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Bedlington, Northumberland

The Grapes (Kings Arms), Bedlington

Last Updated:

9 May 2024

Bedlington, Northumberland

This is a

Dwelling, Pub

55.131237, -1.595740

Founded in 

Early 18th century

Current status is


Designer (if known):


Listed Grade II

Pastures new at Bedlington, and I start with the stunning Kings Arms, now known as The Grapes on the Front Street.

Striking upon first glance is the sill bands around the windows and the surround of the central window. Deceiving, as the door is now on the corner.

The history of this building goes far deeper though. It was built in the early 1700s, with the listing stating it’s very possible an earlier building lies within its skeleton.

It was a grand house first, with famous railway engineer Daniel Gooch spending his childhood here. He was trained up at the Stephenson’s Works in Newcastle, but went on to work with Brunel as the designer of many of the Great Western Railway’s most iconic engines. He was of course inspired by his father, an ironworks owner, but he was surrounded engineering his whole childhood. Especially here, where the works on the riverside provided tracks and locomotives for the earliest modern railways. His mum was also part of the Longridge family, who actually owned the works.

In later years this became the Kings Arms. The first reference I find is in the 1830s, when the Bedlington Florists Society’s exhibition was held here. William Armstrong actually competed alongside Lord Eldon, but only came 5th in the carnations category… 🌺

Listing Description (if available)

Public house. Early C18 perhaps incorporating earlier fabric. Double-span plan. Front good-quality squared stone; returns and rear, squared stone above coursed rubble; Welsh slate roof with C20 brick stacks. Front 2 storeys, 5 narrow bays. Rusticated quoins, moulded plinth, sill bands. Central blocked door in renewed surround with pilasters and segmental pediment; renewed 12-pane sash windows in keyed architraves. Coped gables with moulded kneelers; end stacks. Returns show blocked attic windows in gables. Historical note: Sir Daniel Gooch (b.1816) the railway pioneer and inventor, spent his boyhood days here. C20 extension to rear is not of special interest.

Both Ordnance Surveys shown illustrate Bedlington village between the 1860s and 1890s. The village retains a very similar feel and layout today, with many of the buildings shown here still in situ. The cross remains in the same spot, as well as St Cuthbert's Church and most buildings on the north side. The Kings Arms is shown just above the Court House annotation as the detached unit. You'll notice just behind are the sidings for Bedlington Colliery.

The 1890s map provides a higher resolution insight. The Primitive Methodist Chapel had been constructed as well as new school opposite St Cuthbert's.

By the 50s and 60s there are no fields to be seen around the village. The area had exploded with development thanks to the success of the collieries. Social infrastructure like schools, clubs, football grounds and cricket grounds dot the landscape scattered between the rows and suburban development which stretch from Netherton to Sleekburn.


The Grapes, otherwise known as the Kings Arms, in 2024


The pub in the 1970s. Unknown original source.


Front Street in the 1900s, with the Kings Arms left of centre. Unknown original source.

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