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Tyne and Wear HER(4337): Ouseburn, Northumberland Lead Works - Details

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Ouseburn, Northumberland Lead Works




Metal Smelting Works

Lead Works

Early Modern


Ruined Building

Within the City Farm complex is a surviving masonry structure which contains a relocated plaque reading "Northumberland Lead Works 1871". The site was occupied by buildings including a flax mill and steam corn mill from the mid 18th century, shown on a plan by William Donkin dated 1767. Thomas Oliver's plan of 1830 shows a property owned by Thomas Coultherd, John Beckington's steam corn mill and the Northumberland Flax Spinning-Mill of Clarke, Plummer & Co. The Northumberland Lead Works, manufacturing white lead, was established in 1871 by John Ismay, and in 1873 the works expanded northwards, replacing the Steam Corn Mill and The New Flax Mill public house. New brick corroding houses were built, in which sheets of lead were hung above pots of vinegar and left to oxidise. The resulting corrosion product - white lead - was then scraped off and ground and mixed with oil to form paint. Ismay & Co also used the white lead in their cosmetic and medicine business in the Groat Market. The company merged with James & Co. Ltd in 1884 and the combined firm operated until 1914. By 1903-4 at least part of the site was occupied by Elders Walker & Co. Ltd, paint manufacturers. By 1928 the lead works were known as Walker's Paint Works. It closed in the early 1960s. In c.1973 the City Council imported sterile topsoil onto the partially cleared site. A number of features associated with the flax mill and lead paint works survived this process, including a pair of massive sandstone wall bases, possibly part of the engine house of the flax mill, several 19th century brick walls, and a cobbled lane incorpoarating a number of millstones. In June 2002 a programme of archaeological trial trenching and subsequent watching brief revealed well-preserved structural elements of the lead works and flax mill. LOCAL LIST




<< HER 4337 >> 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map, 1899, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97, NE I. Ayris & S.M Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the industrial archaeology of Tyne and Wear p. 53 Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 2002, Byker City Farm, Archaeological Assessment J.C. Mabbitt & J. McKelvey, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2002, Byker City Farm, Evaluation & Photographic Survey J. McKelvey, 2002, Byker City Farm, Watching Brief

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