In 1934 Cllr Angus Watson of Newcastle, who had already acquired the vicarage glebe lands as well as nearby Whitton Grange, to preserve what he called the "amenities of the district". Within a year, he had leased Whitton Tower to Newcastle City Council for a children's convalescence home, a use it retained until 1983 after which it reverted to residential use.
The children who spent some time at the convalescence home, now adults, oftern return to see the house and grounds and share their stories. This page is for the children and staff who lived and worked here during the time The Rectory was known as:
The Ethel Watson Childrens Convalescent Home
We would like to hear from you if you were here during this time.
Please leave us a message on our contacts page
We had a request for any information regarding a Song that was sung at Whitton Tower in the early years of the convalesentce home. So if you can help please contact us... The Song goes...
The melody came from a song called "Roll along covered wagons" - Harry Roy. It can be heard on You tube and melody is the introductary part of the song. I learnt the song at Whitton Towers.
The words are:- Roll along Saint………?…... Ambulance, roll along,
Take me back to the place where I belong,
Whitton Towers may be fine,
But give me Newcastle on Tyne,
Roll along Saint……….?......Ambulance
From memory it was an ambulance we sang about, but maybe it was a bus? I do remember going on outings on a bus and singing the song.
12/10/2016 Derek Davies
Hi stayed there around end of April - June 1977 remember being on a float in the pouring rain for st George's day event I was 6 so don't remember much about my stay remember the house was so big also the big tree in the garden around the back
Date Name Comments
06/10/2016 Joyce O'Dwyer
The ambulance did manage to come through the deep snow on Christmas eve and take us all home. I think St Johns ambulance might be the name of the roll along song.
08/01/2016 June Relph
June Burns aged 8yrs ..
In September 1948 i was sent from The Childrens Department of Newcastle General Hospital- Newcastle Upon Tyne by my GP to convalesce for six weeks.. I'd been ill at home for two weeks with Bronchitis and pneumonia and my initial memory is of being driven from the Hospital to Whitton Towers, sitting in the back of the car alone with a bag of grapes on my lap!
I remember driving into the grounds and my arrival must have been expected as there were other children watching from an upper window and an adult waiting for me.
My memories are sporadic of my time there but i recall a small dining area and nurses taking us children for a walk along the river while they had a sneaky cigarette.
The children were given half an apple and half an orange a day then, which was a luxury given that it wasn't long after the war.
Everything was shared equally and if you got a parcel from home that had sweets in as i did, which was a struggle for my Mother, the sweets were shared out to make things fair.
I weighed 56lbs when i arrived and weighed 63lbs when i left for home according to my medical records.
For those who would like to see their records, i was very lucky to get mine because it was such a long time ago however, you could ask your GP as i did and arrange for copies to be made.
23/01/2016 Tom McDonald
I stayed at Whitton towers many many times in the 1950s. Loved every minute of it. I think it was sister Greaves who was in charge and her husband was the gardener. I recall a nurse Yemm and I think a nurse Slaughter if my memory is ok. When it was time to go back to Wallsend it was a tearful day.
05/05/2016 Malcolm McGregor
me and my partner decided to have a day out on our own.we decided to have lunch out.anyway,we end up going to rothbury.went into the turks head.had a lovely meal there,i was curious as if it was still there.so mentioned it as we were leaving,and to my amazement there was a chap in the bar visiting,as he said he does every year.and he was there the same time as i was.so were now friends.my partner was amazed.he told me just to go up and knock.and ask for john.normally wouldnt be so cheeky,but we went there and the postman was knocking on the door,a lady answered,to my amazement she was wonderful,sh let us look around the grounds,and invited us in.to say it was strange is an understatement,was like the first day i walked in as a 9 year old.then 1969.its changed a bit but to me was still amazing to be back therei signed the visiting book.and left with things fresh in my mind.many thanks to barbara for letting us in her lovely home..
06/05/2016 Gary Donaldson
hello again John & Isobel sorry I haven’t been back in touch lately but been in and out of hospital I was just reading the visitors book comments and came across a name it was Marjorie turner she was a very kind nurse who was there when I was it made me cry for quite along time to see she had mentioned me hope she can get in touch with me on face book I met a guy called Rob who said he came to see you this week I remember Rob hope yous are well I will get round to sending you the story soon.
Moderator: Gary has supplied his telephone number with permission to share, please contact us if you would like it.
