Dinnington: Postcode NE13 7LQ

Where is it?  || Bing map || Geograph grid ref NZ2073 || Ward profile || StreetCheck


Former Bay House public house (now a restaurant).
Former Bay Horse public house (pictured as a restaurant in 2015).

“Dinnington is a medium sized village, with a population of 1,636 (Census 2011) living in 720 households within the Dinnington Parish. The village has a reasonable level of services and facilities, including Dinnington Village Primary School (First School), a convenience store, doctor’s surgery, village hall, social club, church, recreation ground and a regular bus service…” EXAD49, Newcastle City Council summary – Dinnington; no longer online (listed in CSUCP library see https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/planning-policy/core-strategy-and-urban-core-plan )

Dinnington is now a village under pressure because it is likely that almost 350 households will have been added to the 2011 total of 720 by 2025 – an increase of 48%.

An examination of the village’s history shows this is an unprecedented expansion.

Dinnington up to 1900

According to Tyne & Wear’s Site Lines, the medieval village of Dinnington was established by 1250. There were six taxpayers there in 1296 and records from 1303 show that 11 men held a house with 1.5 acres arable.  In the mid 1400s the manor was sold to the Heselrigg family, and sold again to Matthew Bell in 1763.  The Bell family of Woolsington built St Matthew’s Church (1886), replacing an earlier church, and the nineteenth-century parish school.

“In the 18th century the village consisted of two rows of dwellings, set far apart, on either side of a green, with the east end of the green by this time largely closed off and partly covered by buildings.” History of Dinnington, Site Lines, Tyne & Wear

Historian Michael Barke describes rural housing conditions in the early 1800s as very poor.  Most dwellings were single-storey and poorly constructed, families were overcrowded and tenancies at the whim of their landlords [‘Rural Housing in Early Nineteenth-Century Northumberland’, Int. Jnl. Regional & Local Studies, 2010, 6:1].  This helps to explain why few remaining ordinary dwellings from before 1850 are to be found in Dinnington.  Early Census returns show the population varying from 560 in 1801 to 819 in 1831 after which it declined to 668 in 1851 [Genuki].

St Matthew's Parish Church, Dinnington.
St Matthew’s Parish Church, Dinnington (March 2015).

 Twentieth-century residential development

Dinnington 1913 Sketch map based on OS map Northumberland sheet nLXXXV published 1921.
Dinnington 1913. Sketch map based on OS map Northumberland sheet nLXXXV published 1921.

Today Dinnington still has a recognisable village centre with a green, shop, church and a traditional pub (The Mason’s Arms).  However, Dinnington grew enormously during the twentieth century, particularly in the post-war period from 1945. On the eve of the outbreak of the First World War (1914-18), Dinnington was still basically a few streets and a scattering of other buildings.  The village largely expanded in a series of planned estates, although some incremental individual building also took place infilling the older part of the village.

Ribbon development along Main Road.
Ribbon development along Main Road – possibly inter-war council housing (March 2015).
Havannah Crescent
Havannah Crescent (March 2015).

Local authority development began in the 1920s.  An early 1950s OS map shows ribbon development took place along the main road into the village from the south and on the Havannah estate.  This estate, to the south of the church and original school, appears to be post-war housing built for rent (c.1940-60 either National Coal Board or local authority in origin).

Sycamore Avenue from the recreation ground
Sycamore Avenue from the recreation ground (March 2015).

One council estate  is the Trees Estate because each street was named after a type of tree (as found in early Garden City style developments; this estate is not on the 1954 OS map but does appear in 1961). Many of these houses have been bought under right to buy legislation and are now owner-occupied.  Some housing surrounding this appears to be later (e.g. Beech Avenue, Elm Avenue 1960-70).

Dunsley Gardens off Mitford Way.
Dunsley Gardens  off Mitford Way (March 2015).

The Mitford Way area of the village developed between 1960 and 1980 and is a typical suburban zone of private housing (detached, semis and bungalows) with private gardens and parking. West and East Acres, north of the Trees Estate, is made up of similar private housing dating from around the 1970s.

Ref: Newcastle Character Assessment Zone D (2008)

Making a living

The local economy was historically dominated by farming, quarrying and mining coal.  Early mining took the form of of bell pits; the first Dinnington colliery was operational by 1715.

In part the residential growth of Dinnington can be connected to the nationalisation of coal mining in 1947 and local investment in the mines.  A 1951 map shows local pits included East Walbottle and Prestwick.  Robert Pit shaft, shown on the 1913 OS map, closed in 1966 and was owned by East Walbottle Coal Company until taken over by the National Coal Board (1947).

The largest pit locally was Dinnington Colliery, now Brunswick village, where a deep mine was sunk in 1867 (Augusta Pit) and at its peak was said to have employed over a thousand people; it closed in February 1960. Big Waters lake, a subsidence pond created as a result of past mining activity, now adds to the ecological value of the area and provides a local wildlife reserve to visit (Northumberland Wildlife Trust).

Havannah Colliery was a smaller drift mine opened by the National Coal Board in the early 1950s and gave employment to around 450 people. It was abandoned in September 1977. The pit heaps were landscaped and form the Havannah or Three Hills picnic site and reserve. Some former colliery buildings were turned into industrial workshops.

A second residential growth spurt seems to have followed the closure of those mines as the village became a commuter dormitory for people employed in Newcastle from the 1970s.

Open cast coal mining still takes place in the vicinity. Banks’ Brenkley Lane mine opened in 2010 after the company was given permission to extract 2.3m tonnes of coal in a scheme lasting up to twelve years.  According to an article in The Chronicle the company employ around 200 in local mines adding an estimated £35m a year to the region’s economy (13 May 2014).

For 21st Century change see: Dinnington 2015-2020 and beyond and Pressure on the Green Belt


Links last fully checked March 18th 2018.  (Page split and updated 17th November 2017.)

One thought on “Dinnington – a village under pressure

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