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HomeWhereHeaton Road200 Heaton Road

200 Heaton Road

In 1898 there seem to have been just two (unnumbered and unnamed) houses on Heaton Road north of Heaton Baptist Church (apart, that is, from the separately listed Jesmond Vale Terrace): one was occupied by John Henry Brown, a cycle manufacturer, and the other by a builder named John Wilson.

The Falmouth Hotel

But two years later this part of Heaton Road looked very different. Building in the neighbourhood had continued apace and progressed northwards onto what had until very recently been farmland and the same John Wilson is listed in the trade directories as the first resident of 200 Heaton Road, the southernmost address in the block between Meldon Terrace and King John Street, the shop which, in 2013, is The Butterfly Cabinet cafe.

Originally though, as you can see from the photograph below, the block was primarily residential. John’s immediate neighbours were J Davidson, a tinsmith, and A W Penny, a ‘gentleman ‘. John himself though is more difficult to fathom. He had been born in Milton, Cumberland (not far from Brampton on the Newcastle – Carlisle Railway) and was by this time 45 years old. He was married to Elizabeth, a Scot. There were no children living with them in 1901 but the couple was affluent enough to employ a live-in housemaid and kitchen maid.

John had lived in Heaton for a good few years by this time. In 1887, he was already described as a builder with an office address in Heaton Park Road. By 1892, he was still a builder, living in Heaton Grove.

But in the early 1900s, although his primary occupation is still given as a builder, he’s also described as a wine and spirit merchant and it’s clear from directories, newspaper reports of brewster sessions and the photograph below that in the early days, an off licence operated at number 200, together with the adjoining 1 and 3 King John Street and that John Wilson owned the business premises and lived above or next to the shop. It’s called the Falmouth Hotel in unsuccessful applications for a ‘full’ licence to sell alcohol in 1899 and in this photograph but that name doesn’t appear in the trade directories.

200 Heaton Road

The building itself is interesting. Visitors to the Butterfly Cabinet will testify that it’s a fair size. It incorporates what were originally numbers 1 and 3 King John Street and there have been various alterations over the years both to turn the three houses into one address or convert them back into separate flats.

The business lives on

John Wilson only lived and operated a business on Heaton Road for a couple of years. By 1903, a Thomas Blackett had succeeded him. Thomas had been born and bred locally. In 1887, he ran a stationer’s shop at 117 Shields Road. In his early forties, he was living at 31 North View and his shop had moved to 73 Shields Road. By 1895, he was still running the same shop although he had moved house again to 6 Guildford Place. But by 1901, his line of business had changed completely. Thomas was now a wine and spirit manufacturer and, as well as the now converted shop on Shields Road, he had shops in Heaton Hall Road (21), Jesmond, Sandyford and the west end. He was living at 23 Heaton Hall Road with his wife, Jane, six sons and daughters and a servant. Thomas Blackett died in 1912, leaving what was a fair sized estate of almost ÂŁ15,000. The business he has built up lived on though. 200 Heaton Road didn’t change hands for another 20 years.

Sweets and buns

In the early 1930s, new flats were created at 200A and B and the shop became a confectioner’s, called firstly Burton’s and then Steel’s. Steel’s survived through the Second World War although, possibly in response to sugar rationing, by the end of the war it had been turned into a baker’s, part of a small chain which also had shops in Jesmond and Sandyford. Some older residents might even remember it?

A long time dyeing

In 1950 the shop changed character again. John Bradburn, originally from Ipswich, had started a business in the centre of Newcastle way back in 1831. At that time, he described himself as a ‘velvet, silk and woollen dyer’. By 1881, when he was 71 years old, he employed 6 men, 5 boys and 7 women. He died in 1890 but, as with Blackett’s, his business continued to thrive and 60 years later it expanded into Heaton. By this time, the firm was described as ‘dyers and cleaners’ and had branches in the west end and in Gosforth. Later a shop was opened at 265 Chillingham Road. The company’s office was at 55 Shields Road. In the early 1970s, however, after 140 years, the company seems to have closed completely.

Can you help?

Here the trail goes cold until recent years when first Belle and Herb and then The Butterfly Cabinet made the corner of Heaton Road and King John Street one of Heaton’s favourite haunts. Can you help us fill the gaps in our knowledge ? If you have any information, memories or photographs of 200 Heaton Road, please get in touch. You can either post a comment above this article: click on ‘Leave a reply’ just below the title. Or alternatively, email Chris Jackson.



  1. I remember Blackett Wine and Spirits on Heaton Hall Road. With regard to the shop at 200 Heaton Road, on the 1913 map I have (with listings of shops and residents) it lists a Mrs. Olive Hedley, Confectioner, being at 200A and Mrs. Margaret Watson, Florist, being at 200B. Were these flats above the 200 shop?

  2. In the early ‘seventies it became an Indian owned grocery and general provisions shop of a type that was prevalent at the time. It was operated by a very friendly, kind and gentle man who referred to himself as Paul, although I suspect he had a Punjabi name as well. Paul managed, after some considerable time, to obtain a licence to sell alcohol, and opened the little rear portion of the shop (with its own door) as an off-license. Very soon after that the shop on the opposite corner (it had been Ian Clough’s sweet shop in the late ‘fifties and early ‘sixties before he moved to Heaton Park Road) became the first ever Legendary Yorkshire Heroes outlet, selling beer direct from the cask into any container you cared to proffer. They soon added a full range of wines and spirits and Paul expressed thoroughly heart-aching dismay to me one evening and looked like he was ready to throw in the towel. I left the country soon after and did not return for over a decade when, sadly, there was no sign of Paul; and no sign of the LHY either, but I seem to remember hearing that they had moved into Paul’s premises (it was larger), but I may be mistaken.

  3. Muriel, 200A is now a hairdresser’s called ‘Leaf’. It’s the shop next door to The Butterfly Cabinet. There were alterations at some point to create these extra premises. There are plans in Tyne and Wear Archives but I haven’t examined them yet. Amazing to remember Blackett’s.

    And thank you, Keith, I used to go into Legendary Yorkshire Heroes for the occasional (!) flask of beer but didn’t know about the original shop.

    • I have no idea who could be running the Blackett shop on Heaton Hall Road but I am talking about the 1940s. Used to go there with my Gran (when she wasn’t in the Addison or Raby) 🙂

  4. Looking at the fantastic postcard I see two red-brick buildings in the background on what would become the bowling greens; anybody know what they were?

  5. I’m going to stick my neck out here and declare those buildings to be the Chance Colliery. My copy of the Mining Institute’s map of Heaton Collieries shows the pit and the buildings. There is still a building on the 1859 OS map but by the 1895 map it had all gone. Where are you Les? If anyone’s knows the gospel, it will be you.

  6. After some research I discovered that the Chance Pit was disused by the beginning of the 1800s at the latest, so it certainly wasn’t that. The big issue is that the buildings don’t appear on any OS maps (1859/1898/1913) plus the shops don’t appear until the 1913 map. Which means the mystery buildings arrived, were photographed and disappeared in between 1898 and 1913. I’ve discovered a letter from Newcastle architect Frank West to Lord Armstrong commenting on the advisability of a local sand-pit so that the builder/developers of the housing between Heaton Road and Chilly Road will have local access to sand, bricks and stone. Considering that Armstrong Park is one giant hill of sand and that there was a huge clay pit at, what is now, the junction of Heaton Hall Road and Heaton Park View; plus, CA Potter (then owner of Heaton Hall) started out in cement, I was thinking maybe the buildings were a depot for sand, cement, bricks and stone; and that they were demolished when the housing boom was over. There are curious structures clustered round what looks like a temporary road on OS images between Heaton Hall and Armstrong Park, parallel to Heaton Road, that I’ve never understood, so perhaps they were brick kilns. It is exactly the sort of admirable empire guarding you would expect from those gentlemen: sell the land… and the bricks and mortar!

  7. I don’t know if anybody is still attending to this thread but I have one last bit of research to append: I have now looked through every OS map plus maps by Bacon and Andrew Reid up to 1924 and there is nothing shown. This can only mean they were temporary structures erected and demolished inside a narrow time window and the only reason anyone could/would do that is for commercial purposes. So I checked every year’s directories from 1900 to 1920 to see if anything was listed but nothing was. I am going to adhere to my final theory because it is the one solution that ticks all the boxes and also adds a sense of the extreme enterprise involved in the residential development of Heaton; which I like.

  8. If anybody else is still watching; I could have solved this mystery in an instant if I’d simply asked the expert – Alan Morgan: it’s the almost completed St Gabriel’s church and its vicarage. Once you see the original photograph, rather than the tinted postcard image, it is obvious. The original photo is in Alan’s recent book on Heaton: Farms to Foundries and it’s sitting in my bookcase and has been since its publication when I first read it. Duh!!! Still, I’ve discovered a lot of interesting stuff during my pilgrimage to enlightenment.

  9. Good sleuthing, Keith. I have that book, too, and yes, that looks as if it is the solution! You certainly do a good job. Incidentally I have just found your e-mail to me when clearing out my ‘junk’ mail at the end of the year. Sorry for the delay, but will reply in the next day or so. So nice to hear from you!

  10. Dickon Wood emailed us:

    ‘I came across your website recently . It makes very interesting reading

    J Bradburn and Co, a dry cleaning business , was based in Heaton for many years .

    The company sold the dry cleaning business in 1959 I think and kept the shops including what was to become the Belle and Herb Restaurant.

    I am a director of the company and would be interested to know what became of the Bradburn Factory on Heaton Terrace . My grandfather told me I couldn’t miss it as it had a huge chimney , alas I have never found it which suggests it may have been re-developed .

    Do you know what happened to it , do you have an old photo of it ?’

    Does anyone remember or have a photo of the factory with its chimney?


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