Jesmond 1950 – present day

Throughout the 20th centry, Jesmond remained a popular residential suburb, and continued to benefit its easy access to the City centre and beyond by foot, from the electric railway (later to become the Metro) and regular bus services, but with very little commercial or other business properties. A few clusters of shops developed in Clayton Road, Acorn Road and on Jesmond Road near the Cradlewell. To serve the increase in car ownership, garages also opened at those centres. There was a unique private library on Holly Avenue and swimming pool on St. Georges Terrace.

There were also a number of Churches and Schools, though only about half of those churches remain today. Most of the schools have survived and have actually flourished, the Primary School (West Jesmond Primary) having been rebuilt in 2009.  Akhurst School and La Sagesse, both offering a relative specialist education, had been unable to survive.

The vast majority of Jesmond’s housing had been constructed in a short period around 1900, in a distinctive red or white brick, and usually with bay windows of stone. However there were progressive developments on some of the remaining open land later in the 20th cent. Most significantly are the roads of 1930’s and 40’s housing in the north (Newborough Crescent, Lindisfarne Road etc.) and south east (Fernwood Road and Osborne Avenue), in the 1960’s (Towers Avenue) and 1970’s (Adderstone Crescent and Lindisfarne Road). The developer of the latter had proposed much larger and much more visually intrusive blocks but was compelled to build smaller flats and with subtler colour of materials.

The main clusters of shops had concentrated in Acorn Road, Clayton Road and Jesmond Road, with a few others elsewhere, many of those simply providing for a very local customer base. Those three main shopping centres expanded to include small but thriving centres of business and commerce in their viscinity. A few office based businesses established themselves in some of the larger houses, with Osborne Road being particularly attractive due to the size of its properties. These were particularly attractive to accountants, law firms, architects, doctors’ surgeries and medical centres, dentists and other professionals.

Several schools (including three along Tankerville Terrace alone) have been attracting pupils into the area from all over the city, including some of the more expensive private schools. A growing cluster of hotels steadily expanded along Osborne Road, Jesmond Road, Grosvenor Road and elsewhere, including a number of private Guest Houses and Bed & Breakfast facilities – some of the largest properties being well suited to hotel conversions.  The restrictions on the sale of alcohol had confined all of the Public Houses in Jesmond to the periphery of Jesmond – on Jesmond Road, Clayton Road and at West Jesmond Station. During the 1990’s the string of hotels along Osborne Road have slowly expanded their residents’ bars to public bars, and grew rapidly so that by 2002 the pub life in Osborne Road had become legendary among the party and clubbing drinkers of the City.

Several larger properties have been adapted for use as residential homes for elderly people, and a great many have been offered for rental ro the city’s expanding student population (with varying degrees of conversion).

During the 1960’s, there were several residential tower blocks constructed across Newcastle, as elsewhere in the UK and Europe. Only one such tower was constructed in Jesmond, the 28 storey Vale House, in Jesmond Vale (picture left. 1969). Although only the one tower was built in Jesmond, it was the tallest tower to be constructed in Newcastle, and 50 years later, it still is.

The cinema next to West Jesmond station opened in 1921 and remained popular with audiences during the boom years of cinemas everywhere, declining in the 1970’s and 80’s. It remained a local success though, partly thanks to its location next to the station and the popular pub The Lonsdale, and in its last years thanks to its unique programme of popular Indian films. The cinema closed around 1990.

The terraced housing of Jesmond has always included a large proportion of rented properties, and this contributed to its great popularity with students, particularly in the 1970’s and again in the 1990’s and 2000’s. This hasn’t purely been a consequence of the Universities’ expansion, but also following the progressive decline of the rental property in Fenham (which had been popular in the 1960’s – 1980’s) but also the emergence of bars, cafes and convenience shops in Jesmond during a period when borrowing was easily available, to enable landlords to buy-to-let. A great many homes have been converted (to a greater or lesser extent) from family homes to properties to rent for the expanding student populations.

There was great concern at the end of the 90’s over a plan to run a new stretch of the busy “Coast Road” under the Jesmond shopping area near the bridges over Jesmond Dene. Several trees were threatened along with some of the open space that remained betweent he road and the Dene. However, the result is greater separation between road and pedestrians and a quieter walk from those homes in Jesmond Vale to the shops and rest of Jesmond.

The suburban railway constructed in the 1880’s which served Jesmond and other districts between Newcastle and the coast was closed for a period to enable extensive re-construction. It reopened, (with new bridges and city centre tunnels) and rebranded as the Tyne and Wear Metro in 1980. The new network was powered by an overhead wire DC power supply.

There have been concerns in the 2000’s about over-development of the rental market leading to difficulties such as increased noise, parking density and loft conversions. These have led to restrictions and controls being placed on developments by Newcastle City Council, such as Residents’ Parking Schemes, Registration of Landlords, and planning controls over conversion of properties into Multi-occupancy and controls on the granting of any new Premises Licences.