perspective of how the area looked, with windmills up the bank at All Saints, and the brickfield in the background closer Sandyford between one of the viaduct's arches.

Retrieved from the Mills Archive

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Photograph of 36 Lime Street in 1964. At this point the Ouseburn was very run down and decayed, as illustrated by the terrible condition of what were once mighty industrial beating hearts. Though nowadays restored, back then no such will was considered, and were likely shortlisted for demolition at some pointvin the next couple of decades. Around this point the building was a Scotch Whisky Plant named 'the Cluny'. A couple of decades later it became a theatrical space and even later a bar also.

Retrieved from the Mills Archive

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