28/07/2016 Corrina Stokoe
Hi Isabelle and john
Thank you for showing me and my hubby around today. Wow the memories that come flooding back are amazing, it was like going back in time and being a child again. the house is absolutely fantastic. And to get a look around and seeing the different rooms was brilliant.all I can say is thank you so very much for bringing back so many happy memories. We will definitely be back and bring my other 2 sister who used to stay who can also bring back more memories of our time spent there. Much appreciate your time showing me around
Regards Corrina and Neil
Today I went to visit the children's home. I stayed there when I were 9 years old around 1975 I think it were. I were the eldest of the children. I remember an older boy tony. I were home sick and tony begged me to stay but I just wanted to be back home with my nana. Anyways we met a lovely lady Isobel she were the owner of the house. The lady who owns part of the original house as I remembered it. And what a lovely lady she is. She kindly spoke to me and let us look round. The passage way was just as I remember it but the rest of the house were some what different. I felt like I was stepping back in time. 41 year ago and I saw my self as a little girl again and I basically felt as though it were like yesterday. I had memories of the school room as soon as I saw it and where myself and the teacher sat just flashed past me. I just imagined all the children being there and the toys in the conservatory. I felt like I knew Isobel for years she were so lovely. When I left if felt strange like I hadn't even left there from a child. The nicest part was the step outside the main entrance were I used to sit with my 5 year old sister. And my 5 year old daughter was with me today playing on the same step we used to play on. I remember wearing clothes that belonged to the home they were to small and the lines of wellies that we wore that were kept in the cloak room.i remember The hidden stair case and the racks of clothes in the attic. i remember it like it were yesterday and sometimes it wasn't all good but it were lovely to go back in time to my childhood and thank you so much Isobel xxx
17/10/2016 Joyce O’Dwyer
Thank you for your in depth tour of your lovely property the other weekend. I sent a note previously but my grand Daughter hit a button and it vanished, thinking it had gone, maybe unfinished ?
Could you please confirm you received a note from myself ?
28/10/2016 Mandy Healeas
for My late father Alan Henderson was a childhood resident
I have heard so much about this place from my Dad who was resident here possibly in the late fifties early 60's. I have heard all about the house the grounds the staff and going to the local milk bar. In particular he said his favourite nurse was Cheesie 🙂.
Sadly my dad passed away three years ago , he was only 65. He would have loved to have known about this site. If anyone has any memories of my Dad ... Alan Henderson I would love to hear them. I know he was at the home as he suffered from coeliac disease
11/07/2016 Valerie McDonald
hi I stayed at witton tower in 1970 to get over my illness I was there for 3 months I used to go and feed the hens for mister moore. I made some good friends there nurse barret and Lesley and nurse rowell had great lessons and went for some really nice walks down into the village on a Saturday to get some treats
24/05/2016 Liz Sanderson
I stayed at Whitton Towers with my sisters ,they were Kathleen ,and the twins Caroline and Christine this was in the 60s i absolutley loved it ,i remember Mr & Mrs Moore loved them ,nurse Brown and my favourites Nurse Chesmoore n Nurse luis Brown,i used to go across the field down to the shop to get the papers,dodging the cows which terrified me then bk up the hill , collecting the eggs from the hen house ,the daily exercises at the front of the house ,the play area at the top of the bank at the back of the house. Our friday night sweet night ,the visits to the little cafe with the duke box when our parents came to visit ,the creepy corridor that led to the towers also the room where all our clothes were kept ,the lines of wellies under the coat pegs ,the school room ,the black dog with his waggy tail .the horrible cod liver oil we had to have and the walk through the farmyard where youd get chased by the geese then onto the folly ,xmas in the village waiting for sant a to come onto the floodlit roof all magical ,over the years i didvisit the house where i was shown around by a lovely couple but would love to be able to visit with my husband and show him why it was so magical ,i was 12 ish when i stayed there and im 61 now but would love to visit again if possible to share my memories with him xx
13/04/2016 Julie Clark
Hi, my name is Julie and my sister Carol and I stayed here shortly after our Dad died. I think I was about 5 or 6 and Carol 8 or 9 so around 1971ish?? We were fondly known as "The Appleton girls". I remember nurse Ann who loved Gary Glitter at the time (bet he is not so popular with you now!!).....are you nurse Ann who has left a comment? I really used to love spending time with you! I remember Carol and I collecting the hens eggs and being scared of the dark, the bathrooms, the school room, the secret stairs, the huge bedroom with lots of beds,the lovely food, walks to Rothbury and one of the nurses house (sure it was round and very small)....lots of lovely memories to name but a few!! I remember the golden spoon does anyone else? Carol used to help cut the rind off the bacon. I also remember our Mam visiting us (bless her when I think she travelled on bus and taxi all the way from Lanchester in County Durham!!) She always used to bring Carol and I lots of sweets and chocolate and the staff would find our stash in our lockers and take it from us to share with everyone, the first time I cried. I remember lots of the children but not their names but one family of I think 3 with a young brother who would be 4ish always stays in my mind...they were from Newcastle. Lovely memories, we were happy there once we got used to being away from our Mam. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers us, especially Nurse Ann. Lots of love to you all and I must visit next time I am up there xx
Again I would like to apologise for not updating the website over the last couple of years, work pressures and all is a poor excuse but is the case. Time has flown by and now its 2019. However, over the years we have had many visitors who liked the idea of an Open Day, where the Children of the convalescence home could reconnect with friends and staff.
We will be holding another open day for the children and staff of the convalescent home.
This will be on Saturday 24th August 2019 between 12 noon and 4pm. Bring your family and friends and feel free to picnic in the gardens.