Sunniside Local History Society


(Pictured above Sunniside Club c1929 with Steward Jack Creitch)

The Society Committee members continually work hard on behalf of the Society throughout the year.

Our website has continued to be a huge success, generating to date August 2016, over 5 million 260 thousand hits world wide. We must place on record our sincere thanks to Gateshead Council and Gateshead Central Library Officials Jacqui Thompson, Rachel Peacock and Claire Iles for their continued support.

We have encouraged our members to join Sunniside Social Club, not only to ensure that we abide by the Licensing Laws but because we enjoy first class facilities. We are able to report that all of our Society members are also Club members.

F G Newman Secretary & Technical Administrator


The Society have produced a fascinating pamphlet detailing the interesting history of the Fugar, Washingwell and Watergate area.

With wonderful photographs and a detailed history including the origins of the name Fugar, it is a production which will be of great interest to many.

This project has sought to uncover the rich hidden heritage within an area of about a mile radius of the site of Fugar House and share it with those who may only know the area as an attractive rural landscape. Key participants in the project have been children at nearby Washingwell Community Primary School. Consultation meetings with the general public have been held together with guided walks of the area at which emerging information has been shared. This has led to much discussion of things that lie hidden beneath the ground, either just below or many feet below such as layers of coal seams worked over a period of seven centuries but for which there is scant evidence above ground, and making sense of what can be seen but for which there is currently no explanation. In this way adults and children alike have learned to understand the remnants of history covering many centuries that lie on their doorstep and to appreciate the impact of historical events on the local topography. They have also come to know some of the main characters associated with Fugar House and the part that they played in history, both within the area and, in the case of Ralph Swinburn, more widely across the world. One thing that emerged was just how much the area was at the forefront of industrialisation. However, nature has once again reclaimed the rightful ownership of this beautiful area which now shows few scars of its centuries of exploitation.

This project 'Fugar, Washingwell and Watergate - A Hidden Heritage', was supported by the National Lottery with a contribution from their Shared Heritage Fund. Gateshead Council also made an initial financial contribution from their Local Community Fund and their support is greatly appreciated. Sincere thanks and congratulations are also extended to the considerable effort and expertise provided by members of Sunniside History Society, alongside Dr Richard Pears of Whickham Local History Society and Anthea Lang of Gateshead Local History Society which have proved invaluable to the success of the project.


We have also produced this informative and illustrated leaflet, yet another achievement.

Books and DVDs

Many highly regarded projects have been successfully completed by Society members recording and promoting aspects of the rich local history in the form of DVDs, books, photographs, brochures and exhibitions. These include: 'Tommy Armstrong - The Pitman Poet (1848-1920)' 'Like Carrying Coals To Newcastle ¬The Story of the Tanfield Way' 'Byermoor Marley Hill and Sunniside' 'The Turnpike Road’, Byermoor' 'Burnopfield and The Turnpike Road Revisited' 'The Butterfly Bridge - Crossing the Generations' 'Fugar, Washingwell and Watergate ¬A Hidden Heritage' 'Crowley Mill No 1, Winlaton Mill and the Industrial Revolution'



New members and visitors are always made most welcome.