Housing

Medieval houses were mainly small, low and thatched. Many were of only one storey. Two houses on the northside of Bondgate Within (nos 58 and 60) are still probably medieval in basic structure although much altered. No 60 has a large panel on the first floor with a Percy Crescent and Lion. It also has a Bishop’s crozier and this led to it being called the Abbey Guest House. It is more likely that the panel and stonework came from Alnwick Abbey sometime after its dissolution.

Alnwick retained its medieval character into the 17th century. Half of the houses on Norton’s map of 1624 still lie within the medieval walls – mostly at the head of a burgage plot. Of the remainder, half spread along the two main approaches (Bondgate and Clayport) and half are in the separate communities of Canongate, Walkergate and Bailiffgate.

Maps from the 1780’s show that houses were starting to occupy the tail end of burgage plots, and fill the gaps between settlements that had previously been separate. But for another century the outside boundary of Alnwick changed little. It would not be until the start of the 19th century that many people lived beyond the medieval walls. Then the most prosperous started to build substantial residences such as Alnbank, Freelands, and Belvedere Terrace on the edge of town. Meanwhile the planned suburb of Howick Street provided affordable housing closer to the centre.

However, not everyone could afford a decent home. Alnwick’s cheapest 19th century housing was crammed into the back of burgage plots, alongside workshops, horses, pigs, and middens. In 1849 the Cholera outbreak revealed how many lived in unfit conditions. In the most overcrowded areas, like Teasdale’s Yard, and Union Court at the foot of Clayport, almost 900 people were living three or four to a room.

It would take the authorities more than a century to clear all of Alnwick’s slums, but progress was being made by 1918. Housing for working families was built on Queen Street, Bridge Street and Seaview Terrace by the Duke of Northumberland and the North East Railway. The council built King Street. Those who could afford more space had a choice of developments on Stott Street and Swansfield Park Road. Along Alnmouth Road large Edwardian villas were constructed for the most prosperous.

It would not be until the start of the 19th century that many people lived beyond the medieval walls. Then the most prosperous started to build substantial residences such as Alnbank, Freelands, and Belvedere Terrace on the edge of town. Meanwhile the planned suburb of Howick Street provided affordable housing closer to the centre.

However, not everyone could afford a decent home. Alnwick’s cheapest 19th century housing was crammed into the back of burgage plots, alongside workshops, horses, pigs, and middens. In 1849 the Cholera outbreak revealed how many lived in unfit conditions. In the most overcrowded areas, like Teasdale’s Yard, and Union Court at the foot of Clayport, almost 900 people were living three or four to a room.

It would take the authorities more than a century to clear all of Alnwick’s slums, but progress was being made by 1918. Housing for working families was built on Queen Street, Bridge Street and Seaview Terrace by the Duke of Northumberland and the North East Railway. The council built King Street. Those who could afford more space had a choice of developments on Stott Street and Swansfield Park Road. Along Alnmouth Road large Edwardian villas were constructed for the most prosperous.

Westgate House

Allerburn House, Barndale House, Swansfield House

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