Arthurs Hill, Newcastle
Westgate Road Nurses Home
14 Dec 2023
Arthurs Hill, Newcastle
This is a
Hostel, Nurses Home
Current status is
Designer (if known):
Messrs. Harrison & Ash
Not sure where to start with the old Nurses Home on Westgate Road. Its beautiful facade is being treated with contempt until someone either puts up the cash or knocks it down.
The building was opened in 1928 as a residence for nurses training at the General Hospital opposite. It took some years to build, and was known as the “white elephant of Westgate Road” during construction. The idea however was first mooted back in 1920, with Messrs Harrison, Ash and Blythe appointed architects for the erection.
The Lord Mayor Stephen Easten declared the home open in the May, which contained 184 bedrooms across four floors. It was arranged by a central court with flowerbeds and paving stones, and had a subway connecting the basement to the oldest part of the hospital for easy connection. An architectural report from the local newspaper in May 1928 notes the building "is on Georgian lines and constructed of narrow sand-faced bricks and portland stone, with green Westmorland slate roof". It was designed by Harrison & Ash, who designed a number of projects in the area throughout the region. The Ovingham War Memorial and the Brinkburn Street Sun Ray Clinic are other notable examples.
"The home is equipped with down-to-date kitchens, and comprises adequate amenities in the matter of dining, sitting, reading, recreation, and writing tooms on the ground floor, which boasts a roomy entrance hall." It also boasted a tennis court and small playing field at the rear of the ground. A playing surface does still exist.
Neville Chamberlain (much more famous for other reasons) was asked to open but the Labour Party declined the proposition for some reason. It may be a partisan act by the Board of Guardians given their survival would only last another year, or local Labour members refusing.
Since, it has become a hostel named Angel Heights, though has stood abandoned for a good few years. Now, with all the windows smashed in and broken clock face, it’ll take some work to get back into good nick. Planning applications have been submitted as of December 2023 to convert into 57 apartments.
Listing Description (if available)
Both Ordnance Survey maps above illustrate the Nurses Home and the wider environs after it was opened in 1928. The 1939 map depicts the nurses home wedged between various generations of Elswick history. Many of the larger villas to the west and south date from the mid to late 19th century, accommodating the demand for spacious and elegant housing on the fringes of the city. One of Grainger's last projects, Graingerville, is just down the road which is an example of this. The workhouse also stood directly in front of the home, though the site was repurposed as the General Hospital which gives reason for this accomodation.
Arthurs Hill had barely changed into the 50s, only expanding suburbia.
This is the 1890s survey well before the Nurses Home was built, and provides an insight into its previous use as a dwelling for Thomas Harper, a merchant and steam shipowner originally from Wallsend. Dunholm Lodge, which likely stood at the foot of the property was also inhabited by a Mr William Hogg - a coachman and domestic servant likely for Harper. The area was still developing, and to the south stood ample room for further development. The survey makes clear the Roman Vallum ran through the site.
The forlorn Nurses Home in 2023.
The Nurses Home not long after opening in the late 1920s. Source: Newcastle Libraries
Alderman Stephen Easten, Lord Mayor of Newcastle, can be seen declaring open the new Nurses Home. Source: Newcastle Journal, 21/05/1928