Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hawthorn Tower(s) (NZ438461)


This lovely little effort didn’t exist pre-1820, nor is there any trace of it left today, amazingly enough.  Hawthorn Tower(s), originally known as Hawthorn Cottage, was built in 1821 to the designs of John Dobson for Major George Anderson, a Newcastle big-wig.  Anderson died in 1831, but his wife lived on in the property until her death in the 1850s – afterwhich the Pembertons assumed ownership and renamed it Hawthorn Tower(s).  At some point in the 1850s, it was also extended in size.

In 1910, the Pembertons vacated the premsies, and let the pile out, firstly, to colliery agent Malcolm Dillon, then to another colliery official, Mr Henegan.  In 1930, the Boys' Brigade rented the Tower for weekend camps, and it was used during World War II by the military and the Home Guard.  The Pembertons then returned briefly, before selling up in c.1949 to a South Shields man.  Several more sales followed, during which period the house fell into a state of decay.  Vandals help send the structure to its ultimate demolition in 1969 after a man was killed by a partial collapse.  Today nothing remains.  It’s as if the old place never existed.

There’s a fair bit more to be found on Hawthorn Tower(s) – including the nineteenth century census returns for the structure – at the DurhamRecordsOnline website, here.


  1. It is sad that a John Dobson building has been lost forever. Thank goodness there is, at least, a photograph: I suppose this was taken before the war.


    1. Hi Anna .. I agree it is terribly sad .. but there are many other photographs in existance! try loking at www.east-durham.co.uk then click on Hawthorn! .... its an amazing array of photos!

      cheers Dave

  2. In the fifty's as a twelve year old one day a friend and myself cycled from Seaham to Hawthorn Village.At the far end of the village we came to the lodge cottage then proceeded down an unmade track to Hawthorn Towers. It was deserted I opened the unlocked front door, the galleried entrance hall was very impressive, just off the hall was a strong room which had a room size open steel safe door.
    All the interior wood work had been painted in an unattractive green colour probability from the days when the hall was used by the home guard
    Then the hall was still in reasonable condition but Easington Colliery and Seaham Vane Tempest Colliery were working and dumping colliery waste at sea the Hawthorn Towers coast line was black with this waste making the area unattractive for anyone wishing to reside at Hawthorn Towers..

  3. Across the line at hawthorn towers was there a shop