Friday, 8 October 2010

Radcliffe R.I.P (NU270025)

Though it is still marked on the map, the village of Radcliffe effectively no longer exists. It once lay a little to the east of the current A1068 a mile south of Amble, populated by some 700 folk, all of them pretty much tied to the local colliery of the same name. It was your typical mining community until around 1892, when the discovery of a fault in the seam, followed by fire and flood, made the extraction of coal uneconomical. The engineers tried sinking shafts at nearby Newburgh and Hauxley, but these, too, proved to be problematic. They struggled on at Radcliffe as best they could, until the towel was finally thrown in in 1962.

In 1965, plans were drawn up for the much more economical form of coal extraction from the area, namely, opencast mining. To effect this, it was necessary to clear the aging housing and pit-head buildings of Radcliffe, and this was completed by 1971. Those that had not already moved were relocated to Amble – and onto an estate named the Radcliffe Estate, a complex which itself contains many streets named after those of the old village.

Opencast operations have themselves now passed into history, and the area generally given over to agriculture. A few buildings survived the demolition of c.1970 – a garage, a farm and a few private dwellings along the A1068, but nothing of the main village in the fields to the east.

The Radcliffe War Memorial, erected in 1928 and added to after WWII, was relocated to Amble Town Square during the village’s dismantlement.

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