Golf, Quoits, Bowls, Football, Curling, Ice Skating, Shooting
31 Jan 2023
Tyneside Golf Club, Newcastle Caledonian Curling Club
The Ryton Willows Golf Course was the first golf course to be set up on Tyneside. In 1879 about twenty golf clubs existed in England. Unsuccessful attempts had been made to establish golf on Newcastle's Town Moor. In 1879 the same group rented a 60 acre plot of land at Ryton Willows from the stint holders for five shillings per year in order to create a nine hole course. The Tyneside Golf Club's inaugural meeting was on 13th November 1879. CJ Reid was elected President. There were 25 members each paying an annual fee of 10/6d. On 29th November 1879 the club agreed to adopt the rules of Alnmouth Golf Club. On 9th March 1880 a gardener called John Wake was appointed to prepare the putting greens on Ryton Willows with horse and roller. Mungo Park (Open Champion in 1874 and club pro at Alnmouth) was appointed to design the course layout. The total cost of creating the course was £27. Willie Park Jr was appointed as the club's first Professional. The main entrance to the course was located at the bottom of Station Bank. Sir Hedworth Williamson became club President in 1881.
The Golfing Annual Vol. II of 1888-9 said 'Ryton has been pronounced by players of some eminence and experience in the golfing world as perhaps the best inland course in the country'. A small disused building near Ryton Station was used as a clubhouse from 1880-1. It was known as the Ryton Stick House and was probably nothing more than a store.In 1880 the club sought permission from the North Eastern Railway to erect a new clubhouse next to Ryton Station. The new clubhouse opened in 1881. The 'interesting little [opening] ceremony' was reported in the Newcastle Journal on 4th April 1881 and the building was described as 'handsome'. An even larger clubhouse was built in 1893 at the bottom of Station Bank (the site is now occupied by a bungalow) at a cost of £450. Ryton Willows was used for lots of other sporting activities including under arm bowling, pigeon and sparrow shooting, rabbit coursing, quoits, football, ice skating and curling and so the area was busy and congested, especially at weekends. Golf continued to be played on Ryton Willows by the Ryton Working Men's Club until 1911. Tyneside Golf Club moved to the Western Falls (HER 13571) in 1903.
NEHL - There are still remains of the curling pond next to the railway line at Ryton. It was maintained and used by the Newcastle Caledonian Curling Club in the early 20th century. Ryton Willows was a real hotbed of early sports, and in my opinion one of the bedrocks of Tyneside sport.
Ordnance Survey, 1890s
A congested Ryton Willows, 1910. Source: Mark Crombie, Flickr
Have we missed something, made a mistake, or have something to add? Contact us
A clipping from the Evening Chronicle showing the curling pond at Ryton. Posted by Steve Ellwood (@TyneSnapper), Twitter.
Historic Environment Records
Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past
Tyne and Wear: Sitelines
HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors.
Historic Maps provided by