Looking Back at Monkseaton in Tyne & Wear

Monkseaton history

Monkseaton first appears in documents in the early 12th century, when Henry I transferred its estates to Tynemouth Priory. At the time, the settlement was simply known as ‘Seton,’ which is most likely a combination of the terms ‘Sea’ and ‘Tun,’ referring to its location.   

The layout of the latter settlement appears to have kept the medieval bounds, according to ancient maps, and farming was the main industry for centuries. But over time, ‘Seaton of the Monks’ transformed into Monkseaton, and coal mining and limestone quarrying became another source of employment.

The rural community was just 427 people in 1801, rising to 952 by 1901. But they had five local inns to enjoy a drink: The Seven Stars, The Three Horse Shoes, The Ship Inn, The Black Horse Inn and the Monkseaton Arms.

From the late 1800s onwards the village expanded, with housing estates replacing the rural fields. Today, the village is a popular suburb, in close proximity to Whitley Bay and good connections to Newcastle upon Tyne by bus and Metro.

Monkseaton in the 1960s

This short clip of a 1960s home movie was filmed from the flat above Kelly’s. The Black Horse and Monkseaton Arms pubs appear, along with many buildings, a few cars, and the occasional pedestrian.

Monkseaton 1964: happyheth (YouTube)

Monkseaton in the 1980s

This home movie footage was filmed by Harry Clark (J.H. Clark).

Monkseaton 1980s: Newcastle Upon Tyne & UK – Video from the past (YouTube)

Monkseaton Grammar School Closes in 1984

On Friday, 13th July 1984, this home movie was filmed by J.H. Clark at the final assembly for Monkseaton Grammar School. 

The camera moves slowly along groups of children, so many of them look directly at the camera. There are also clear shots of the small numbers of teachers present.

Then a group of teachers step up on stage. The Head is wearing a cape. All the staff look close to retirement age. 

Monkseaton Grammar School Final Assembly 1984: Monkseaton Grammar School (YouTube)

The Head explains that no Sport Day was organised because of the low numbers. That is why there are no places on the school reports. It would be wrong, he says, to send out school reports showing someone coming bottom if there were less than half the usual numbers present.

(For younger viewers – in the 1980s it was still common for your school report to show your assessed grade, assessed effort, score in term or year exam, and your position in class for each subject. So your parents would see you were 10th out of 32 pupils, 29th out of 30 pupils, etc.)

The Head later says in his speech that the average length of time that the staff had spent teaching in the school was 17 years. One had been there over 30 years, two more than 20 years. He mentions a younger teacher (Mrs Ripley?) who had been there 8 or 9 years.

After three cheers, the Head moves over to a corner to cry, and then struggles to contain his emotion as the awards continue to be given out by another teacher. 

At the end he says “Sorry about my display – Goodbye”.

Monkseaton Community High School (2009)

Many of the staff and pupil of the Monkseaton Community High School appear in this video from 2009. 

The new £20.3m school building was under construction, with a project completion time of one year.

Dr Paul Kelley was Headteacher. Simon Thomson, the Assistant Headteacher, is also interviewed, as is Kate Winder, the Design & Technology teacher. Dorothy McLaughlin, Lead Teacher for ICT appears several times.

ICT excellence at Monkseaton: harnessingtechnology (YouTube)

Flooding (2012)

Monkseaton residents left stranded after heavy rainfall: NewsGuardianTV (YouTube)

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Thanks to Paul Dennis on Flikr for use of the featured image behind the title card. Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence.