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Newcastle, Elswick Lane, Summer Hill House

By 1723 Summer Hill House, the area's first major building, was built on the hill near Elswick Lane for Mr Joseph Barber, an Irish bookseller who named it after his mansion in County Meath where he grew up. He worked at Amen Corner. There were nurseries on the slope below, which became the 'square' around which housing would later be built. On 6 March 1773 the house was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected as Mr Barber had previously received two letters demanding money. A reward of £110 was offered for the capture of the offenders. John Bell's plan of the Westgate Estate in 1799 shows no sign of a large house. The field was let to John Brewster.
Hadwin Bragg, a Quaker, rebuilt Summer Hill as a double-bow fronted house with large grounds. 'Early in the present century they [the Bragg family] removed from their house above the place of business to Summerhill, then quite in the country with a view of trees and corn-fields stretching to the river. The road to it lay through the West-gate and his friends thought it was a lonely walk for Hadwen Bragg with the owls hooting at night-fall' {Quaker records}. Mackenzie described Bragg's house as 'a large and commodious house'. The bow window actually still survives as part of the buildings next to St. Matthew's Church (in back yard at rear of Westgate Road). The surviving part of the garden boundary wall of Summer Hill House is brick. It stands immediately alongside the east wall of the saw mill.

From Tyne and Wear HER(11393): Newcastle, Elswick Lane, Summer Hill House

Linked toHadwen Bragg

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